Formative Education Series

Boston College is proud to launch a workshop series for corporations and organizations constructed around the unique mission and talents of our diverse community. In this period of crisis during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are facing multiple simultaneous challenges: gaining and sustaining market share; managing employees; enhancing productivity; motivating employees and managers; dealing with losses related to the disease and to unemployment; and developing visible and effective corporate social responsibility.  

Upcoming Workshops

Sustaining Lives of Meaning and Purpose in the Healthcare Industry

Connors Family Retreat and Conference Center (Dover, MA)

April 22-23, 2022

This new 24-hour retreat builds on Boston College’s established expertise in formative programs by bringing experts in nursing, theology, philosophy, education, psychology, and social work to lead a cohort of twenty-five healthcare workers in sustained reflection about vocation, meaning, and purpose in their lives. Taking time away from “normal” life by “retreating,” even short distances away, offers unique antidotes to the effects of burnout and new opportunities for reflection and solidarity. Participants will engage in a structured program of reflection and conversation while also having social and personal time in the beautiful setting of BC’s Connors Center in Dover, Massachusetts.

Who Should Attend

  • Healthcare professionals at all stages of their careers who are seeking to affirm or find meaning and purpose in their work; intergenerational mentoring and solidarity will be a key component of the program.
  • Healthcare and social work professionals who work in primary care, critical/acute care, palliative care, hospice, and work with victims of trauma would especially benefit from this opportunity. 
  • Boston College alumni are especially encouraged to participate, in order to reconnect with the formative education they received on campus.

Program Goals

This weekend program offers participants an opportunity to: 

  • Reflect on your own callings to healthcare
  • Consider the meanings, values and challenges of those vocations in conversation with others in the field
  • Examine various aspects of the profession that lead to stress, burnout and moral injury
  • Gain intellectual and personal resources to support your continued work in the field
  • Identify best practices for self-care and dealing with the burdens of the healthcare industry and professions 
  • Reanimate your vocational commitments..

Structure and Cost

  • Participants arrive at the Boston College’s beautiful Connors Family Retreat and Conference Center in Dover, Massachusetts by 5pm on Friday April 22, and spend the night before concluding at 5pm on Saturday April 23. 
  • The program fee includes lodging in private suites plus dinner, breakfast, lunch, and other snacks. 
  • The program features structured group reflection and conversation with experts from BC’s programs in nursing, theology, philosophy, education, and more, along with personal reflection time and informal social interaction during meals and a reception. 

Program Faculty and Expertise

Erik Owens in dark jacket, striped tie, and white dress shirt

Erik Owens

Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the International Studies Program, Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Bridging the fields of religious ethics, political philosophy, and education, Erik Owens' research explores a variety of intersections between religion and public life, with particular attention to issues of citizenship in global contexts and the challenge of fostering the common good in religiously diverse societies.

Kerry Cronin in white dress shirt and maroon jacket

Kerry Cronin

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

A Boston College philosophy professor, Kerry Cronin is also associate director of the Morrissey College's Perspectives Program, a multi-year core program that offers courses for students who want to develop integrated answers to life's enduring questions. She is also a Fellow at BC's Center for Student Formation.

David Goodman in dark jacket, striped tie, and blue dress shirt

David Goodman

Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives & External Relations and Associate Professor, Lynch School of Education & Human Development

David Goodman is passionate about developing creative spaces for bringing together fields that seek to address human identity, suffering, and potential. Whether through conference building, interdisciplinary scholarship, curriculum development, or in his courses, Goodman commits himself to impacting the very language we employ while making sense of and responding to the Other.

Dignity at Work: Purposeful Formation in the post-COVID Organization

One consequence of the COVID crisis is a growing focus on the dignity of work across the full organizational workforce. This program introduces techniques for enhancing dignity at work and shows how enhancing dignity and purpose in organizations can help individuals and organizations navigate current challenges. One consequence of the COVID crisis is an emerging awareness of the need for more meaning and more dignity across the full workforce. Informed by experts in formative education and the psychology of working at Boston College, this workshop describes new approaches to enacting purpose within  an organization’s mission, human resources, and talent management.

Who Should Attend

  • Human Resource Professionals
  • Senior Business Executives 
  • Business Unit Managers

Program Goals & Options

  • Organization or team assessment to evaluate current state.
  • Evidenced-based program content based on current research.
  • Interactive learning process to facilitate self-reflection.
  • Post-program learning projects to apply learning.

Learning Goals

In this workshop, participants will learn the following:

  • How enhancing dignity at work can help organizations respond to multiple challenges in the post COVID-19 era.
  • What dignity at work looks like in corporate settings.
  • How to apply formative education to the world of work.
  • How formative education can enrich the dignity of employees and managers.
  • New ways to develop wholeness and purpose in order to enrich the lives of employees and the productivity of an organization.
  • How to develop a tailored project that applies the ideas and techniques from this workshop to the unique needs of the organization.

Program Faculty & Expertise

Stanton Wortham

Dr. Stanton E. F. Wortham is the inaugural Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. Stanton Wortham is a linguistic anthropologist and educational ethnographer with a particular expertise in how identities develop in human interactions. Stanton has served as an Academic Director for Wharton Executive Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of 10 books and more than 100 articles and chapters that cover a range of topics including linguistic anthropology, discourse analysis, “learning identity”, and education in the new Latino diaspora.

David Blustein

Dr. David Blustein is a Professor and Duganne Faculty Fellow at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. While his research spans many areas—from poverty and oppression to culture and counseling—David Blustein’s study of the roles of work in psychological functioning has transformed counseling and vocational psychology. His expertise also includes unemployment, decent work, precarious work, relationships and work, the future of work, STEM career development for marginalized high school students, and other aspects of the radically changing world of labor. He has consulted with the International Labor Organization, United Nations Development Program, and OECD on issues pertaining to education, work, and obstacles to decent and dignified work. David has written and edited two books on the psychology of working and has recently published The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Work Experience in America.

Belle Liang

Dr. Belle Liang is a Professor and incoming Chair of the Counseling and Developmental Psychology Department the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. She is an expert in the field of mentoring. Her research focuses on the qualities of mentoring that cultivate purpose in young people. She is the faculty director of the True North Project, a curriculum and a web-based application engaging people and organizations in the systematic promotion of purpose-directed lives. She is also a licensed psychologist and advisor for a number of organizations that serve youth. Dr. Liang has published over 80 scientific journal articles and book chapters on mentoring and relational health, and a co-authored book on community development. She is currently working on a book (to be published by St. Martin’s Press) on Purpose Mindset: The New Science of Navigating School, Career, & Life.

Bryan Dik

Dr. Bryan Dik is a Professor at Colorado State University. He is the co-founder and Chief Science Officer of jobZology, a software and services company that helps students, job-seekers, and organizations pursue purposeful work. Bryan’s research examines meaning and purpose in the workplace, calling and vocation in career development, and the intersection of faith and work. He has consulted with more than a dozen organizations, has published four books (including Redeeming Work and Make Your Job a Calling), and hosts the Purposeful Work Podcast.

Patricia Lowe

Patricia Lowe, Esq., is the Executive Director of the Office for Institutional Diversity at Boston College. In her role she provides leadership in addressing cultural climate concerns within the Boston College community.  Patricia has oversight of the University’s inclusion and diversity efforts, overseeing policies and procedures to ensure Boston College complies with relevant federal, state and local regulations and guidelines,—including discrimination and harassment: sexual and gender-based harassment and violence, equal opportunity and affirmative action (‘EEO/AA’) Title IX and ADA compliance.  She leads an office that helps foster a supportive working and learning environment for all members of the Boston College community.   


2-3 Hour Customizable Modules
Online, In-person, or Hybrid

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Dignity at Work

At Boston College, we draw on the 500-year-old Jesuit approach to education that reinforces formative education—the guided development of the whole person toward a life of meaning and purpose. We’re working to help adults develop not just as intellectual and civic people, but also as emotional, social, ethical, and spiritual beings.
Stanton E. F. Wortham, Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean, Lynch School of Education and Human Development


Boston College is committed to formative education. As a Jesuit, Catholic university and a leader in the liberal arts, we view formative education as being central to our mission.

Formation in Action

Boston College is committed to formative education. As a Jesuit, Catholic university and a leader in the liberal arts, we view formative education as being central to our mission.

Formation in Action