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Carlow University's Catholic, Mercy Mission and Identity: Faculty, Staff, and Student Perceptions

Rizzi, Michael T. (2017) Carlow University's Catholic, Mercy Mission and Identity: Faculty, Staff, and Student Perceptions. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study explores how current faculty, staff, and students at Carlow University (located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) conceptualize and experience their institution’s Catholic, Mercy mission and identity. Through the use of focus groups, it examines how current stakeholders perceive the University’s mission, define what it means to be a Catholic institution, and experience that unique identity from a “ground-level” perspective. Results suggest that the values and the heritage of Carlow’s founding religious order, the Sisters of Mercy, continue to influence the campus environment in both subtle and profound ways, even as the Sisters themselves occupy increasingly fewer positions in the University, and even as the campus community diversifies, embracing students, faculty, and staff of all religious backgrounds.

The dissertation also provides a broad historical overview of Catholic higher education in the United States, including the modern challenges Catholic universities face as they express their religious identities in an era that that is demographically, socially, and legally very different from the one in which they were founded. It explores the conceptual challenges of studying Catholic identity in an institutional context, the difficulties of defining the role of the Catholic university, and the theoretical debates surrounding the goals, standards, and principles of contemporary Catholic higher education.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rizzi, Michael T.rizzim@pitt.edurizzim
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSutin, Stewartssutin@pitt.edussutin
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.edumgunzen
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@pitt.edupjnelson
Date: 10 July 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 March 2017
Approval Date: 10 July 2017
Submission Date: 30 May 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 192
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Catholic universities; Catholic higher education; university mission; university identity; focus groups; Catholic university mission
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2017 18:38
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 18:38


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