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Journal of Catholic Higher Education

The only international journal dedicated to contemporary Catholic higher education



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Now Available: Volume 37, Number 1

Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is a central tenet to the faith and finds expression in Catholic higher education through the academic mission, service opportunities, and institutional priorities. But what do students at the 200-plus Catholic colleges and universities in the United States know about CST? Do they understand the basics of the history and principles of CST? What bearing does CST have on how Catholic colleges and universities should organize themselves and operate? In other words, what are the implications of CST for the institutions of higher education that teach it (or arguably should)? The articles in this issue of the Journal of Catholic Higher Education speak to all those questions and more.


In this issue:

Independent Boards of Trustees at Catholic Colleges and Universities, Fifty Years Later: Findings and Reflections from Six Holy Cross Schools
Bernard G. Prusak
After recounting the historical circumstances of the establishment of independent boards at Catholic colleges and universities, this paper considers the present conditions of boards at six Holy Cross institutions. The author describes how board members are educated in an institution’s Catholic mission and identity, and how (and to what extent) they are educated in the principles of CST. The paper closes by considering the prospects for the next 50 years of partnership between religious and lay persons in the governance of Catholic colleges and universities.

Institutional Commitment to the Catholic Social Tradition: Implicit or Explicit?
Kathleen Maas Weigert, Kurt Schlichting, and Jay Brandenberger
This article explores two key research questions: How strongly is CST woven into the institutional fabric of Catholic institutions? And, is that done implicitly or explicitly? The authors offer an analysis of mission statements, curricular offerings, and established centers at 11 Catholic colleges and universities as a pilot study for examining current efforts to embed CST into the structures of Catholic institutions of higher learning.

Engaging Mission: Applying the Catholic Social Tradition to Investing and Licensing
Bill Purcell and Margarita Rose
Faced with economic and demographic challenges, Catholic colleges and universities use endowment and licensing revenues to supplement tuition income in order to serve their missions of educating students of all socio-economic classes. Licensees sometimes fail, however, to adhere to fundamental principles of CST, such as allowing workers to form labor associations to protect their human rights and dignity. This article encourages Catholic colleges and universities to regularly, collaboratively, and transparently review the alignment of their primary educational and non-core activities with CST.

Confronting the Labor Problem in Catholic Higher Education: Applying Catholic Social Teaching in an Age of Increasing Inequality
Joseph A. McCartin
Over the past four decades, the United States has witnessed the rise of an economy of growing inequality and exploitation, and this economic transformation has entangled Catholic institutions of higher education in what Pope Francis has called “an economy of exclusion and inequality.” In recent years, some institutions have taken steps to resolve this contradiction; Georgetown University makes for a noteworthy example. The author argues that if Catholic colleges and universities commit themselves to address the labor problems of the 21st century, they can provide needed leadership in the fight for a more just social order.

Engaging Faculty Around the Catholic Social Tradition: An Analysis of Practices and Outcomes for Catholic Higher Education
Erin Brigham and Kathryn Getek Soltis
In their efforts to engage faculty members in institutional mission and identity, a number of Catholic colleges and universities have given particular attention to CST. This paper examines a handful of exemplary programs on faculty engagement around CST, identifying specific outcomes facilitated by these initiatives, as well as the challenges that have been encountered.

Catholic Social Teaching in Their Own Words: Oral Histories of College Students Learning CST
Michelle Nickerson and Harry Dammer
The authors offers insight into what undergraduates at five Catholic colleges and universities learned about CST during their college experience. The results provide support for the intentional teaching of CST in Catholic institutions and suggest potential practices for teaching CST with diverse populations.

Assessing Student Learning about the Catholic Social Tradition: A Validated Rubric
Tara D. Hudson, Heather Mack, Jennifer Reed-Bouley, and Margarita Rose
This article presents the process used by a multi-university team to validate a rubric intended to strengthen curricular and co-curricular student learning about CST. Data from student surveys, oral history interviews with students, and focus groups with administrators and students enabled the research team to refine the rubric to increase its usefulness as a course and program design tool, as well as an assessment framework.



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