University of St. Thomas - Minnesota

University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
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    The Child as a Theologian

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    Christ spoke about children as those to whom that which was hidden had been revealed (Matthew 11:15-27) and rebuked those who kept the children from him, stating that they were the ones who would enter his Kingdom (Mark 10:13-16) and like whom the adult needed to become (Matthew 18:1-5). However, children have often been perceived, historically, as “less than human” or as “adults in the making.” There is much to teach children about God and yet they also offer a unique gift to the Church as theologians or those who study or speak about God. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who received no higher education but looked primarily to the Scriptures for guidance and to Jesus as her spiritual director, was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church (defined as a theologian of “eminent learning”) in 1997. Her “Little Way” of receiving and enjoying the many gifts of God in her life and then responding in love is taken from the ways of the young child and has offered a spiritual pathway in line with the teaching of Christ himself regarding children. Catholic educators Maria Montessori, Gianna Gobbi, and Sofia Cavalletti have built on the foundation offered by Thérèse by preparing an environment for the child in which he can hear God’s voice though Scripture and his action in the liturgy. Observing the children’s responses of praise and thanks to God has helped provide the opportunity for adults to tune their ears to the children’s insights in a new way. The words of Jesus, along with St. Thérèse’s “Way of Spiritual Childhood,” provide a theological framework for the young child’s insights as they elucidate through their lives how to receive, enjoy, and respond to God

    Constructing Class: Exploring the Lived Experience of White Female Student Affairs Professionals from Working Class Families

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    Researchers have explored the issue of social class in higher education through the experiences of students and faculty, but have not yet analyzed the experiences of student affairs staff. Past researchers have conflated or ignored issues of race in studies on class, and rarely acknowledge gender as a variable in the classed experience. Student affairs professionals, while part of a field that values diversity and social justice, do not frequently raise class as an area of importance within graduate preparation programs or professional associations. The field is feminized and less valued in the academy, making class a relevant topic for further study. Using an intersectional approach, this study explores the lived experiences of White women who work in student affairs settings in higher education who also come from working class origins. The study identifies the ways in which institutional and interpersonal forces construct class identities, and how race and gender influence class experiences. Findings suggest class identities of origin impact mobility within the student affairs field, conceptions of labor and work, and relationships at home. Further, professional associations may unwittingly recreate rather than transform class distinctions

    Millennials in Ministry: The Experiences, Values and Vision of Rising Church Leaders

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    What is the lived experience of Millennials in ministry, specifically those in their first ministry position? What factors affect the job satisfaction and retention of Millennials in ministry roles at local churches? Unique factors and perspectives affected the job satisfaction and retention of Millennials in ministry positions. In-depth interviews with fifteen Millennial graduates of a Christian university provided the data for this research. Each had served in ministry for a minimum of nine months. Interviews revealed a vision for the church that differed from some traditional church practices. Phenomenological aspects of this study produced an account of the lived experience of Millennials in ministry. Themes that emerged as important in the experience of participants included a sense of calling, relationships with leaders and colleagues, effectiveness in their role, and feeling meaning and fulfillment in their work. Relationships with leaders and colleagues on staff emerged as one of the most vital aspects of ministry experience. This study explored factors affecting job satisfaction and produced a grounded theory of the emerging vision and values of Millennials in ministry. It revealed a Millennial view of the church as family rather than church as business. It demonstrated working at a church that embraced and practiced their values proved important to job satisfaction and retention. Primary among the values expressed by participants were family and relationships. Millennials expected and appreciated engaged leaders. They desired mentorship and personal relationships with mature adults who encouraged and supported them as they navigated the uncertainties of young adulthood. Developmental theories helped illustrate the importance of these mentoring relationships. Millennials valued people over programs, relationships over products and conversations over presentations. Reciprocal and servant leadership theories provided insight into effective practices for leaders and churches seeking to maximize Millennial job satisfaction and retention in ministry

    “Where is Everybody?” An Analysis of Our Search for Extraterrestrial Life

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    In this paper, I will explore the historical context of our search for extraterrestrial life. Along with this, I will include our current knowledge of the universe, putting emphasis on new discoveries in the field of astrobiology made in the last decade, as well as some expert positions on the possibility of extraterrestrial life being discovered in our future. My exploration includes unpacking and examining the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox, along with the implications that they have for each other. I will also include my own version of the Drake Equation and my opinion of the Fermi paradox and a few of its various solutions

    Focused Practice: Exploring the Relationship Between Mindfulness and Empathy Among Clinical Social Workers

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    This research project explores the impact of mindfulness on the practice of clinical social work as it pertains to building the skill of empathy. Mindfulness, in practice, varies from clinician to clinician; however, mindfulness in general involves having an expanded sense of awareness and attunement to the greater experience of the client. As such, current research (as discussed in the literature review) supports that those clinicians who practice mindfulness develop an increased compassion for self and others and thus are more empathic than those who do not practice mindfulness. This research is important to the field of clinical social work because of the implications for future education to include mindfulness training as part of developing the skill of using empathy with clients. Data collected for this research comes from 121 clinical social workers registered with the Minnesota Board of Social Work (MBOSW) and is based on their responses to the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and a seven-question survey. The results of this study point to a relationship between mindfulness and empathy among clinical social workers, indicating that further research exploring this relationship should be done to support these findings

    The Experiences of Latino Parents as they Navigate Care for a Child with Autism

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    This qualitative study explored the experiences of Latino caregivers as they navigate care for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Six caregivers participated in a semi-standardized interview containing 14 questions. The data obtained was analyzed using a phenomenological approach to find common themes in the participants\u27 experiences. Findings were organized into two broad themes and sub-themes of positive experiences with service access and delivery and negative experiences with service access and delivery. The sub-themes of positive experiences were as follows: communication, support systems, collaboration, education, and luck. The sub-themes of negative experiences were language access and interpretation, lack of information, limited support and validation from professionals, waitlists and logistics. The findings in this study provide several implications for practice, policy, research and education. Increased access to consistent quality interpretation, increased training for professionals and further evaluation of policies that impact Latino clients are all recommended

    Domestic Violence: How to Treat the Unseen Victims

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    Domestic violence is something that impacts families worldwide. One in three women in the US will experience domestic violence in their lifetime (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012); given this statistic, children will inadvertently be exposed to domestic violence as a result. Young children, whom are likely in the home with their parents, are highly vulnerable to domestic violence exposure, and the impacts that it has on mental health functioning. This qualitative research project focused on the question “What are the best methods of practice for working with children aged 2-6 who have been exposed to domestic violence and are experiencing mental health complications?”. This research was done utilizing a semi-structured interview with professionals who work with children and carry a caseload of 50% or more of children exposed to domestic violence. Findings include overall descriptions of symptomology due to domestic violence exposure; the importance of recognizing variations of symptomology based on the circumstances surrounding the child’s exposure; age appropriate treatment recommendations, consistency being central in treatment, and recommended wrap around services for the family; and the need for professionals to get the big picture and assess for domestic violence exposure to reduce misdiagnosis. Implications from this study include the need for agency supervisor’s to monitor turnover rates and consistency of service provided, the need for funding of agencies which provide wrap around support for families experiencing domestic violence, and the importance of professional consultation and in-depth assessment in order to reduce misdiagnosis

    The Voices of Grandparents: Views on Support Services When Raising Grandchildren

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    The current trend in foster care has shifted toward kinship care, also known as relatives caring for relatives. In many cases, this relationship involves grandparents caring for their grandchildren. While it is not the first time these grandparents are parenting, they face new challenges the second time around. The purpose of this study was to determine what support services grandparents viewed as most beneficial in caring for their grandchild. A total of four grandparents and two great grandparents were interviewed for this qualitative study in order to determine their personal experiences as a kinship caregiver reaching out for support. Data was then coded and several themes emerged. Types of services used included counseling, and reaching out to others for support. Other themes also surrounded positive and negative feelings and beliefs about being in the parenting role again. While some of the findings matched well with previous literature, new areas for future study were also discovered including fear for the future of a grandchild and facing rejection from others after taking in a grandchild. These findings suggest the need for a variety of formal and informal supports that address the needs of grandchildren and grandparents. Advocating for changes in the system and process can provide caregivers with the tools necessary to find their voice in this experience

    Immigration Federalism in Minnesota: What Does Sanctuary Mean in Practice?

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