Since founding their first school in 1548, the Jesuits have always aimed to provide an education that forms students as whole persons who will change the world for the better.
As one of the University’s three Centers of Distinction, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education promotes and enhances that distinctively Jesuit, Catholic tradition of education at Santa Clara, through a range of signature programs presented here.
Through the generosity of the Bannan family endowment, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education sponsors academic events and supports scholarship that specifically furthers the Jesuit, Catholic character of the University. Bannan Institutes are yearlong thematic programs, which span academic, public, and pastoral offerings to engage Santa Clara University and the larger community around issues of contemporary religious, cultural, and theological debate.
Community-based learning stems from Santa Clara’s Jesuit educational philosophy that what we learn is connected intimately to how we learn it. Through community-based learning, the walls of the class- room are expanded as students learn from neighbors whose reality is often very different from their own. The Ignatian Center bridges the gap between the classroom and the community, creating spaces for students to learn from their time with partners, be that at homeless shelters, multilingual/ESL educational programs, law clinics, immigrant service centers, schools, church parishes, healthcare agencies, and senior centers. Faculty who teach these courses integrate class material with the community engagement experiences of their students.
As the Strategic Plan of Santa Clara University asserts, “A 21st century education requires global understanding.” During each academic break, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education sponsors experiences in which students, faculty, staff, and alumni immerse themselves into communities that have little access to wealth, power, and privilege—locally, domestically, and abroad. Each year, the Center facilitates more than a dozen 5-, 7-, or 10-day immersion experiences. More than 160 students, faculty, and staff travel to a variety of places to engage with community members and come to better understand issues impacting those communities.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are a program of meditations, prayers, considerations, and contemplative practices that help people draw closer to God, follow Jesus, and discern where they are called in life. The Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education provides faculty, staff, students, board members, and other close partners, multiple ways of encountering the Spiritual Exercises, be that off-campus retreats, on-campus offerings, or web-based resources. Recognizing the religious and personal diversity among members of our community, the Ignatian Center also offers a range of events that correspond to the needs and commitments of individuals, such as lectures and workshops on spiritual practices of various faith traditions. These events and offerings help us celebrate the interreligious nature of our community, both locally and globally.