Alexander and Helen Astin are the some of the most widely-quoted authorities in the field of higher education—as Ken alludes early in the dialogue, whenever these two talk it’s generally a good idea to pay attention. Listen as Ken, Alexander, and Helen discuss the complex role of spirituality among college students, the important differences between religion and spiritual life, and the effects religion, spirituality, and academics have upon our worldviews and political ideologies.
Helen S. Astin, a psychologist, is Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Senior Scholar of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. She served as the Associate Provost of the College of Letters and Science at UCLA from 1983 to 1987. A trustee of Mt. St. Mary's College since 1985, Helen Astin served Hampshire College from 1972 to 1979. She has served on the Board of Governors of the Center for Creative Leadership and on the Board of the National Council for Research on Women. In the American Psychological Association, Dr. Astin has served on the Boards of Policy and Planning and Education and Training and has been president of the Division of the Psychology of Women. She has also served as Chair of the Board of the American Association for Higher Education. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Research Award of Division J of the American Education Research Association, and recently received the Howard Bowen Distinguished Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education. She has published numerous articles and eleven books, including Women of Influence, Women of Vision: A Cross-Generational Study of Leaders and Social Change (1991) and The Woman Doctorate in America (1969). Her research and current writings focus on leadership and on spirituality in higher education.
The Astins will introduce their comprehensive multi-year project to study the trends, patterns, and principles of spirituality and religiousness among college students, and how the college experience influences spiritual development. The project, called “Spirituality in Higher Education: A National Study of College Students’ Search for Meaning and Purpose,” has thus far, provided considerable insight into students’ levels of interests and involvement in spirituality, what they expect from colleges and universities in terms of spiritual development, and how faculty view the place of spirituality in the academy.