Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

James M. Thomas


The Churches of Christ, a body of Christian believers descending from the nineteenth century American Restoration Movement, have a well-documented history of establishing and supporting liberal arts colleges and universities. This study of theatre programs at three of these institutions--Lipscomb University, Pepperdine University, and York College--examines the model of faith and learning operating at each school and in its respective theatre department. This study utilizes a mixed-methods approach combining a multiple case study with a self-administered Likert-scale questionnaire, illuminating the ways that the schools describe their model of faith and learning, the ways that the theatre departments at the schools interpret this model, and the ways that a cross-section of the members of these schools understands this model, along with their corresponding expectations of their school's theatre program. Robert Benne's definition of Christian higher education according to three components--vision, ethos, and Christian persons--provides the theoretical framework guiding this study. Accordingly, an "add-on" model features academic studies alongside of Christian ethos and persons, whereas an "integrated" model features some measurable degree of integration in the classroom between the worlds of faith and academics. Statistical evaluations of the survey data are reported according to an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Correlation Coefficients. Survey data are then compared, using Benne's categories, to the case study findings. Based on results of this study, recommendations are offered to teachers and directors in theatre programs at any faith-based institution of higher learning.