Vincentian Mission: Faculty Opportunity and Responsibility

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In Fall of 2006 the Center for Teaching and Learning invited the Fellows to write a column in each issue of the newsletter to explore the Vincentian Mission of St. John’s University as it is expressed through faculty teaching, research and service. The title “Vincentian Mission: Faculty Opportunity and Responsibility” was chosen for the series. The Fellows then developed brief essays on the way in which each aligned his/her academic discipline with the Mission of the University. Several of these essays are presented here as well as the introductory essay to the series which offers a brief overview of Mission as a core emphasis within Catholic universities.

CTL Newsletter Columns

Column Link
<p> Professor Brenda Lopez-Ortiz discusses the manner in which she develops a social justice-oriented context for students in her technology class. She describes conflicting trends in the complex area of technology and identifies the need for students to consider the social and ethical implications of technology on democracy and social development.</p>
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Baum, J. (2011).  Child Advocacy and the Vincentian Hallmark. CTL Newsletter. 16(6),  Abstract
Professor Jennifer Baum presents a few of the learning challenges for the “student attorneys” as they develop the lawyer-ing skills required of child-advocates in child protective proceedings. These complicated cases require students to be aware of the many contextual factors influencing each case as well as their own cultural biases. Professor Baum presents Respect for the Child, with its companion virtues of simplicity, empathy and compassion, as fundamental to authentic Vincentian advocacy.
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Carroll, J. (2010).  Integrating Social Justice Perspectives. CTL Newsletter. 16(4), 5-6. Abstract
Dr. Joanne Carroll describes her method of presenting scientific material and motivating students from the perspective of social justice. She points out that scientific knowledge is certainly not the only expertise health care providers must acquire. One of her goals is to encourage students to identify and evaluate the many and various additional factors that determine the health risks and outcomes of certain populations and individuals, especially those at the margins.
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Joseph Adolphe, presents artistic talent as a language and describes its unique, individual expression as a vehicle of prayer and personal development.
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Gyllenhammer, P. (2010).  Ambiguity and Ethics. CTL Newsletter. 16(2),  Abstract
<p> Dr. Paul Gyllenhammer describes his efforts to assist students who have had little exposure to philosophy, grow in knowledge of outstanding philosophers but also to find place in their own lives for &ldquo;reflection time to judge and to govern our-selves responsibly&rdquo; and &ldquo;to live honestly.&rdquo; His approach facilitates the Mission statement concept: &ldquo;analyze and articulate clearly what is, but also develop the ethical and aesthetic values to imagine and help realize what might be.&rdquo;</p>
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<p> Fr. Ruiz describes his efforts to guide his students to understanding and appreciating &ldquo;the other&rdquo; and &ldquo;others&rdquo; in our&rdquo; shared world&rdquo; which currently struggles with social issues such as refugee resettlement, immigration, religious intolerance, etc. Through the concepts of &ldquo;cosmopolitanism&rdquo; and Catholic social thought, and based on mutual respect and solidarity, Father has developed a curriculum and activities which keep the door between the classroom and the community open and wired for dialogue in this one world. His emphasis on immigration is particularly relevant to this place and this time.</p>
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Professor Fran Guastello describes her work and that of her associates with an Educational Center in Queens which serves marginalized women in a holistic manner. The Center prepares women, who for a variety of reasons have not received a high school diploma, to acquire their GED, their passport to further education and better work opportunities.
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Jacobson, P. F. (2010).  Support for Heritage Languages. CTL Newsletter. 15(6),  Abstract
<p> In this column, Associate Professor Peggy Jacobson, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in St. John&rsquo;s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, shares the finding of her recently completed study (NIDCD-NIH Grant) on Support for Heritage Languages. Her research has particular import for the very diverse areas of our nation and particularly New York City. She stresses the potential for cultural enrichment inherent in heritage language programs and presents the social justice implications for academic progress for children in poverty and those with language impairment.</p>
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Mary Ann Dantuono, who in addition to her service at St. John's serves as a Faculty Expert for the Holy See Mission at the United Nations and teaches Catholic Social Thought at Molloy College, discusses the interrelationship of charity, justice and systemic change. During this 350th anniversary year of the deaths of St. Vincent and St. Louise, it is appropriate to reflect on the Vincentian emphasis on methods and programs which build sustainable structures and systems. It is also fitting to consider the special situation of women and children and to recognize St. Louise, a strong advocate for women who were in the 17th century, and continue to be, disproportionately the victims of poverty and discrimination.
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<p> In this Series, Vincentian Research Fellows from across the university share their experience in actualizing the Mission through their research, teaching and service. Below, Professor Yvonne Pratt-Johnson of the School of Education presents the centrality of &ldquo;caring&rdquo; in the preparation of all teachers but especially of those who work with immigrant children during their cultural transition.</p>
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Food for Thought

A Catholic university is called to become an evermore effective instrument of cultural progress for individuals as well as for society. Included among its research activities, therefore, will be a study of serious contemporary problems in areas such as the dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal and family life, the protection of nature, the search for peace and political stability, a more just sharing in the world’s resources and a new economic and political order that will better serve the human community at a national and international level.

Pope John Paul II,
Ex Corde Ecclesiae (32)