Ignatian Colleagues Program: Advancing mission partners for Jesuit higher education

Ignatian Colleagues Program: Advancing mission partners for Jesuit higher education

The Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP) seeks to develop Ignatian partners in Jesuit higher education who are capable of and committed to assuming leadership within the Ignatian spiritual and educational heritage and who will sustain their school’s Jesuit Catholic character into the future.  These partners will enhance local, regional, and national networks of Ignatian leaders who work collaboratively to enrich Jesuit higher education.

The ICP is a collaborative initiative of the Heartland/Delta Jesuit colleges and universities of the USA and Belize and their sponsoring provinces in collaboration with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and is hosted on the campus of John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, USA.  The program began in January 2009 with 25 Jesuit colleges and universities from the USA and Belize participating.  Each fall, additional Jesuit colleges and universities are welcomed.

Jesuit colleges and universities developed the ICP as a response to GC 35 that invites Jesuits and their colleagues to collaborate more intentionally in the development of programs that deepen the sense of common vision and unity in mission.  The program is thus designed to educate and form administrators more deeply in the Jesuit tradition of higher education so they may better articulate, adapt, and advance Ignatian mission on their campuses.

With the establishment of the ICP, the sponsoring Jesuit schools and provinces envision the strengthening of present policies and programs that integrate the Ignatian heritage within higher education.  Specifically, this is achieved through the development of leaders grounded in that tradition and can communicate its meaning and adapt its implementation to the future challenges of Jesuit higher education.  They further envision the establishment of new forms of Ignatian community on campuses and among the AJCU network of schools.

Participants

The ICP is oriented toward current leaders in Jesuit higher education, such as chairs, directors, deans, and vice presidents, who are dedicated to the Ignatian tradition and want to learn more about its history, principles, values, and contemporary applications within Jesuit higher education.  Reflecting the multicultural and inter-religious cultures of Jesuit schools, the ICP incorporates a wide diversity of people, including those from religious traditions other than Roman Catholicism.  The expectation is that university and college presidents or their designates will nominate diverse participants for this program but with a common commitment to Jesuit higher education.

Components

The ICP is made up of five integrated components, designed to establish ongoing conversations through a menu of face-to-face cohort gatherings, online learning opportunities, an Ignatian retreat, and an international immersion experience.  The program spans a period of approximately 18 months.  Every effort will be made to adapt the program to the academic and professional experiences and needs of each participant under the direction of the campus coordinator who will serve as a mentor and guide assigned by the president of each school.  The components are:

  • Program Orientation: First Principles and Foundation
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • An International Immersion Experience: Women and Men For and With Others
  • Online Educational Workshops: The History and Intellectual Traditions of Jesuit Education
  • Mission Project: Contemplatives in Action
  • Capstone Experience in Jesuit Higher Education: Finding God in All Things

Outcomes: Appropriation, Articulation, and Implementation

The ICP is a process of personal and professional appropriation of the Ignatian heritage with an eye on the eventual adaptation of what participants have learned to the work of Jesuit higher education.  Because the program shares an Ignatian reverence for human spiritual freedom, it avoids anything like indoctrination and welcomes diverse participants.  Because the program also honors the Ignatian call to generous dedication to an enterprise greater than one’s personal ambitions (the magis), it presents a vision of education that orients an institution and its members toward reflection and the service of others.

The mission action plan, which each participant will develop with the campus coordinator, the ICP staff, and fellow ICP participants, represents a practical and personal way for implementing the ICP experience at each participant’s institution.  It is ICP’s hope that one of the enduring effects of the program is to form a network of women and men on each campus and across the AJCU who continue to draw inspiration, challenge, and guidance from each other in Ignatian companionship.

For more information, please go to the ICP website or get in touch with Dr Edward Peck, ICP Executive Director, through his email: epeck(at)icolleagues.org.

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