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State of the University 2007
Paul Locatelli, S.J.
February 13, 2007
Community: Re-imagining Jesuit Education at Santa Clara
I want to welcome all of you - students, faculty, and staff - and thank you for your presence this afternoon. Each year at this time, it is my privilege to share some reflections on our University. Last year, you may recall that I used the idea of personal “calling” to outline some remarkable changes that made Santa Clara a much better Catholic, Jesuit university. I hope those reflections helped some of you consider how your lives were touched by moments of grace that enriched your studies and your work.
This year I want to focus on community and re-imagining Jesuit education. When we say that we are a Catholic, Jesuit university, it means something very distinctive and special for you and about a Santa Clara education.
First a comment on my new appointment. In December, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach wrote to Jesuits around the world:
After getting beyond the “why me” question of an appointment to a position that never existed before, I have become excited about the opportunities and possibilities for contributing to the improvement of Jesuit higher education worldwide in general and a Santa Clara education in particular.
It offers great potential because there is no other comparable network of colleges and universities in the world. Jesuit higher educational institutions number around 200 in roughly 50 countries. We will be founding a new and first Jesuit university in Africa. We are developing a virtual Jesuit university that could, in time, be worldwide.
It’s exciting because it provides opportunities to work and learn with faculty and students from around the world who work on global issues both within and beyond their institutions.
Jesuit Education and Community
In large measure, my appointment as Secretary of Jesuit Higher Education is due to how well Santa Clara lives its distinctive educational mission. And we are poised to do even better. Father Kolvenbach articulated the foundation for Jesuit education in this Mission Church on October 6, 2000. Here, in part, is that vision.
Fr. Kolvenbach draws on the original Ignatian inspiration of educating the whole person, reflects on the global reality of this time in history, and asks us to re-imagine and even reinvent Jesuit education. Education serves to shape and improve the contemporary world through restorative justice.
In this re-imagining, every person is sacred and social. The sacredness of each person takes center stage. It insists that the dignity of every person must be respected and the good common to all must be promoted - and, conversely, that we must eschew any thought or action that devalues, manipulates, or destroys human life or undermines the human rights and well-being of any person.
Justice, in Jesuit education, connects the sacred with the social and therefore must include understanding that we are responsible for each other. Living our faith genuinely means to be reconciled with God, and to be reconciled with God we must be reconciled with one another.
The Jesuit focus on the education of the whole person requires a pedagogy of critical inquiry and thinking, imagination, and reflection on experience in which we learn with and from not only each other but also others in the society, especially those living in “gritty reality” - such as the poor, hungry and thirsty, and those suffering from the effects of the Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, AIDS, and diseases of all kinds. This integrated, engaged learning inspires moral action to make the world better for all people, especially those with the greatest need.
Community at Santa Clara
This pedagogy of engagement is one important way in which teaching, learning, and research improve. We also improve in other ways, reflected in a confluence of events, accomplishments, and milestones - some of which I want to share with you today.
This is a significant moment in time for Santa Clara, and there is much that we have to be proud of. Yet recent events remind us that we are not perfect and we need to be vigilant to create and maintain an environment that will foster a community of inclusive excellence. I will comment on both our accomplishments and our challenges.
Core: I start with the proposed revision of the Core Curriculum. Yesterday the Core Revision committee sent out the penultimate draft of the proposed Core curriculum. The committee has done a remarkable job of articulating a creative and educationally sound Core. Animated by the Jesuit ideal of educating whole persons - intelligent, knowledgeable, and ethical leaders and citizens - the mission, goals, and structure of the proposed Core are coherent, comprehensive, and engaging to read and think about.
I wish to acknowledge and thank the Core Curriculum Revision Committee for their hard work, countless hours and meetings, and keeping the campus community and external constituency groups well informed.
WASC: The quality and distinctiveness in a Santa Clara education will also guide the multi-year process for accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges - WASC. We have selected three intertwined themes for our self study:
First, educating for Competence, Conscience, and Compassion highlights who our students become and how they live in solidarity, namely, to realize that we are responsible for the well-being of each other and of the world as members of one moral, global community.
Second, strengthening the Santa Clara Teaching Scholar Model captures the ideal of being scholars and mentors for our students; we realize that most often learning happens in collaboration, not in isolation.
And third, promoting a Community of Inclusive Excellence captures that we live and learn in a pluralistic society; in various ways inclusive excellence connects the students learning with teaching scholars and learning in a diverse community.
These three, integrated themes were developed with input from campus constituents including students, deans, faculty, trustees, regents, and staff.
I believe that the conversations and work on the revised Core, the WASC process, and other specialized accreditation processes will position Santa Clara to be recognized as a national model for the best undergraduate and graduate education any person can receive.
I want now to speak about some of the challenges of being a community of inclusive excellence.
Education at Santa Clara should awaken in each of us the understanding that every person is sacred and social. But sometimes mistakes are made; that is part of being human. A few photos of the recent theme party were placed on the Internet that, unfortunately, stereotyped people of Latino/a descent. I believe the students who organized and participated in the party, including those in photos, did not intend to stereotype or hurt or demean any person or group. But it happened, not once but at other theme parties earlier in the year too.
One student of Asian descent who attended the party wrote: “I dressed up as a Mexican because I respect him and his race and I was there for a celebration.” “I am certainly very proud of my Mexican friend...What you've said bothered me a little bit.”
We are all bothered by it. While this party was to celebrate a birthday, be with friends, and have fun, all of us should learn that stereotyping is unacceptable and hurts. Rather than debate the freedom of speech question or say that some are being overly sensitive, let us turn this into a teaching and learning moment. Let us ask why people are angry and hurt. Then, working together and learning from each other, we can:
Then will we live better what we declare in our Statement of Purpose. Namely, we are dedicated to being “a community enriched by men and women of diverse backgrounds, respectful of differences and enlivened by open dialogue, caring and just toward others, and committed to broad participation in achieving the common good.” In our strategic plan, Community and Diversity are among our six fundamental values.
Personal contact and conversation - across all segments of the University as well as within groups we are part of - best enrich learning and overcome stereotyping and its deleterious effects on people.
Conversation and learning together, inside the classroom and in social settings, in teaching and scholarship, overcome misunderstanding about another person's culture or religious heritage, nation of birth, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and other gifts that one brings to the community.
When we understand and appreciate people, cultures, religions, and different ways of life, we dispel prejudice and overcome ignorance - and truly become persons of competence, conscience and compassion.
Our Provost Lucia Gilbert is working with a group of faculty, students, and staff to develop a comprehensive approach to multicultural education and inclusive excellence. Numerous ideas have been proposed by members of our campus community. They will be considered and evaluated by their potential to improve the quality of our campus climate for students, faculty, and staff of color. You will be hearing more about these events during this academic year.
There are two other opportunities and challenges to the well-being of the Santa Clara community. The Internet and technology are marvelous creations that benefit people and our global society, but they also can cause unanticipated problems. The Internet is no substitute for or path to genuine friendship and community. Putting things up on MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube does more than communicate ideas or share remembrances of the celebration and fun. The Internet sometimes reflects an image of us that is not who we are or how we want to be or like to be seen. It also permits private and sometimes very personal information to be more broadly shared than intended. Among many, here are two examples to think about: One is that some prospective employers may look at your page and may decide not to interview you for a job because of what’s there. I commented on this issue at my welcome address last September and quoted a couple of sources on the issue.
Another is that some students have put up notices on the Internet of parties which have attracted “non-affiliates,” many of whom have created safety concerns for our community. This issue is connected, to some degree, with the use of alcohol. Further, a factor that undermines our community well-being is excessive use of alcohol. Excessive drinking damages one’s health and often leads to sexual abuse and fights. Specifically, this fall there has been a marked increase in emergency transports to the hospital due to alcohol abuse, a striking increase in fist fights, and conflicts over sexual encounters. In virtually every case, some one had been drinking too much. Some have urged Santa Clara to become a dry campus. That is not the answer. Rather, the answer is learning how to drink responsibly and learning how to be together socially: to exchange ideas, to share stories, to have fun without the need of either the Internet or alcohol.
Your safety and well-being are a concern for all of us, and among other things, the current policies for The Bronco are being reviewed.
My final comment about building a diverse community of inclusive excellence comes from Martin Luther King. He got it right when he said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” The sub-text for his incredible speech is love and compassion.
These virtues are key for taking responsibility for each other and for each other's well-being. Love is seeing the image of God in each person, knowing that God loves you regardless of your religious preference, and recognizing that our love of each other reflects our love for God.
Love is our calling, and love is the gift we all share. Children are born to love and, hence, not born with prejudices. Rather, as we grow up, we acquire them. We “learn” to judge others by some external characteristic or some action rather than by who they are and what they believe and how they live their lives.
Even before we know someone, we may judge that person prematurely. One learns from great people like Martin Luther King that love is the most important virtue that God has given to us. In love, we celebrate and value each other and all people - people of different races, colors of skin, languages spoken, national origin, sexual orientation, and the list could go.
Cause for Celebration and Recognition
Let me now return to the many things we have to celebrate which make us a stronger university.
Campaign for Santa Clara: Providing the resources for advancing our educational mission and goals has been the focus of our campaign and will be for our future fundraising efforts.
Just in terms of numbers, I'm happy to report that we have exceeded our overall goal of $350 million. By December 31, 2006, the end date of the campaign, we had raised over $404 million dollars in gifts and pledges, most with specific designations such as the construction of the new library and learning commons.
I wish also to give special thanks to those of you who made personal gifts of your own. And, I want to thank the Development staff and all the members of the University community who worked on raising these funds.
The good news is that we have achieved and exceeded the goal of $100 million for scholarship support by roughly $1 million, which includes 158 endowed scholarships and 60 expendable scholarships. Since close to 70 percent of you students need financial aid, many of our friends have made it possible for the majority of you to receive a Santa Clara education.
The Campaign has also helped to elevate the programs of our three Centers of Distinction - the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society.
We have added 12 new endowed professorships as well as six fellowships. These professorships have enabled us both to attract outstanding new faculty to Santa Clara and to recognize current faculty for their continuing commitment to excellence. I want to recognize three people who have recently been appointed to an endowed professorship.
First, Santa Clara was able to appoint Fr. Michael J. Buckley, President of the Catholic Theological Society of America and Chair of the Jesuit International Theological Commission, to the Department of Religious Studies. He is a scholar of international renown. Father Buckley comes to us from Boston College.
The second new chair appointment I would like to announce is Allen Hammond, Professor of Law. Al is a nationally known scholar in the areas of media law and telecommunications law and policy, and is the author of numerous books and journal articles on topics of mass communications, telecommunications law and cyberspace legal issues. He is the current President of the Alliance for Public Technology.
Notwithstanding his ambitious research and scholarship agenda, his public service, and his considerable collaborative work with the Center for Science, Technology and Society, Professor Hammond is deeply involved in student learning in the law school and has developed some important models to enhance law student learning and the assessment of how effectively students are educated in law schools.
The third is Jim Koch, who was recently appointed to the Jan and Bill Terry Chair. Jim has contributed greatly as Dean of the Business School, in the founding of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society and the Global Social Benefit Incubator. This latter program aims to bring individuals together in the hope that, as Jim describes it, “the resources of our region will advance their promising technological innovations in service to humanity...Much of their work is happening in emerging markets and in settings ignored by conventional approaches to technological design and market development.” His work clearly connects to the Jesuit vision, and we are grateful for Jim’s contributions.
The completion of the Campaign does not mean the end of fund raising. We need to complete fund raising for the Jesuit residence, business school, and the new learning commons/technology center and library. And discussions are already underway on our goals for future fund raising. They will include continued fund raising for student scholarships, endowed professorships, faculty development connected to the Core curriculum and the use of technology in the classroom, and funding support for the work of the Centers and other programmatic initiatives. We will also be raising funds for the construction of a new building to provide additional space for student programs and events.
I want now to recognize several more people and groups of people.
Dick Davey - Dick recently announced that this would be his last season as head coach of men’s basketball - and what a season it is turning out to be! Dick Davey, along with his mentor Carroll Williams, has been synonymous with Santa Clara University basketball for the past 30 years. Dick has devoted his time, energy and vast talents to foster an exceptional basketball program and legacy. As a head coach at Santa Clara, Dick has posted a 245-187 record, including an outstanding 139-62 record at home during that time. He has guided the Broncos to three NCAA Tournament appearances and three 20-win seasons. During his tenure, 18 players earned All-West Coast Conference honors and he coached two WCC Players of the Year (Steve Nash and Marlon Garnett). This season, he moved into second place all-time in career WCC wins behind only former Santa Clara head coach Carroll Williams.
I admire Dick and want to thank him for his many years of leading men’s basketball with integrity and acumen. He is a great mentor in the Jesuit philosophy of educating the whole person. We are grateful that Dick will remain a part of the Santa Clara University family.
I wish also to provide you with five examples of the extraordinary things that students and faculty have done or are doing.
There are many remarkable things happening on campus, far too many to recite today. Rather, they will be put on the website along with these remarks.
Let me conclude by saying Father Kolvenbach saw something distinctive about Santa Clara when he appointed me Secretary of Higher Education for the Society of Jesus: namely, Santa Clara’s progress in advancing his vision for Jesuit education.
You are probably wondering how it is possible for me to do this new job and continue as president. First, I have great confidence in you, - the faculty, students and staff - to do what you do best: be a community of scholars who have a passion for learning.
Second, I have great confidence in the president’s staff - the top administration of Santa Clara - and the deans. They are among the best at what they do and do not need me to be always on campus.
Third, technology makes it possible to be in touch as needed, and I will be away for only a couple of weeks at any one time.
Fourth, I have already relinquished a number of outside responsibilities, including board service, talks, and chairing accrediting visits. In fact, my life will be more focused and strategic than it has been in the past and I foresee that one position will contribute to and complement the other.
Finally, I wish to reiterate that fashioning more humane and just communities is the key aim of Jesuit education. May we all continue to learn and to socialize and to serve our God and each other with respect and with love. Consequently, let us together work to enrich our community and learn to make Santa Clara and the world in which we live more humane and just.