Center for Mission and Identity - Introduction
Seeking Integration and Wisdom: The Xavier Way
At Xavier University we are privileged to be part of an intellectual tradition that is both Jesuit and Catholic. This tradition is not a timeless and static storehouse of abstract ideas. It is a living history of persons and communities who have discovered God in the encounter with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Catholic universities are rooted in this transformative encounter and live it in different ways. The purpose of the 'seeking Integration and Wisdom' document is to articulate what it means for us-the particular community of persons that is Xavier University today-to be a Jesuit Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts tradition.
How ought the entire University act to fulfill Xavier's Mission with excellence and integrity? What values should guide us-the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and students-across every division, department, and office? Who are we? To what will we hold ourselves accountable? How do we maintain a robust Jesuit Catholic identity while also integrating all persons into our community? How do we grapple with the difficult, important issues of our times? Here we ask of ourselves collectively the same aspirational questions of identity and vocation we ask of our students. What does the Xavier Way mean today and how will we embody it in our work together?
As we seek to live out our mission-in our classrooms, in our offices, in our relations with the rest of the world-we often find ourselves in disagreement about how best to embody our identity as a Jesuit Catholic university. To embrace our mission with vigor and integrity entails certain tensions. In fact, our university functions best when these tensions are alive and felt. They ought not to be conceived as obstacles but as opportunities for growth in our pursuit of the ends to which we are called.
The gifts of our Ignatian heritage provide our guideposts and our confidence for examining five tensions that arise regularly at Xavier. Our aim is not to provide a static reconciliation of these impulses, but to underscore the dynamic and enriching processes they bring to the university. We embrace these tensions because they generate creative engagement, stimulate conversation, and promote habits of substantive individual and collective inquiry. They foster, as Fr. Howard Gray notes, "a mutual regard for one another precisely as a privileged place where the divine and the human meet." We believe that the honest, open engagement with these creative tensions at Xavier will foster a culture of encounter, integration, and wisdom; they are:
- Specialization and Integration
- The Center and the Frontier
- Diversity and Identity
- Catholic Identity and Dialogue
- Achievement and Service
Our students face a world charged with immeasurable beauty and wonder, but also a world of rapid change marked by vast inequalities, environmental degradation, systemic violence, and cultural displacement. Against the temptation to self-concern and "to domesticate frontiers," the Xavier Way is committed to the education of the whole person, challenging ourselves and our students to discover God's presence and promises of hope in all things. From the Board of Trustees to faculty, staff, and students across every division, department, and office, each one of us is challenged to reflect upon the light of God's boundless love and the call for justice, to discover one's authentic gifts, and to share these gifts in an environment of mutual respect and common mission. Seeking to embody and immerse our students in the intellectual, imaginative, and spiritual depths of the Jesuit Catholic tradition, the Xavier Way cultivates the interior life while pressing us toward loving engagement in the world, with a faith that seeks solidarity and justice with and for all of God's people.
Document written by the Task Force Members:
Mr. Greg Carpinello, Director, Center for Faith and Justice
Dr. Rachel Chrastil, Associate Professor, History Department
Mr. Matthew Dunch, S.J., Visiting Faculty, Philosophy Department
Rev. Daniel Hartnett, S.J., Pastor, Bellarmine Chapel; Adj Prof., Philosophy Depart.
Mrs. Tekeia Howard, Interim Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs
Ms. Kelly Leon, Director for Strategic Communications
Dr. Anas B. Malik, Assoc. Professor, Poli. Sci. Depart. and International Studies
Dr. Dena Morton, Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Dr. Christopher Pramuk, Associate Professor, Theology Department
Dr. Jo Ann Recker, S.N.D.de N., Prof, Modern Languages Depart. and International Econ.
Dr. Stephen Yandell, Assoc. Prof., English Depart.; Faculty Dir., Ctr for Teaching Excellence
Dr. Victoria Zascavage, Associate Professor, Secondary and Special Educ. Depart.