Ukrainian Catholic University Leaders’ Views on University-Based Moral and Civic Formation in Post-Soviet Ukraine




Filiatreau, Svetlana

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Despite significant progress toward a market economy since the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s transition to a functioning democracy remains slow, partly because of widespread corruption. The topic of university-based education for moral character and engaged citizenship is worthy of exploration because of its potential to affect the future of the country’s democracy. This qualitative single-case study was informed by theories of moral and character education. It explored Ukrainian Catholic University leaders’ beliefs about university-based student moral and civic formation and the ways their beliefs informed the university’s organizational mission and practices. Data were obtained via artifacts, documents, and in-depth individual interviews with UCU leaders, students, and members of the Ukrainian academic community. The study is situated within Ukraine’s post-Soviet period from 1991 to early 2011. Study findings indicate that Christian anthropology and Catholic Social Teaching are a foundation of UCU leaders’ philosophy. UCU’s mission and practices reflect the university leaders’ values and the university’s stand for dignity and against corruption, as well as its goal of educating a new generation of Ukrainian leaders. The moral climate in UCU supports students’ moral development and civic formation. UCU leaders strive to intentionally create an integrated learning process by incorporating issues of ethics and values into the undergraduate curriculum and co-curricular activities and by preparing students for a life of commitment to justice, service, and civic engagement. The findings are pertinent to Ukraine’s higher education reforms and to Western international development policy toward Ukraine in the area of promoting democratic development in the post-Soviet space through higher education.



Higher education administration, East European studies, Educational leadership, Institutional moral climate and student moral and democratic formation, Moral development of university students, Moral leadership in higher education, Pedagogy of university-based moral education, Post-Soviet Ukraine and democratic transition, University-based moral education as education for democracy