Integrating Jesuit Values in Professional Education

Jamie Kralovec with Rashada Jenkins, 2017 graduate of the Master's in Human Resources Management

Jamie Kralovec (left) with Rashada Jenkins, a 2017 graduate of the Master’s in Human Resources Management

In his autobiography, St. Ignatius of Loyola describes a “great commotion at the university” that occurs after he gives the Spiritual Exercises to a few prominent teachers and students. Five centuries later, a similar dynamic can occur whenever a student, staff, or faculty member is transformed by an Ignatian formation program and is invited to exteriorize what they have deeply interiorized. St. Ignatius was willing to disrupt the status quo of universities and other institutions in order to see things new and follow God’s calling in the service of the common good. Jesuit schools, in the spirit of their founder, have evolved over time to meet the educational demands of the changing societies in which they operate. And while the forms of Jesuit education have been updated, including the development of professional and continuing education programs like those at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS), the essential core of Ignatian-inspired teaching and learning has never changed. Universities like Georgetown and schools within them like SCS continue to uphold a humanistic tradition with a religious vision that, initiated 500 years ago and celebrated in this Ignatian Year, is constantly seeking how to most effectively respond to the challenges of our time while attending to the unique contexts of our diverse learners. 

At SCS, whose vision is to “transform the lives and careers of diverse lifelong learners by providing access to engaged and personalized liberal and professional education for all,” the intentional incorporation of the Spirit of Georgetown continues to bear fruit across the academic enterprise. Faculty are encouraged to explore the resources of Ignatian Pedagogy in order to integrate Jesuit values across the curriculum. For example, SCS Vice Dean Shenita Ray’s guide, Strategies to Integrate Georgetown Values into Online and On-Campus Courses, helps faculty and instructional designers visualize the practical ways that Ignatian Pedagogy can come alive in assignments and other learning activities. 

Students, faculty, and staff are also invited to participate in a variety of Ignatian-inspired retreats and other spirituality programs, including SCS Daily Digital Meditation, a digitally connected community that originated at the beginning of the pandemic that continues to extend the resources of mindfulness meditation, including a weekly Examen. And a weekly blog reflection, Mission in Motion, narrates the many ways that SCS students, faculty, staff, and alumni live out Jesuit values in their study, work, and engagement with the communities beyond Georgetown. 

One of the signature SCS manifestations of Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy is “Jesuit Values in Professional Practice” (recently renamed “The Reflective Professional”), a first-of-its-kind elective open to all degree-seeking students at the School. Offered annually since 2016, this community-based learning course, which is supported by Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, Research, Teaching & Service, is a reflection-based exploration of the history, education philosophy, spirituality, and social justice applications of Jesuit education. I created the interdisciplinary course in response to my own transformative experience of the Spiritual Exercises. Similar to those early Ignatian-animated citizens of the university, I discerned at the retreat’s conclusion how best to share my transformative experience with others. The outcome of my discernment was a dedicated course that introduces some of the tools of the Ignatian tradition in a way that honors religious pluralism, advances social justice, and meets the needs of busy adult learners at SCS. 

All of these experiences hopefully make clear that the enduring resources of Jesuit education and the vision of its founder animate the life of SCS. In this Ignatian Year, I invite you to consider: what might it mean for you to cause a little graced commotion at Georgetown and beyond?  How might you listen for and respond to deep callings in your life, your study, and your work?  

Jamie Kralovec is the Associate Director for Mission Integration at the School of Continuing Studies.

 

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Returning to the CCC and ESCAPE

Two students sitting on a rock with mountains as a backdrop.

Justin Bustamante (NHS’23) with his friend Molly Ropelewski (COL ’23) on the long hike at the CCC.

I write this reflection from my cabin at the Calcagnini Contemplative Center (CCC). We just finished the second of three days of Team Training for the new ESCAPE team. I forgot how short the drive was from campus to the CCC. I also forgot how green it is up here. I’ve walked around these grounds countless times in the past few hours, retracing the steps I left behind when I first came here two years ago. I want to lie down in the grass until the dark mountains shine light blue from the rising sun. I feel nothing but gratitude for the simple fact that I am back.

I first heard about ESCAPE three years ago when I noticed a poster in Healy Hall. It was almost a year later when I finally approached two students wearing their green ESCAPE T-shirts at a table in Red Square and a short month after that I was finally on a bus to Bluemont, Virginia.

When I arrived I stepped off the bus and tripped. As I picked myself up off the stones in the driveway, it seemed as though the white farmhouse rose from the ground with me. The blue-ridged peaks in the distance appeared to be both a few days and a breath away. I had arrived at the CCC for my first college retreat.

After the first day of listening to retreat leaders tell their stories, belting out songs way out of my range, and dancing with other students I had never met before, I dropped onto the grass and stared upward. The night sky darkened and as the stars appeared I knew I would return to see those stars again.

However, the pandemic had other plans and instead of driving west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains, I found myself driving north toward the blue walls of my childhood bedroom where the white farmhouse became a Lego set sitting on a shelf next to a stack of unread children’s books.

It’s strange. For the last year, I learned that ESCAPE has no center point, and looking out the window at this Virginia night sky for the first time in a long time, I find it difficult to explain my thoughts and feelings. Being back here, being back on campus, being back in person, I think I feel everything. I feel the stress of in-person exams and in-person commitments looming over the horizon. I feel the excitement, not only my own but the entire campus, as I hear their loud, singing voices outside my on-campus apartment late into the night. I feel the hugs of countless friends and acquaintances as I walk across the quad, their impressions from long ago coming back up from my deep memory. I feel the expectations of the new ESCAPE team, of the program itself, and even my own as we venture into ESCAPE’s thirty-first year, yet the first one back after a global quarantine.

Sometimes, I feel as though I should be looking down, to where I stand (or sit, I suppose), reflecting on where I am and how I got here. Yet, I find myself also looking forward — looking forward to the first ESCAPE retreat in October, to the first round of exams, to the first stories I will hear from new friends, taking with me on the long hike in the morning the past two years of my time at Georgetown on campus and at home. I don’t know if I’ll stay on the path I feel I laid out for myself or if I have given myself the time to acknowledge and process the past year and a half, but I accept this uncertainty with open arms and with gratitude — grateful for everything that has happened between my first and third year as a Georgetown student and grateful for the prospect of what’s to come.

Justin Bustamante is a junior in the School of Nursing & Health Studies and a student coordinator on the ESCAPE team.

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A New Normal for Residential Ministry

group of residential ministers

Residential Ministers are here to help students make meaning of their time at Georgetown.

It’s hard to believe, but after a year and a half where there were only a small fraction of the undergraduate students living on campus, everyone is finally back this semester.  This is great news for everyone, especially our RM (Residential Ministers) team — last year, we faced quite the paradox of trying to be Residential Ministers for no-longer-residential students!  I can’t even think how many times during the course of the pandemic I’ve heard from all sides about how draining and unsatisfactory it was to only be able to engage virtually, despite the heroic efforts the RMs made to be endlessly creative, so the return of students to the Hilltop is indeed a welcome sight.

But also, we know that just because the halls are full doesn’t mean we can just snap back like a rubber band to “how things used to be.”  None of us are really the way we used to be prior to COVID; we’ve all endured a grueling societal trauma that continues to unfold.  Two classes worth of students have graduated since March 2020, so half our undergraduate population is functionally brand new.  Our current residents, who have spent four semesters learning how to be Zoom students, now need to remember what it means to return to the classroom, with its concomitant increase in rigor.  For our part, only about half of the RMs began their ministry prior to the pandemic, so we have much to (re)learn about what it means to accompany students in an embodied, non-virtual context.  Combine this with grief over loved ones who have contracted the virus, the nationwide uptick in mental health concerns, ever-worsening climate catastrophes, insidious stressors like racism, and so many more, and you have a recipe for a very challenging academic year.

To that end, the RMs remain committed to the work of walking with students through their college journey (even despite their new circumstances), helping them make meaning of their time at Georgetown, and providing a source of support close at hand.  We continue to engage them through open houses, weekly pastoral reflections, one-on-one conversations, on-call response in the middle of the night, and much more.  Even as many of our methods of engagement hearken back to the pre-pandemic days, we also hope to take the best of what we learned in the virtual environment and build off of those successes.  We found that there are indeed students who preferred a Zoom call to a face-to-face chat.  We utilized a host of online tools to engage students synchronously and asynchronously.  We recentered racial justice as a top priority.  We had a chance to rethink what a religious community can look like.  Each of these should lay a foundation for continued growth moving forward.

So as we begin the fall semester, and work to co-create what this similar-but-not-the-same “new normal” looks like, I would ask for your continued prayers.  There will be a readjustment to having neighbors again, smaller budgets, and new means of engaging students, each of which will require grace, creativity, and growth.  In my Episcopal tradition, at baptism, when parents and godparents make pledges to support and uphold a child, they do so not from their own strength, but they say, “I will, with God’s help.”  This is very resonant for me and for the RM team this year.  We cannot minister alone, but with God’s help, we will.

by Matt Hall, associate director for Residential Ministry on the Main Campus.

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A note from Campus Ministry regarding religious service attendance

Campus Ministry banner

Dear friends,

As Georgetown University looks forward to reopening fully this Fall, plans are being made for the return of the full religious services schedule on all of our campuses. Many factors are part of this planning process, including Georgetown’s vaccination requirement, current variants, and community spread. Our priority has been and continues to be the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. 

We have greatly missed those from our alumni and neighborhood communities who are regular attendees of our services. We know that many of you have great affection for our campus sacred spaces from your time as a student, as an alum, or as a community member. 

As the new semester begins, Georgetown University will continue to restrict religious service attendance to students, staff, and faculty who are participating in the COVID protocol. We hope that the situation will end soon, and we look forward to the day when we can welcome our community of friends and alumni back. We will keep you informed as changes occur with updates on the Campus Ministry webpage.

Please keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours, and join us in praying for an end to this pandemic.

Peace,
Fr. Greg Schenden, SJ
Director of Campus Ministry

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Announcing New Catholic Chaplain at Georgetown University Medical Center: Fr. Jim Shea, S.J.

Fr. Jim Shea, SJ

Dear Colleagues:

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Fr. Jim Shea, S.J. to the position of Catholic Chaplain at the Georgetown University Medical Center. He began this work on Monday.

In close collaboration with chaplains and staff colleagues of various religious traditions, Fr. Shea will work to advance, support, and integrate the work of Catholic Ministry and Campus Ministry with the  Medical Center community.

As some of you may know, Fr. Shea’s appointment is, in many ways, a return: from 1989-1996 he was Director of the Pastoral Care Department at Georgetown University Hospital, and from 1996-2004 he was Director of Medical Center Ministry at GUMC. Since 2004, Fr. Shea has served as Pastor in two Catholic parishes (one in Washington, D.C. and the other in Charlotte, N.C.), and from 2008-2014 he served as Provincial Superior of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.

“I am grateful to be returning to the Medical Center,” says Fr. Shea, “[and] I look forward to developing supportive relationships with Medical Center students, faculty, and staff, and to collaborating with colleagues to promote the Catholic identity, Jesuit mission, and Ignatian spiritual tradition of the Medical Center.”

Guided by Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit tradition, with its abiding commitment to interreligious collaboration, and in the spirit of cura personalis – care for the whole person – Fr. Shea’s witness and experience will be an invaluable resource for students, faculty, and staff looking to lead lives of deeper meaning, belonging, and purpose.

Fr. Shea’s office is in the Medical/Dental Building Room SW103. He can be reached by email (jms789@georgetown.edu) or by phone (202-687-5996).

Please join us in welcoming Fr. Shea back to the Medical Center, and back to the Georgetown community.

Sincerely, 

Mark Bosco, SJ, PhD
Vice President for Mission & Ministry

Edward B. Healton, MD, MPH
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences
Executive Dean, Georgetown University School of Medicine

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