Benefits

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As captured in subsequent pages of this report, the Fellows program yields personal and professional benefits to the faculty members but it also enriches the intellectual as well as the community environment of the entire University. This group of Deans and Fellows serves as a communication instrument as well as a visioning and planning committee for a range of events and initiatives. A few examples will show the manner in which both the individual and the common good are beneficiaries of the program. Fellows for the Child Advocacy Clinic of the Law School have accessed psychological and educational services as a result of round-robin sharings and now offer wholistic services to the children, and graduate students from law, psychology and education have unique clinical opportunities. On a larger scale, for the 5th Biennial Poverty Conference, “The Just and Moral Society,” a group of Fellows developed and worked through the structure of the conference, recommending program themes, topics and speakers and served as hosts, moderators or speakers throughout the day. In addition, the Schools of Law, Education, and Pharmacy, and the College of Professional Studies each sponsored a workshop. In an effort to extend meaningful participation of faculty and students, each Fellow invited a few colleagues and outstanding students to participate in the conference as his/her guests. This shared common experience has a leavening effect, offers effective modeling, and engages student participation in academic events.

A few other examples will illustrate how the Fellows contribute to the University’s academic environment. The Fellows experience in working together facilitated the planning and staffing of the new online graduate program in Global Development and Social Justice. Each year at the Founder’s Week Faculty Luncheon honoring St. Vincent de Paul, the team of six newly appointed Fellows relates their views on the relationship of the Founder’s week theme to their research, teaching and service. This event serves as an animator of the Vincentian tradition and a model of the trans-disciplinary approach as well as a recruitment tool for future Fellows events. Since the 2006-07 academic year, the Fellows also have been authoring a column in the Center for Teaching and Learning Newsletter. Each issue, one of the Fellows writes of his/her experience in integrating the Vincentian mission into curriculum, pedagogy, research or service. Samples of these columns appear later in this publication. The Fellows also serve as presenters in the Vincentian Mission Orientation for new faculty and in faculty sessions on “Catholic Social Thought and the University”. The interest of both junior and senior faculty in becoming a Fellow validates the effectiveness of their colleagues. In addition to the internal vitality the Fellows generate, they have extended the University’s influence beyond its borders. Several are leaders in service learning, while others offer educational and consulting services to Church organizations and public agencies. When the Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission at the United Nations experienced a need for specialized knowledge to enhance his staff, a core group of faculty was available to serve the Mission as “faculty experts”.

Food for Thought

Catholic universities will be particularly attentive to the poorest and to those who suffer economic, social, cultural or religious injustice. This responsibility begins within the academic community but it also finds application beyond it.

Pope John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (40)