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Lynch School of Education

Proposal for MA in Higher Education with a concentration in Catholic University Leadership

motion passed

The following motion was recommended to the Dean on May 22, 2007 by the full EPC and formally approved by the Dean on June 25, 2007. Please keep this notice with your records about LSOE policies, programs, and procedures.

It is moved that a concentration in Catholic University Leadership be added as an option within the existing MA in Higher Education Administration, effective September 2007.

Supporting Documentation:

MA in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Catholic University Leadership

Rationale and Warrants:

In recent years, both the Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry (IREPM) and the Lynch School of Education (LSOE) have received an increasing number of inquiries from current and prospective students about the availability of courses that would provide both the knowledge base and a distinct set of professional competencies in preparation for work as an administrator in Catholic higher education.  Specifically, students seek to complement their program of study for a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration at LSOE with a deeper understanding of Catholic mission, culture, identity, theology and ministry.

Indeed, the higher education faculty and LSOE administrators have already recognized and responded to the opportunity and importance of educating students for careers in Catholic higher education by hiring a faculty member with the specific scholarship and relevant professional experience. Since the departure of that particular faculty member from Boston College, courses that would contribute to such a focus have remained “on the books” but have not been offered for the last five years.

On the “supply-side”: six US Catholic universities offer a graduate degree in Student Affairs Administration, Student Personnel Administration or Higher Education, but not one of these programs includes a specialization or an option for a specialization in Catholic or faith-based higher education administration. On the “demand-side”: there is wide agreement regarding the growing difficulty of finding candidates for administrative positions (entry-level through senior-level) who have a workable knowledge of or formative professional competencies in the distinct cultural, organizational, intellectual and spiritual milieu of Catholic college and universities.  This sentiment has come from the annual meetings of the presidents of Catholic colleges and universities in the US sponsored by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and the annual summer institute for Student Affairs Administrators sponsored by the ACCU and the Association of Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities. Boston College is now in a unique position to move forward, again, with such an initiative. A degree in Higher Education with a concentration in Catholic University

Leadership is a sound proposal, given the considerable resources at LSOE, IREPM, and the recently established Center for Catholic Education (CCE).

A concentration in Catholic University Leadership within the existing MA in Higher Education Administration. 


  • to foster an understanding of higher education administration within Catholic colleges and universities as a vocation in service to the needs of a pluralistic society and for the common good
  • to engender knowledge of institutional culture, identity, and mission in Catholic colleges and universities in the context of decision-making, policy development, research, institutional advancement, intellectual culture and student life
  • to enable graduates to bring the resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition to contribute competently and ethically to the mission of Catholic higher education by serving in a broad range of institutional leadership roles and responsibilities

Needs:  This concentration can be developed within existing resources at the LSOE, IREPM, and CCE. However, one or two of the following courses would need to be offered at least once per year: ED 854 Catholic Higher Education and ED 868 Religion and Higher Education, one of which would be an integrative course required for the new concentration. Currently available BC administrators and faculty to teach and/or team-teach these courses include Dean Joseph O’Keefe, SJ and Michael James, PhD, Executive Director for the CCE.


Level I would remain the same as for other students in the MA in Higher Education Administration program.

Level II: Choose either ED854 Catholic Higher Education or ED868 Religion and Higher Education (plus two additional Higher Education Level II Foundation Courses)

Level III and comprehensives would remain the same as for other students in the program.

Level IV—Practicum and Elective Courses

  • Practicum
    • ED 975 Internship in Higher Education (3 credits)
    • TH 530 Contextual Education  (2 credits)
    • Single field placement in a Catholic higher education setting

  • Elective Courses
    • Ecclesiology (2 credits summer or 3 credits academic year): Choose one from among the following:
      • TH 646 The Church and Vatican II
      • TH 541 Understanding Church through the Ages
      • TH 480 Ecclesiology
      • TH 661 The Church in Scripture and Creed
      • TH 884 Vatican II and the Roots of Modern Catholicism
    • Ethics (2 credits summer or 3 credits academic year): Choose one from among the following:
      • TH 496 The Moral Dimension of the Christian Life
      • TH 762 Christian Ethics: Major Figures
      • TH 977 20th Century Catholic Moral Theology
      • TH 792 Christian Ethics: Twentieth Century Figures
      • TH 893 Contemporary Theories of Justice
      • TH 629 Fundamental Moral Theology
      • TH 533 Modern Catholic Social Teaching
    • Spirituality or Young Adult and Adult Faith Formation and Religious Development (2 credits summer or 3 credits academic year): Choose one from among the following:
      • TH 790   Historical Resources/Historical Spiritual Classics
      • TH 791  Twentieth Century Classics in Spirituality
      • TH 604  The Practice of Ministry with Youth and Young Adults
      • TH 994  Education and Ministry for Justice (and Peace)
      • TH 700  Adult Learners for a Postmodern Church
      • TH 593/ED 673 Fostering Faith Across the Life Cycle
      • TH 835 Psychology of Religious Development

An additional course option would be included within Level IV: TH 717/ED 635 Education of Christians

TH 717 Education of Christians: Past, Present and Future (Spring: 3) Cross Listed with ED 635 Offered Periodically IREPM Course The history of the church's educational ministry serves to enlighten its present pastoral praxis. Students in this course read original and classical documents as a treasury of wisdom for religious education and pastoral ministry. The course will closely parallel the history of theology and the history of Western education.

Course credits must total at least 30 credits.