Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Eugenia Lambert, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Feon Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Tina Cook


Hospitality is an ever-growing area of academic inquiry. While some studies relating hospitality theory to the education field exist, there is a gap in the literature at the intersection point of hospitality theory and private Christian school enrollment practices. This case study seeks to explore the relationship between three theories emerging in hospitality research - social exchange theory, social identity theory, and the commitment trust theory of relationship marketing - and the theological and pragmatic guidelines for private Christian school enrollment offices.

The study related the three hospitality theories to philosophical/theological and pragmatic considerations through the literature review. Data regarding employee’s knowledge of hospitality and a school’s emphasis on hospitality were collected from interviews with private Christian school employees with direct impact on the enrollment office. Data was then analyzed inductively using ATLAS.ti for thematic content. While it will likely take many studies to create a fully-informed, research-based model of best practices of hospitality for private Christian school enrollment officers, this study aims to begin the conversation among enrollment professionals at private Christian schools.

This research project involved little, if any, risk to human subjects. Interviews were not anonymous; therefore, transcripts of interviews were kept in a secure Google file accessible only to the researcher. It is unlikely that anything said in the interview would jeopardize a participant’s standing at work or in the community in any way; however, providing the extra measure of security is a good faith effort on the part of the researcher to maintain privacy for the participants. The project has the potential to begin a conversation regarding the creation of a best-practices model of hospitality for private Christian schools.

To eligible to participate, respondents must have had oversight of the enrollment process at their respective schools. This included admissions office personnel, associate heads of school, heads of school, or perhaps principals. Participants were solicited from among the schools that align with the Council for Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA). CESA is an organization with 53 full member schools and 30 pending member schools at the time of this writing. All CESA schools share the biblical values that will be discussed as an essential part of any future best practices guide.


Hospitality -- Education.

Church schools.

School enrollment.

Relationship marketing.

Group identity.

Social exchange.