The importance of character development in American colleges and universities: How two schools accomplish their mission

Clifford L Stanley, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Character development used to be central to the mission of early American colleges. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, most postsecondary schools have chosen not to emphasize the role of character development as part of their charter or responsibility. There are, nonetheless, a select group of colleges and universities that consider the moral and ethical development of their students to be integral to their mission. The purpose of this dissertation, a study of two such schools, the United States Naval Academy and Gustavus Adolphus College, is to understand how small colleges and universities that are dedicated to character development contribute to the moral and ethical development of their undergraduate students. The research is based on interviews of select administrators and faculty, on-campus observations, and document analysis. Understanding how these two schools contribute to the character development of their undergraduate students might lead to a better understanding of the importance of developing the character of our nation's best and brightest, and how this can be done. Ideally, more colleges and universities will renew their interest in one of the seminal issues for a thriving democracy, individual character. ^

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Clifford L Stanley, "The importance of character development in American colleges and universities: How two schools accomplish their mission" (January 1, 2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3188533.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3188533

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