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Dominican Higher Education Colloquium 2018



 Concurrent Session I

A.  “To Light for Them the Way:  Integrating the Dominican Pillars in the Residential Community”
           Samantha Quinn and Jeff Funk, Albertus Magnus College

With many changes and advancements happening at Albertus Magnus College we wanted to be intentional about infusing the Dominican mission and pillars into the work of student services. We often relate the pillars to the academic work of students and saw an opportunity to really expand that to student development outside the classroom. Within this workshop we would like to share what areas we identified to focus on incorporating the Dominican values, how we related each of the pillars to core values of that area, and allowing the values to be applicable across multifaceted faiths. The presenters will speak to their process as well as allow small group activities to brainstorm areas they would like to increase the impact of the four pillars and how to adapt this idea to different campuses. In preparation for our Spring 2018 Resident Assistant training, we aimed to create a dynamic, intentional training program that aligns with the values-based mission of our institution. Based on current research and trends in residence life, we sequenced the training sessions based on a series of themes: identity, skills, and community development (Whitney et al. 2016). After adding a community service component, this sequencing not only enhanced the effectiveness of our training but also provided the opportunity to infuse these themes with the four pillars. In doing so, the RAs gained deeper insight into the Dominican tradition that can then be infused into their programmatic and peer support efforts.

Additionally, we recently revised our programming model to strengthen the quality of the education offered through our campus’ residential living experience. By implementing MUSCLE—multicultural competence, service/civic engagement, unity, and lifelong learning—we were able to align our program categories to advance understanding of the pillars among our residential population. Students now regularly engage with the College’s Dominican heritage through the programming in our residence halls. Our Code of Student Conduct was revised and formatted to include core values. We believe these core values relate to the four Dominican pillars. Conduct code violations are categorized under our core values of integrity, community, social justice, respect and responsibility. It is important for college students to be held to these standards within our community and reflect upon potential violations not only in relation to the impact on themselves but their impact on the community and the college.  As a college of Dominican tradition it is our goal to encourage each student to explore and grow within the four pillars.  The pillars are a way to carry on the search for truth (VERITAS) and to live authentically in this place of higher learning.  It is our charge to integrate the pillars in all aspects of our students’ experiences at our institution.

B.   “A Distinctively Dominican Education: Essential Features of the Charism in Contemporary Higher Education”
            Scott Flanagan, Edgewood College

During the 2016 Colloquium held at Aquinas (MI) College, the presidents of the Dominican colleges and universities approved a task force charged with articulating the principles of Dominican higher education. This session will serve as an introduction to the resulting document, which builds upon and advances from the work captured following the 2012 colloquium at Dominican (IL) University .

 C.  “Arrival to Departure: The Order of Preachers in New York”
           James T. Carroll, Ph.D., Iona College

The Official Catholic Directory provides demographic data, a list of official ministries, a roster of the clergy, and the institutions served by parishes in every diocese in the United States. In the Archdiocese of New York between 1865 and 1920 the Church of Saint Francis Xavier, opened in 1847 by the Society of Jesus, and the Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer, entrusted to the Dominican’s Fathers in 1867, sponsored the broadest range of ministries and social services in the entire Archdiocese during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. These parishes encountered ever-pressing human needs, experienced a massive influx of newly-arrived immigrants, and navigated changes in relationships between the church and state officials.

The “sign of the times” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries compelled religious and lay leaders to develop innovative responses to multiple challenges facing the Catholic community in New York. At “Xavier” and “Ferrer”, the response was quick and local—the Jesuits and Dominicans responded to the needs they observed on a daily basis on the streets and in the alleys of their parishes with an array of programs that extended well beyond traditional religious services.

This paper will focus on the ministries within the territorial boundaries of Saint Vincent Ferrer and later Saint Catherine of Siena. Specifically, Saint Ann’s Maternity Hospital, the New York Foundling Hospital, Holy Rosary Convent (orphans), Saint Dominic’s Guild for Girls (women’s residence), Saint Rose Settlement House, Catholic Center for the Blind, and Sacred Heart Home for the Aged. These “cradle to grave” services were unparalleled on the East Side of Manhattan. The leadership of prominent Dominicans had significant influence on these endeavors: Father Charles McKenna, Father Clement M. Thuente, Father John Antoninus Rochford, Mother Mary Catherine Antoninus (Alice Thorpe), and Mother Mary Catherine De Ricci (Lucy Eaton Smith)

This paper derives from a chapter in Dominicans on Mission: Selected Essays and is part of a project comparing the endeavors of the Society of Jesus and Order of Preachers in New York City during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.


“Lives of Service and Joy:  An Oral History of the Dominican Sisters of HOPE on Camera and on Stage”
     James Phillips and Rebecca Gordils, Mount Saint Mary College

In 2016 the Dominican Sisters of HOPE approved a project to interview the members of the order. The Sisters of HOPE had previously decided to explore opportunities to record their history and legacy, and when approached by Mount Saint Mary College Professor of Theatre, James Phillips, they agreed, asking that the project include interviews from all three congregations making up the Sisters of HOPE, not just the Newburgh sisters that founded the college. The proposed project included three aspects, video interviews, interview transcripts, and a performance script adapted from the interview texts. These video interviews are conducted at various locations throughout New York and New Jersey, including assisted living facilities, with the goal of holding interviews in locations with easy access for the sisters. In addition to in-person interviews, plans have been made for Skype or similar video interviews for those sisters residing outside the NY/NJ area.

The goal of the interviews is to illuminate each sister’s individual story, and include questions relating to why they joined the order, what they accomplished during their assignments, and how they have benefited from a life as a Dominican. Patterns have emerged over multiple interviews showing the shared values and experiences within the order, but the focus on each individual story allows unexpected discoveries unique to each sister. After the interviews are completed, plans have been made to have them professionally transcribed. The digital interviews and the transcripts will be the property of the order to be distributed and preserved as they see fit.

It is hoped that the project will culminate with an MSMC student performance using a script adapted from the interview texts. Using a format similar to scripts written by Anna Devere Smith, the performance would allow current students to learn about the college’s founders by speaking the stories of individual sisters. The performance would be done at Mount Saint Mary College, and would also be tourable so that the performance could come to the sisters in locations throughout New York and New Jersey.

D.  “The Dominican Difference:  A Chaplain’s Perspective on the Importance of the Dominican Charism”
            Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., Providence College

 Catholic and Dominican identity should be at the heart of every department in a Dominican institution from academics and athletics, to student affairs and institutional diversity, and to everything in between. The Dominican Difference comes when the whole institution thrives on the principles that guide the Dominican life. This presentation will explore both the foundational principles of the Dominican charism and spirituality and how those principles can practically aid an institution’s ability to carry St. Dominic’s vision into the 21st century.


“Institutional Culture and Identity:  The Dominican Ethos and Leadership Identity Development”
      Suzanne C. Otte, Ed.D, Edgewood College

The Doctoral Program in Education Leadership (Ed.D.) at Edgewood College sought opportunities to provide time and opportunity for student growth and development in three identities: an Edgewood leader, an academic writer, and a scholarly researcher.   Ed.D. students develop into leaders who embody the Edgewood College values, produce scholarly writing, and conduct and communicate quality research through defended and published dissertations.   This presentation will focus on two components: the development and growth in students’ Edgewood Leader identity and the program analysis that was conducted to ascertain program effectiveness regarding this identity development.

The Edgewood leader identity consists of three primary components:  the Edgewood values, the studium and cor ad cor loquitur questions. We used the Edgewood Leader identity as a vital component of program assessment when we replaced a compressive exam with a student reflective process.  The program assessment is based on guided student reflections completed at the beginning, middle and the end of content coursework.  Qualitative analyses began in 2012 and continues today.   We conducted three analyses, shared results, and held crucial conversations with doctoral faculty, adjunct faculty, and students.  Results are being used by faculty to revise curricula, syllabi, learning outcomes and to engage in robust conversations among students and faculty in various locations.

We found that growth in the three identities was deeper and broader than at the intermediate reflection point.  The notable exceptions were those who felt they came into the program with a high level of skills and felt they were not challenged enough; similarly, students with limited leadership experience found it difficult to apply the learning outcomes from the courses.  Students found that they were more capable of responding to events with measured responses, patience, and reflection.

Research supports the way in which Edgewood Leadership identity is conceptualized. The Ed.D. program under study incorporates features of programs that build leadership identity in diverse students. Guthrie et al. (2013) identified program elements and features that cultivate leader capacity and identity in students from diverse backgrounds.  These programs focus on identity development, incorporate diverse perspectives of leadership, and create a meaningful program; they also feature consideration of language use, experiential learning opportunities, and structured and unstructured reflection (68). Our program mirrors these recommendations through its focus on identity development as writers, researchers, leaders, its use of periodic reflections, and emphasis on inclusion and diversity and the Dominican values. Furthermore, building a leadership identity through developing self-awareness was evident in student reflections, and supports Komives et al.’s (2005) study detailing leader identity development in undergraduates.

Edgewood Doctoral students connect learning, beliefs, and action through this process of growth and develop of their identities.  And, in doing so, have the potential to dramatically and positively alter the society in which we live.

E.  “Walking the Walk on an Inclusive College Campus”
           Dr. Thomas Holub, Edgewood College

Approximately ten years ago I published a White Paper to bring attention to marginalized youth who were not being provided equal access to colleges and universities.  The marginalized group relates to individuals with disabilities.  The White Paper was well received on my campus and there was an invitation to reflect upon and then develop such opportunities.

Fast forward 3 years and the Cutting Edge Program was born at Edgewood College.  The program meets the needs of youth who are marginalized by varying disabilities.  Some are youth with very mild disabilities and others a bit more marginalized.  They attend classes, live in both dorms and in college-owned houses and are integral to our campus.  Some will end their experiences with a degree, others will not.  In all cases our evaluation data shows the experience to be very meaningful.

In our 9th year, we now serve over 40 youth, ages 19-36 years of age.  The Cutting Edge enrollees are blended into our athletics, our spiritual life, our academics and all of our campus life.

My presentation will share the details on how we set the program up, the data we have on our program, and details as to how the program is implemented.

F.  “Contemplation and Calling in the Classroom”
          Sheila Bauer-Gatsos, Dianne Costanzo , Peter Alonzi and Anne Drougas, Dominican University

This panel presentation is designed to build on a presentation at the 2016 Colloquium of Dominican Colleges and Universities that described a project we designed in 2012 to enhance our students’ capacity for contemplation and aid their discovery of their own life’s meanings.  Drawing on the motto of the Order of Preachers, “contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere,” we titled this initiative “Contemplating Life’s Callings.”  The goal of the project is to empower faculty and key student life staff members to better facilitate students’ understanding of personal vocation through course readings, seminar-style discussions, and the incorporation of contemplative practices into curricular and co-curricular experiences. We designed a summer retreat for these campus leaders which provided them with the opportunity to:  (1) engage in personal reflection upon their own understanding of vocation; (2) develop a common and comfortable theological language of vocation that would enable them to communicate across traditions and more effectively facilitate integrative learning around the theme of vocation; (3) experience contemplative practices from a variety of religious traditions; and (4) advance their understanding of the spiritual traditions of Catholicism such as spiritual direction, the mystical tradition, and the sacramental imagination.  The retreats have been held each May since 2013.

In this proposed panel presentation for the 2018 Colloquium, we will shift our focus from the creation of the retreat project itself to the way that the retreats have influenced faculty in their classroom pedagogy and practice in light of their participation in these retreats.  The panel will begin with an overview of the goals of the faculty retreats and some specific information about the different focus areas the retreats have covered in the first five years they’ve been offered.  We will also share some data that shows the kind of impact the retreats have had on the campus community for faculty, staff, and students.  After the brief overview, individual faculty members from Brennan School of Business and Rosary College of Arts and Sciences will share their classroom practices, illustrating the ways that the fruits of their own contemplation have been brought back to the classroom, helping to shape a campus culture of contemplation and calling.