Eight reflections from the Spiritual Climate Survey for the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spring 2020
- Campus ministry and churches are engaging white and female students. 282 respondents were female (72%) of the 391 surveyed. According to the 2019-20 Data Digest the University of Wisconsin-Madison is 50.3% female and 49.7% male. 348 respondents are white (89%) of the 391 surveyed. According to the 2019-20 Data Digest the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 69% of the campus is white.
- Christians entering the University of Wisconsin-Madison are finding a place of ministry and community.87% of student’s faith begin before entering college. 7.5% of students begin their faith in college or graduate school and 5.5% are still figuring out what they believe or other. Student’s faith journey began before entering college is up from our 2018 survey where 85% had faith commitments before college.
- Some Catholic students entering college are joining other Christian faith traditions during their college years. 38% of student’s childhood faith is Catholic, compared to 30% of student’s current faith tradition. While 28% of student’s childhood faith tradition is evangelical protestant and increases to 34% for student’s current faith tradition.
- Theological and cultural issues trended similar during the last two years of surveys. The top 5 theological issues for 2020 are Prayer, Community, Relationships, Apologetics, Discipleship; compared to the top 5 theological issues for 2018 was Community, Prayer, Relationships, Discipleship, and The will of God. The top 5 Current Issues for 2020 are Abortion, Depression/Mental Health, Climate Change, Dating, Human Trafficking; compared to the top 5 current issues for 2018 were Abortion, Human Trafficking, Education, Marriage, Dating.
- Students need more opportunities to learn how to integrate their faith into the classroom and into the workforce after college. Only 66% of students surveyed say they strongly agree or agree that “I try to apply my faith to my academic studies.” The topics of Calling, Career and Vocation, Integration of Faith and Scholarship, and Work are low interest areas in relationship to theology. The topics of Higher Education and Vocation are low interest areas in relationship to current cultural issues.
- Most students have a high view of scripture and regularly participate in spiritual practices. 80% of students strongly agree or agree that “The Bible is true and inspired by God as the final authority for Christian faith and practice.” 54% of students read the Bible multiple times per week. 60% of students pray at least daily. 83% strongly agree or agree that “I seek out opportunities to help me grow spiritually.”
- Students both share their faith with peers and don’t want to push their beliefs on others. 91% of students have shared their faith once, a few times, and regularly with a peer this academic year. In our 2018 survey, 91% of students shared their faith with a peer that academic year as well. The top reason students don’t share their faith with peers in 2018 and 2020 was “they didn’t want to push their beliefs on others.”
- Resilient disciples make up 14% of all students who participated in the survey. They responded that they “Strongly Agree” that “The Bible is true and inspired by God as the final authority for Christian faith and practice, “Multiple times a week” they read the Bible, “At least daily” they pray, “At least once a week” they attend church, and “Yes: I share regularly” their faith with others.
Download a complete PDF of the survey results here.