July Conferences Examine Catholic Education Trends

July Conferences Examine Catholic Education Trends

Catholic education, from early childhood through young adulthood, was the focus of two major conferences this month at Boston College.

On July 10-14, the University hosted the nation's first institute for senior administrators in Catholic higher education. Another conference, held June 29-July 1, highlighted successful teacher recruitment and retention programs at Catholic elementary and secondary schools.

The Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education brought together deans and presidents from Catholic colleges across the country for an exploration of the principles and traditions that shape and sustain Catholic higher education. The institute creates "a new forum for conversation for our senior leaders, especially in light of the historic transition in Catholic higher education from primarily religious to primarily lay leadership," said director Kathleen Mahoney, an assistant professor at the sponsoring Lynch School of Education.

Topics at the five-day conference included religious and lay leadership in Catholic higher education; the work of the university in light of Catholicism's communitarian vision; administration as vocation; the faculty and Catholic intellectual life; implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and the Catholic college in the service of the community.

Co-sponsored by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the institute drew clergy and lay representatives from 22 institutions of higher education. Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ, welcomed the institute's participants and hosted them for an evening during the conference.

Two weeks earlier, teachers and administrators from Catholic schools across the United States attended the "Conversations in Excellence" symposium to learn about effective recruitment efforts and hear from speakers in the field of education.

The symposium was part of the SPICE (Selected Programs for Improving Catholic Education) initiative, an ongoing effort organized by Boston College and the National Catholic Educational Association to highlight successful Catholic school programs in grades K-12.

"It is especially timely to address the recruitment and retention needs because of the projected teacher shortage during the next decade," said SPICE Co-director Joseph O'Keefe, SJ, associate dean at the Lynch School of Education.

One of the programs highlighted was the Urban Catholic Teacher Corps, a post-graduate service program developed by Boston College and the Archdiocese of Boston.

-Mark Sullivan


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