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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

The following postings have been filtered by category Character Education. clear filter
  •  Survival Skills for Principals

    Friday, Jun. 25, 2010 3:59 PM


    Our own imaginations are not always sufficient to meeting the demands of our work. How, then, can we bring “the imagination of God” into what we do? That was the question Harold Hoyle put to participants in the Catholic School Principals’ Institute, a program of the Ethics Center and the SCU Department of Education.
    Hoyle, a clinical psychologist by training, teaches in the Education, Special Education, and Counseling Psychology programs at Santa Clara. He works frequently with teachers and administrators on issues of self-care and spiritual imagination. 
    Hoyle offered four exercises to help participants imaginatively set goals and get the support they need to accomplish them:
    I.               First, write down something you would like to accomplish. Now think about how you might revise that goal if you brought the imagination of God to the task.
    II.             Be aware of the narratives that give meaning to your life. Write down three stories about yourself and think about how the stories demonstrate your values.
    III.           In a study of teachers, the number one factor that prevented burn-out was having a supportive principal. What would you like to do to support the people who work for you?
    IV.            How can you get support for yourself?
    Hoyle’s presentation concluded the second annual Principals’ Institute. Other SCU faculty on the agenda were the Rev. Anthony Mancuso, visiting scholar at the Ethics Center and a teacher in the Catholic Educational Leadership Program; Marian Stuckey, former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of San Jose and current distinguished lecturer in the Catholic School Leadership Program; and Nicholas Santos, S.J., visiting scholar at the Ethics Center.


  •  Law and the Catholic School

    Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010 1:56 PM

    The most important legal responsibility for Catholic schools is ensuring the safety of students, according to Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN.   The second is “to be true to the teaching of the Catholic Church.” If a school puts “Catholic” in its title, Shaughnessy argued, it ought to be willing to teach the Church’s precepts.

    Shaughnessy, an expert on law and Catholic schools, was the keynote speaker at the Catholic School Principal’s Institute, a program of the Ethics Center and the SCU Department of Education. The second annual institute brought principals from many Northern California Dioceses together to discuss some of the challenges administrators face.
    Shaughnessy reviewed a number of issues about which educators and students often have misconceptions. For example, she explained that students in Catholic schools do not have the same legal rights as children in public schools. Constitutional rights can be asserted in a public school, which is seen as the agent of government, as the Constitution protects citizens from governmental deprivation of their freedoms. But Catholic schools are private, and can, for example, restrict speech that goes against the teachings of the Church.
    On the other hand, Shaughnessy counseled fairness in the treatment of students. Particularly in matters of discipline, she argued for a process that allows students the opportunity to tell their own side of the story. She recalled an incident that occurred when she was a principal and, due to false information from one of the school’s teachers, she suspended a graduating senior. When she discovered the truth, she wrote the student a letter of apology, which she described not as a matter of law but as a requirement of ethics.
    Shaughnessy cautioned against new policies some schools have instituted that forbid touching a student or being in a room alone with a student. While these represent well-intentioned efforts to avoid abuse, Shaughnessy said they are unenforceable; under such strictures, a priest could not hear a child’s confession, nor could a teacher comfort a child who had lost a parent. “Use common sense,” she advised. “The test is, if someone took a picture of this, how would it look?”
    She also urged principals to be aware that courts are holding schools liable not only for problematic behavior that teachers know about (actual knowledge) but also for behavior that they should have known about (constructive knowledge). So, for example, if a child is being repeatedly harassed on the playground, the courts may rule that playground monitors should have been aware of the problem and are therefore liable for not stopping it.
    Shaughnessy has taught at educational levels from elementary to graduate school. A J.D./Ph.D, she is a Sister of Charity of Nazareth. Her talk was the kick-off for the four-day institute, which will also feature Dough Grove, director of the graduate program in education at Vanguard University and an expert on assessment, as well as SCU faculty and staff.


  •  Catholic Principals Institute

    Monday, Jun. 7, 2010 4:55 PM

    Issues that challenge Catholic school leaders will be the focus of four half-day sessions this month, bringing principals together with leaders in the field of Catholic education.  Topics to be covered include assessment, laws and policies (especially around social media) student discipline, and building successful relationships with pastors and parish teams.  Presenters include

    Sr. Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director, Education Law Institute, Louisville, KY

    Doug Grove, director of the Graduate Program in Education and Assistant Professor of Education at Vanguard University

    Also presenting will be the Centers two 2009-2010 visiting scholars, Rev. Anthony Mancuso and Nicholas Santos, SJ.