Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This past September the Board of Trustees approved seven learning goals that had been formulated by the Rockhurst Community the previous year. One of these goals concerns globalization. Here’s an excerpt of what was approved by the Board:

“Through our mission of learning, leadership, and service in the Jesuit tradition, Rockhurst University cultivates a learning and living environment that encourages cura personalis, care and development of the whole person, through reflection and discernment. Within that environment, Rockhurst creates an integrative experience for students to develop skills, competencies, and values in these seven areas:”

It then lists the seven, the third of which is:
International and Cultural Understanding: The appreciation of cultural differences and commonalities, and the ability to interact with sensitivity and alertness as citizens of the world.”

Thus yesterday afternoon the Faculty Senate unanimously approved the motion: “To endorse the addition of a Global Proficiency to the core curriculum.” I serve on the Core Implementation Committee and we’ll meet tomorrow to address the proposal (and most probably approve it since it arises out of a long process of faculty input). The Faculty as a whole will then need to vote on the issue at the general University Faculty Assembly.

While this might appear as boring stuff, I thought I’d let you see how things work here at Rockhurst. The faculty get involved! Due to our Jesuit mission we believe that we must address the contemporary world and prepare students to live and excel in the global environment with a set of values. To quote from John Donne, an English 17th century poet, “No man is an island.” This is far truer in the 21st century of the World Wide Web and instant media coverage etc. We no longer are merely citizens of our own country, but we are global citizens with a responsibility involving compassion and justice on several fronts: economic, political, moral etc. As a Catholic university we’re also grounded in the teachings of Jesus regarding one’s neighbor. Global awareness also engages us in ecological responsibility and sets the foundation for space exploration and settlement. There needs to be respect for and celebration of the richness of diversity in life (which by its very nature means maintaining differences in a healthy and life-giving manner.)

So the bottom line is Rockhurst is taking steps to equip its students with a vision and ability to live and excel in the global world, not only of the present, but of the future as well. I'm a member of the College of Arts & Sciences and here's our Mission Statement: "Grounded in the Jesuit and Catholic traditions of liberal arts education, the College of Arts and Sciences engages learners in building a foundation of values, integrated knowledge, critical analysis, and personal reflection that prepares graduates to become compassionate, just, and globally aware leaders in a diverse and changing world." This is what we're about at Rockhurst!

No comments: