Masterclass on Any Catholic University

2020 is the 30th anniversary of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, “Born from the Heart of the Church”, St John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution on Catholic universities. The document shares a vision for a Catholic university which has relevance for all university areas, from student life and learning, to teaching and research, through to all branches of professional and administrative staff.

 

Lessons

In this masterclass, Professor Hayden Ramsay, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Coordination and Professor of Catholic Philosophy at ACU, will walk you through what Ex Corde means for staff and students of any Catholic university through a series of 12 short videos and articles over four weeks.

Senior university leadership has responsibility for the promotion of knowledge and the search for meaning in individual lives and in society.

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There’s a strain of thinking on Catholic universities that focuses on teaching and student education to the exclusion of serious research. That is certainly not the view of John Paul II.

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In Ex Corde Ecclesiae a vision for the vocation of teaching was set down in 1990. The document calls for excellent teachers to set their teaching within the context of a coherent world vision.

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The student body is, and should be, the world in microcosm. Once again, this is possible where all students share a basic understanding of what makes a Catholic university and have a basic exposure to Catholic intellectual tradition.

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Campus ministries face a complex balancing task: too high or intensely spiritual an approach will see them dismissed as irrelevant, while too accommodating or socially engaged an approach will see them convicted for interference or appeasement.

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Most staff in universities are professionals, not academics, and the Catholic view of the university as a community of persons all seeking the human good means the contribution and experience of our professional staff must be central to our shared life.

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Properties staff maintain people, as creatures of both body and spirit, and in so doing they are critical for Catholic universities as for any complex institutions.

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In Catholic universities it is important that the trump card money often represents in decision-making (‘It’s not in the budget, it’s not happening!’) does not undermine the principles which explain why we care so much about money and what it can do in the first place.

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Paths allow you to stop, explore, meander, rest, start again, and take your time. And so it is with university pathways. Pathways staff help get you there but are also skilled in offering gentle and thoughtful support.

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Catholic universities are of course a worldwide phenomenon and so have a critical interest in international collaboration and connection. How exactly does this come about?

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The first step, as always in the Catholic university, is truth. Marketing involves communication, and marketing departments often include communications functions. Communication should always be of the truth.

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If you have the right staff and treat staff in the right way, then the mission will be achieved, for good hiring and treatment is half the mission, and the other half will be accomplished by those same good staff.

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You might also like

Pope John Paul II: Ex Corde Ecclesiae

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ACU staff: Reflecting on Ex Corde Ecclesiae

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Professor Hayden Ramsay: Ex Corde Ecclesiae

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