The Endowed Ignatian Mentoring Program
5 year follow-up
As you look back on your experience in the IMP, how would you describe it with regards to:
On a scale from 10 (extremely helpful) to 1 (not at all helpful)
|Facilitating your understanding of the Jesuit mission and identity||9||8|
|Enhancing your understanding of the general teaching and educational process||7||8|
|Enhancing your progression toward tenure (if applicable)||6||5|
|Feeling socially connected to the University||9||9|
|Being supported in scholarly work||7||7|
|Making connections between your intellectual and spiritual life.||8||did not ask|
|* Indicates Average Score of Respondents|
What did you find most valuable? What was the long-term 'take-away'?
- Working with a mentor was stimulating and enjoyable! Integrating teaching style and pedagogy with Ignatian principles was enlightening. I found that my teaching style melds very well with Ignatian principles.
- It was very nice to get to know colleagues in my cohort as well as in other parts of the University. The experience has allowed me as an incoming faculty member to become more connected to the University and given me a much better understanding of what it means to be Jesuit. It has significantly enhanced my medicinal chemistry course.
- Connecting to other faculty interested in mission oriented curriculum has been the most valuable. I still keep in touch with the people I met during the program. Likewise, learning about IMP and the other programs available at Xavier to support faculty interested in incorporating Jesuit principles into their work.
- First, being involved in the IMP has provided an anchor for my research. It has provided the incentive to focus on areas of social concern and make it a significant part of my research. Although I had done some work in those areas in the past, it was mostly a small "side-line." Since the IMP is focused primarily on teaching area, however, the experience demonstrated to me how I can extend my research focus into my teaching. In doing so, I have been able to provide students with a much better understanding of the subject field while helping students to be much more aware of the environment in which business is conducted and to become more aware of how individual choices affect society at large.
- Developing relationships at our university.
- It encouraged me to devote time to considering and reading about how I would engage the Jesuit identity of Xavier University, especially in my teaching of core curriculum classes. I'm not sure that I would have done that otherwise; certainly not so early in my time at Xavier. Having a mentor to walk me through the process was important, intellectually and socially as well.
- My mentor included in our conversations a substantive introduction to Jesuit history, the exercises, and Ignatian spirituality. We read O'Malley's "The First Jesuits" and other books on Ignatian spirituality. My mentor was mentoring another new faculty member at the same time. So we had wonderful shared conversations that ranged from campus life, faculty politics, and the Xavier intellectual culture to the history of Jesuit involvement in education. It was very rich.
Identify one way that your current work as a teacher-scholar has been specifically influenced by the IMP experience (a simple illustration is helpful).
- I find, that in all the courses I teach, I am more apt to bring up social, ethical and religious values, and encourage students to think of others around them, not just of themselves. Integrating moral principles in even the most "scientific" courses I teach has become one of my teaching goals. For example, in Quantitative Analysis, I spent some class time encouraging students to become scientists of the highest caliber- people of integrity. It does matter how you do your work; people want members of their staff to be dependable, truthful, and diligent in all they do.
- As said earlier, it has significantly enhanced my medicinal chemistry course by bringing new concepts into the classroom. Specifically, our debates surrounding HIV/Aids and the pharmaceutical industry have been well-received by students in the course and even led to us securing funds to donate to a local AIDS charity through the Xavier Philanthropy program.
I can be very concrete. I just submitted my third book manuscript, "Awakening Vocation: A Theology of Christian Call." It includes a heavy Ignatian component in its treatment of discernment . . . exploring the understanding of vocational discernment (in its broadest sense) in Ignatius and in the important 20th century Jesuit theologians Karl Rahner and Ignacio Ellacuria. I had been interested in the theology of "call" since grad school, but it was largely the IMP that encouraged me to unpack the richness of the Ignatian tradition of reflection on vocation.
I am now serving as a mentor in the program.
After participating in the Ignatian Mentoring Program I created a framework to focus my teaching. It is entitled, "Conscience, competence, and compassion in the classroom." These are key principles of the Jesuit philosophy. An outgrowth of this philosophy was my participation in the Philanthropy Grant program. In my oral communication course (Comm 101) I taught students the meaning of philanthropy. We partnered with the Lower Price Hill Community school and students volunteered as tutors. They gave critical issues speeches on adult illiteracy then gave speeches of influence recommending the best way the money could be spent. Another outcome of this theme is the tight link I have created between Comm 101 and the ERS lecture series. Students attend the lectures and their critical issues speeches for the semester focus on that particular issue. This gives students an opportunity to speak on issues they are learning about in their theology and philosophy classes as well. Issues studied have been multiculturalism, climate change, and sustainability. This has been a very successful curriculum development that I believe is a direct result of my participation in the IMP program.
- On a personal note, the IMP program gave me an opportunity to learn more about the Ignatian Programs in general. I have also attended a Delta Heartland Conference, last year I participated in a Magis Retreat, and most recently a day retreat during fall break 2009. These were excellent experiences and extremely insightful. Incorporating the Jesuit mission and vision in the classroom is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work.
- In my graduate courses, I have added a component which forces students to think about and become more aware of the foundations of consumer culture and the ways that it affects the lives of individuals. In addition to providing students with a better understanding of the marketplace, it provides students with the means by which they can evaluate the effects of their choices on the lives of individuals.
- It continues, years later, to include an Ignatian project in my classes.
I continue to teach the course on European history in the way that I redesigned it to include specific readings and lecture on the history of the Jesuits. In fact, I have extended the reading and discussing of the Jesuit tradition over the subsequent years in the same class, for instance adding letters of Francis Xavier and even some brief video segments of places that were significant in the lives of Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier. Upon reflection, it is the IMP that led me to establish the goal of including some discussion of the Jesuits; since then, I have improved and added to this part of the course.
More generally and more broadly, though, there is no doubt that this process and the encouragement of my mentor lead me to be more intentional about allowing ethical, religious, and even spiritual elements aspects of history to find a place in the classes I teach. I don't self-censor when we find ourselves, in class discussions, treading upon these less explicitly historical topics. That's a real benefit, and one that often explicitly forgoes ties with other parts of Xavier's core curriculum. My mentor's role in encouraging this, even giving permission for this, was critical.
Did your relationship with your mentor extend beyond the 1 year of the IMP? If yes, briefly describe:
- No, it did not. We talked once in a while, but our paths don't really cross.
- Not to the extent that I had hoped.
- Yes. A few meetings with him occasionally checking in. More important has been the continued relationship with a fellow new faculty member he was also mentoring. We share a floor in Hinkle Hall and, this year, we are partners in the "Time to Think" program.
- Cecile Walsh and I have stayed in touch over the past few years. We still see each other at Campus wide events but we don't meet on a regular basis.
- My mentor has since retired.
- Friendly conversation when we run into each other on campus.
- Yes. My mentor and I continued to have periodic contact until he recently left the university. As an active leader in shared governance at the university, he was both a model and a guide. I knew him well enough to trust his judgment, for instance, on issues that came before the faculty assembly. I also knew that I had an adviser and potentially an advocate outside of my own department, which was very important, even though I only occasionally asked him for specific advice. It also influenced my teaching: he asked me more than once to serve on the honors thesis committees of his own students.
What suggestions do you have for improving the Program?
- None at this time. Having also served as a Mentor, I found the program very fulfilling
- If possible, encourage mentors to stay connected to their mentors.
- Opportunities for the various mentor-mentor pairs to come together for larger events . . . perhaps focused on some of the Ignatian history/spirituality/educational vision that Ed C. was so helpful in introducing to us.
- I remember not realizing that the program was for 2nd faculty. I participated after I had been here 10 years. I felt it was really beneficial at that time because I wasn't new to my position. I think it works for new faculty but also for people who have been around a while.
- Can't think of any at the present time.
The flexibility of the program is certainly a strength; I do think the relationship between the two faculty members is one of the main goals. What each pair needs will depend on situations, personalities, and academic disciplines.
I suppose that even a very modest financial incentive in subsequent years might be a cost-effective way to encourage an ongoing relationship and to stimulate reflection on the experience'say $30 per pair to eat lunch together once a year for three to five years after the initial period. It's not so much the money, as the prompt, offered in this form as an opportunity rather than a commitment'that may be helpful.