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Professor studies Catholic schools for national research project

October 18, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans sociology professor Carol Ann MacGregor, Ph.D., is part of a new nationwide research project helping to decode how different school sectors—from home schools to public schools and Protestant schools to Catholic schools—mold students into good citizens with high morals. MacGregor will focus on one piece of that puzzle: the approaches Catholic schools take that affect students beyond academics.

MacGregor joins nine other scholars who will each study different school sectors for the project, which is led by the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. For her part, MacGregor will specifically look at education approaches Catholic schools take on issues such as morality and citizenship, for example if certain school approaches cultivate the values that lead to greater civic engagement and higher levels of voting later in life.

“I’m delighted to be working in New Orleans, where there are more students enrolled in Catholic schools per capita than any in other diocese in the nation,” MacGregor said. She expects to work with a total of six Catholic schools, including several local schools and one school each in Boston, Mass., Chicago, Ill., and Los Angeles, Calif.

Two Loyola undergraduates—senior sociology major Brian Fitzpatrick and sophomore sociology major Lucia Moreno—will help with the study by conducting background research and assisting with interviews and interactive focus groups with teachers, students and parents at the Catholic schools. Loyola alumnus Jeffrey Guhin ’03, now a postdoctoral student at the University of Virginia, is also involved in the project. The team expects to report preliminary results by next summer.

MacGregor received $41,850 from the IMR Support Foundation this summer to fund her portion of the research project.

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