Student formation has long been a crucial tenet of Catholic and, in particular, American Jesuit universities' educational mission—a focus that has grown all the more relevant in the face of enormous and increasing societal pressure to focus exclusively on job-related knowledge and skill training that leads directly to gainful employment.
A conference at Boston College will explore the current, shared student formation practices throughout the University, and invite comment from other institutions. “Formative Education: Mapping the Terrain,” which takes place November 14-15 in Gasson 100, is organized by Lynch School of Education and Human Development Professor Dennis Shirley and Associate Professor Cristiano Casalini, and co-sponsored by the Lynch School and BC’s Institute for the Liberal Arts.
“This conference is a spectacular opportunity for all of us at Boston College to learn more about the past, present, and future of educating whole human beings to care for the whole world.”
Boston College leadership—including Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley, Haub Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Jack Butler, S.J., Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore, and the deans of the Lynch School, Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Connell School of Nursing, School of Social Work, and School of Theology and Ministry—will participate in panel discussions, along with faculty and administrators from across the University. Guest lecturers include James Arthur, director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the UK's University of Birmingham School of Education, and Michele Dillon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, and author of Postsecular Catholicism: Relevance and Renewal.
Formative education—the intentional, guided development of the whole human being toward a life of meaning and purpose—has always been at the center of Boston College’s strategic approach, note conference organizers. Though not unique to BC, the concept of formation has evolved considerably at the Heights, with significant resource investment underpinning a coordinated commitment to the holistic integration of the academic, residential life, campus ministry, and mission-based experiences to help students become their best selves.
“This conference is a spectacular opportunity for all of us at Boston College to learn more about the past, present, and future of educating whole human beings to care for the whole world,” said Shirley, a professor in the Teacher Education, Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction Department at the Lynch School.
“Drawing upon the Jesuit, Catholic intellectual tradition and entering into critical dialogue with those from other spiritual and secular orientations, the conference will give all of us a rich venue for ‘mapping the terrain’ of formative education as we continue to evolve in this foundational dimension of the Boston College mission.”
Learn more about formative education at Boston College at bc.edu/formative
Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | November 2019