The complementarity of faith and reason; a commitment to philosophy and theology as "sapiential" and "architectonic" disciplines; the belief that all reality is suffused with the presence of God such that God may be found in all things; an understanding of education as a work of sanctification if not even resurrection; and an ambition to educate hearts as well as to instruct minds -- these are, among others, the ideas that have animated and animate yet today Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. But how do these ideas fare, and how can they best be expressed, in today's undergraduate colleges? Are philosophy and theology up to the charge? How should courses in these disciplines be conceived and structured in general education curricula? Further, how do the other disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences serve and express the basic mission of Catholic higher education? Do professional programs in business, education, engineering, or nursing have distinctive vocations within the context of Catholic higher education? What roles do campus ministry, service centers, learning communities, and the like have to play? More precisely, how can they be, not extra-curricular, but co-curricular, contributing to the educational mission of the college? And just what is the warrant for an institution of higher learning to seek to transform students' hearts?
The conference "The Idea of a Catholic College: Charism, Curricula, and Community" took place Friday, September 19 and Saturday, September 20, 2014, on the King's College campus. The conference's keynote speaker was the Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame. Ten other invited speakers participated in three panel discussions, and the program included as well thirty-plus presentations by forty-some faculty and administrators from institutions across the country.
- Click here for a reflection by Jason King, a presenter at the conference and faculty at Saint Vincent's College, posted on the blog "Catholic Moral Theology."
Select conference proceedings have been published in the Journal of Catholic Higher Education 34/1 (2015) and in Expositions: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities 9/1 (2015). A video of Father Jenkins' talk, summarized here in Commonweal, is available on the King's YouTube channel. A video of the panel discussion on core curricula at Catholic colleges is likewise available. (Go to the Center's "Recordings" page and scroll down.)