Engaging the Mission Conversations are monthly discussions hosted by the Center for Catholic Studies during which specific mission-related topics will be presented. Each session reflects upon a different characteristic of a Marianist university with faculty who engage the topic and have successfully connected it to pillars of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. 

All conversations will draw from the Characteristics of Marianist Universities booklet and The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Core Principles for the College or University, as well as reflective questions associated with the pre-readings.


Conversation 1: Educate for Formation in Faith

Friday, Sept. 4 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Opening Prayer: 
Céline Jacquemin, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Marianist Educational Associate (MEA)

Facilitators:
Gerald (Jerry) Poyo, Ph.D., Professor of History and O’Connor Chair for the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest; and Jose Matos Auffant, Executive Director, University Ministry

Pre-reading(s):
Characteristics of Marianist Universities, pp. 11-13
The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Core Principles for the College or University, pp. 4-7 

  • Characteristic of Marianist Universities:
    1) Educate for Formation in Faith

    Catholic Intellectual Tradition Principles:
    Sacramental Vision, Faith and Reason, Integral Relationship with the Catholic Church

  1. Catholic universities are preoccupied deeply and constantly with mission and identity. As you enter the St. Mary’s University community, what perceptions do you have about this university’s mission and identity beyond the general categories of Catholic and Marianist? What have you perceived or seen thus far in the community’s day-to-day rhetoric or actions that speak to mission and/or identity?
  2. What about Marianist origins speaks to the order’s commitment to service, justice and peace as a characteristic of its educational mission? To what extent have you so far heard and/or seen a commitment to service, justice and peace in action at St. Mary’s?
  3. Catholic universities foster a healthy tension and collaboration between faith and reason as part of our ongoing institutional dialogue. How do you understand this interplay between faith and reason? What insights did you gain from the ACCU document?
  4. The Marianist tradition started with Blessed Chaminade’s emphasis on the Incarnation of Christ and is presented as the ultimate model of ‘being present,’ or making ourselves available to the persons we work with to keep transforming society. How do you envision this aspiration to translate in the daily life of the University?
Reflection Questions

Conversation 2: Provide an Integral, Quality Education

Friday, Oct. 2 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Opening Prayer: 
David Sommer, Ph.D., Professor of Risk Management and MEA

Facilitators:
Allison Gray, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Theology; and Sr. Grace Walle, Chaplain, School of Law

Pre-reading(s):
Characteristics of Marianist Universities, pp. 14-16
The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Core Principles for the College or University, pp. 3-4

  • Characteristic of Marianist Universities:
    2) Provide an Integral, Quality Education

    Catholic Intellectual Tradition Principles:
    Commitment to Universal Truth, Faith and Reason, Integral Relationship with the Catholic Church

  1. How has your own academic training become an integrated part of your wholeness (personal, professional, intellectual and spiritual)?
  2. When you read about “formation in faith” within the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, which emphasizes connections between faith and culture or faith and reason, what resonates with you and what challenges you? What principles or values in your discipline align with Marianist Educational Characteristics and how?
  3. What would it look like on a very practical level for you to integrate Marianist values into your approach to teaching and learning? The Catholic view of higher education focuses on the whole person — how would educating the whole person transform your classroom, advising, mentoring and community practices?
Reflection Questions

Conversation 3: Educate in Family Spirit

Friday, Nov. 6 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Opening Prayer: 
Gregory Zlotnick, J.D., Director of Pro Bono Programs, School of Law, and MEA

Facilitators:
Jessica Gonzalez Uhlig, Ph.D., Executive Director, MEA Program; and Rev. Timothy Eden, S.M., Ed.D., Vice President for Mission and Rector

Pre-reading(s):
Characteristics of Marianist Universities, pp. 17-18
The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Core Principles for the College or University, pp. 7-10

  • Characteristic of Marianist Universities:
    3) Educate in Family Spirit

    Catholic Intellectual Tradition Principles:
    Hospitality and Tradition, Dignity of the Human Person

  1. Do you acknowledge others when they exemplify aspects of our Catholic and Marianist institutional identity?
  2. How do you communicate your appreciation of our Catholic and Marianist mission and identity? In your interactions with others? In your scholarly work? In your teaching?
  3. What opportunities has St. Mary’s offered you for your spiritual journey and/or to build relationships with the Marianists?
Reflection Questions

Conversation 4: Educate for Justice, Service and Peace, and Integrity of Creation

Friday, Feb. 5 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Opening Prayer: 
Larry Hufford, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and MEA

Facilitators:
William Buhrman, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, with 2020-2021 Speed Grant Recipients

Pre-reading(s):
Characteristics of Marianist Universities, pp. 19-21
Review of The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Core Principles for the College or University, pp. 7-10
Criteria for the Edward and Linda Speed and Catholic Studies Faculty Development and Research Fund

  • Characteristic of Marianist Universities:
    4) Educate for Service, Justice and Peace, and Integrity of Creation

    Catholic Intellectual Tradition Principles:
    Power of Beauty, Appreciation of Creation, Dignity of the Human Person, Innovation for the Common Good

  1. What are the ways that we, as a community and an institution, demonstrate our “family spirit” and welcoming and inclusive community?
  2. What do you consider “mission-related” service, scholarly work and/or teaching?
  3. What exists for students to encourage and engage in robust and intellectually informed conversations that reflect upon Catholic Marianist ideals within the context of contemporary issues? Can connections be made to your courses?
Reflection Questions

Conversation 5: Educate for Adaptation and Change

Friday, March 5 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Opening Prayer: 
Christine Gray, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences

Facilitators:
Kathleen Gallagher, Ph.D., Associate Professor of International Relations; David Grenardo, J.D., Professor of Law; and Paul Uhlig, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Mathematics, member of the Core Curriculum Committee and MEA

Pre-reading(s):
Characteristics of Marianist Universities, pp. 22-23
Review of The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Core Principles for the College or University, pp. 10

  • Characteristic of Marianist Universities:
    5) Educate for Adaptation and Change

    Catholic Intellectual Tradition Principles:
    Innovation for the Common Good

  1. Have you taken advantage of available resources to you to learn about, integrate and/or reflect upon the Catholic and Marianist mission of St. Mary’s in a more intentional way?
  2. How does your school or College demonstrate the value of the Catholic intellectual life and traditions within scholarship, service and teaching?
  3. What training, incentives and ongoing support is there (that you know of) to provide you with the ability to integrate mission-related principles, values and characteristics into your teaching and scholarship?
Reflection Questions

Questions? Contact the Center for Catholic Studies at centerforcatholicstudies@stmarytx.edu or Susie Elias at selias@stmarytx.edu.

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