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Connect to Santa Clara University's Mission

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Characteristics of Jesuit Higher Education

We bring mission alive by joining 28 Jesuit Colleges and Universities in building a distinctive Jesuit, Catholic character in higher education:

Characteristic 1: Leadership And Public Commitment To Mission
The University’s leadership effectively communicates and enlivens the Jesuit, Catholic mission of the institution. 

Characteristic 2: The Academic Life
The University’s academic life represents the Jesuit and Catholic commitment to a liberal arts and Christian humanistic education for all students. Academic programs, distinctively informed by the University’s Jesuit and Catholic character, contribute to the diversity of higher education through an education shaped by the service of faith and the promotion of justice. 

Characteristic 3: The Pursuit Of Faith, Justice & Reconciliation
The Jesuit University actively responds to the most morally urgent issues of our times in ways that reflect the Jesuit, Catholic tradition; anchor healing in truth; and recognize the fulfillment of justice as the forging of right relationships. This includes: (a) a commitment to social justice and reconciliation; (b) a commitment to anti-racism within the University and wider culture; (c) a commitment to care for our common home, the Earth; and (d) a commitment to serving the global community. 

Characteristic 4: Promoting An Ignatian Campus Culture
The University works to foster within its students, administrators, staff, faculty, alumni/ae, and Board of Trustees a virtuous life and learning characterized by personal responsibility, compassion, forgiveness, respect, a habit of reflection, and integration of body, mind, and soul. 

Characteristic 5: Service To The Church
Through educational and formational programs, the University offers resources to build up the local Church, so that people of faith can wrestle with difficult questions facing the Church and the world.

Characteristic 6: Relationship To The Society Of Jesus
The University lives out its commitment to its Jesuit identity through collaboration and vibrant partnerships with the Society of Jesus, including individual Jesuits at the University, the campus Jesuit Community, and the Province, as well as national and international Jesuit networks and organizations. 

Characteristic 7: Institutional Integrity
The University demonstrates a commitment to Jesuit values through its administrative policies,  practices, and community relationships. 

AJCU Characteristics of Jesuit Higher Education

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Key Jesuit Values

We bring mission alive in a community animated by SCU’s key Jesuit values:

Discernment & Reflection
We aspire to be a community shaped by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in which we discern, reflect and consult. We pay attention to the movements of hearts and souls as we seek to proactively engage in a transformative education. 

Solidarity & Kinship
We aspire to be a community of mutuality, compassion and belonging as we walk alongside one another and the communities we serve in striving for a more just, humane and sustainable world- for all.

Cura Personalis
We aspire to be a community concerned with the formation of the whole person- mind, body and spirit. We do so to become “people with and for others.”  We recognize the dignity and worth of each person as we work for a campus and world in which all flourish.

Finding God in All Things
We aspire to be a community rooted in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition of using reason to find meaning in all of creation. Ignatian Spirituality insists that there is no place in which God cannot be found. This allows us to draw on a view of the world that is both transcendent and grounded in reality.

A Faith that does Justice
We are a community that aspires to orient our lives to justice and the common good. We are called to look beyond ourselves and act on our responsibility to respond to injustice.


Full text available at: SCU's Key Jesuit Values

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Ignatian Formation for Mission

Through Ignatian Formation for Mission programs and resources, we invite staff, faculty and administrators into three levels of deepening experience to encounter, explore and engage SCU’s Jesuit, Catholic mission. Each experience leads to a period of reflection that leads to an action, drawing community members into a deeper level of interaction with mission. 

As part of career-long involvement, programs aspire to accompany growth in:

  • communicating mission, including details about Jesuit values and foundations
  • participating in Ignatian spiritual practices and incorporating them into work and life
  • understanding the relationship between Jesuit, Catholic mission & educational purpose
  • articulating why and how a Santa Clara, Jesuit, Catholic education and university are distinctive for our graduates and the campus community
  • integrating mission more fully into professional responsibilities

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Encounter Mission

The programs and resources below will assist you in learning about mission by participating, listening, asking questions and encountering Jesuit, Catholic foundations. Programs are a one-time commitment. 

  • New Staff Orientation
    This introduction to the SCU community is offered by HR once a quarter. It includes a one hour introduction into Ignatian Spirituality and SCU’s Jesuit, Catholic mission. Watch for a follow up email following Orientation to continue to connect to SCU’s mission. By invitation. 
  • New Faculty Orientation
    Prior to the start of the academic year, this introduction to the SCU community is offered by the Provost's Office. It includes a one hour introduction to SCU’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and Ignatian pedagogical practices. Watch for a follow up email following Orientation to continue to connect to SCU’s mission. By invitation.
  • New Faculty and Staff Dinner
    The President, Vice President for Mission and Ministry, and Rector of the Jesuit Community host a dinner during Mission Week for all new faculty and staff to welcome each into the Bronco family and introduce key Jesuit values. By invitation. 
  • Bannan Forum Lectures
    Focused on the intersection of faith, culture, and questions of justice and reconciliation, Bannan Forum programming makes accessible the humanism of the Jesuit intellectual heritage, bringing it to bear on contemporary global realities. Offered quarterly, the Forum brings the SCU community and the larger public in Silicon Valley into conversations emerging from SCU’s distinctive character and mission. Watch for email invitations to register.
  • Search for What Matters Lecture Series
    This quarterly luncheon speaker series provides a space for the discussion of core values and experiences among faculty, staff, and administrators. One faculty member, one staff member, and one Jesuit are invited each year to respond to the question: "What matters to me and why?" Watch for email invitations to register.
  • Bannan Forum Faculty Lunches
    The lunches provide faculty an opportunity to engage with colleagues outside their disciplines and from across the university community. Conversation and community are a critical aspect of our Ignatian foundation. There is no set agenda or topic, just an opportunity to enjoy the company of fellow faculty members. Watch for email invitations to register.
  • Do You Speak Ignatian?
    A guide to Jesuit education, this booklet defines terms used in conversations in Ignatian and Jesuit circles. A go-to guide for those new to Jesuit higher education.

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Explore Mission

The programs and resources listed below promote action following an experience. You will have the opportunity to reflect on mission; articulate mission; attempt to apply an aspect of mission to your work or professional life; and/or go deeper into SCU’s Jesuit, Catholic foundations. Programs usually require an extended commitment. 

  • Faculty Seminar on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
    This seminar explores the Catholic intellectual tradition and its relationship to scholarship, service, and teaching. The seminar will deepen faculty’s knowledge and engagement with Santa Clara’s Jesuit, Catholic intellectual tradition as a reference point and resource for their work. Watch for an email invitation prior to the start of the quarter to register.
  • Ignatian 101
    This four-part luncheon series introduces new staff, staff who are new to Jesuit education, or those looking for a refresh, to the distinctive dimensions of our Jesuit, Catholic mission. Participants engage with a cohort as a means of building community while activating the Ignatian tradition. Ignatian 101 welcomes a new cohort once a quarter- watch for the email registration. 
  • Ignatian 201
    A follow-up to Ignatian 101, or for staff familiar to Jesuit education and foundations, who want to apply the Ignatian tradition to their work and professional lives, a new cohort is welcomed twice each academic year. Watch for the email application and registration.
  • Leadership in Mission
    The session - part of the HR Management Excellence series - focuses on why mission matters to leaders. Current managers gain an understanding of the Ignatian leadership perspective and engage with campus leaders who share their experiences leading with SCU’s Jesuit, Catholic mission. All supervisors will be sent email registrations. 

  • Lunchtime Examen
    The Examen was created by St. Ignatius of Loyola as a technique of mindful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect the presence and invitation of the Divine. A team of faculty, staff, and students take turns leading the Examen each Thursday during the academic year over Zoom. Watch for an email with registration information. 

  • Ignatian Tapas
    Ignatian Tapas is a quarterly lunch open to all faculty, staff, and administrators who are seeking deeper formation in Jesuit values and Ignatian Spirituality. We hope people from any religious, secular, or spiritual identity feel supported and welcomed!  Email invitations will be sent in advance.

  • Mission Week
    Mission Week is a celebration of the mission of Santa Clara University. This encompasses the many ways we express our Jesuit values, our grounding in the Catholic tradition, and our commitment to building a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Look for opportunities across the week of October 23-27, 2023 to explore a wide range of offerings. 
  • Faculty Staff Retreats
    The Ignatian Center hosts three all-expenses-paid two-night retreats every year for SCU faculty and staff. The retreats are grounded in Ignatian Spirituality, but are adapted for a spiritually diverse faculty and staff. Participants must complete an application and priority is given to faculty and staff who are new to Ignatian Spirituality. Watch for emails with application information. 
  • Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius
    This program provides staff and faculty an opportunity to experience the dynamics and graces of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola through individual prayer and reflection as well as communal spiritual conversation. Applications are available in June for the following academic year. 
  • Ignatian Faculty Forum
    The Ignatian Faculty Forum (IFF) was established in 2002 to discover Ignatian Spirituality as it is lived by faculty. IFF integrates Ignatian insight with the day to day struggles of teaching, scholarship, and university service as actually experienced by faculty, specifically by providing a small community of trust in which faculty engage in reflective discernment. By invitation.

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Engage Mission

The programs and resources below will deepen your contribution to mission by: inviting you to accompany others in mission formation; integrating an aspect of mission into your professional responsibilities; deepening your discernment; and/or inviting you to act and take a leadership role in the manifestation of SCU’s mission, vision and values. Programs require an extended commitment.

  • explore Journal
    This annual publication of the Bannan Forum, explores the integration of faith, justice, and the intellectual life, in Jesuit, Catholic higher education.  Faculty and staff may contribute essays on topics related to Jesuit higher education and the Catholic intellectual tradition. By invitation.

  • Bannan Forum Grants: Mission Integration Grants and Design & Dialog Grants
    The Bannan Forum awards grants for research, teaching, and university initiatives that engage issues of contemporary significance within the Catholic intellectual tradition and extend the Jesuit, Catholic vocation of SCU as a transformative social force. The grant application process opens each fall with decisions announced in early January.

  • Experiential Learning for Social Justice Course and Arrupe Engagement
    Each quarter, the Ignatian Center works with over 20 faculty members spanning various academic disciplines to execute SCU's Experiential Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) graduation requirement. The goal is to intentionally partner an ELSJ class with a community partner so that course learning outcomes match the mission, vision and work of the community partner. For more information, please email
  • Immersion Companions
    Accompanying students on immersion is an opportunity to participate in high-impact community-based and experiential learning, central to the Jesuit educational vision, and to mentor and support students in their own growth. During immersion participants and companions engage with the pillars of simplicity, social justice, spirituality, and community through shared experience and reflection. By application.
  • Faculty Staff Immersions
    The Ignatian Center offers an annual immersion for faculty & staff to the US-Mexico border. The experience is intended to humanize the reality of migration and to recognize its complexity, while emphasizing accompaniment of migrants on their journey. There are spaces for reflection and time to plan follow-up activities and action.Watch for email with an application and full description. 
  • Ignatian Communal Discernment
    This training teaches the basics and best practices of Ignatian Communal Discernment, giving faculty and staff the experience needed to be able to incorporate this decision-making process into their own teams. Contact Tony Cortese ( for more information.
  • The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Leadership Institute
    The Jesuit Leadership Institute is a professional development program for staff, faculty and administrators who are either new to Jesuit higher education or have recently assumed new leadership responsibilities. Rooted in Ignatian leadership, pedagogy and spirituality, participants build a network of peers in leadership positions across the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities. By invitation.
  • Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP)
    The ICP is a national program designed to educate and form administrators and faculty more deeply in the Jesuit & Catholic tradition of higher education so that they can articulate, adapt, and advance the Jesuit & Catholic mission of their campuses. By invitation.
  • Mission Leadership for Trustees
    A multi-part series for trustees, Stewarding Our Jesuit and Catholic Mission, engages board members in presentations, reflections and discussions. By invitation.
  • Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Conferences and Meetings
    AJCU sponsors more than 30 Conferences and affinity groups that span the national Jesuit higher education network. The Conferences provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and best practices; support the professional development of their members; and foster cross-institutional collaboration. 

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Partners in Mission

You will find opportunities to encounter, explore and engage our Jesuit, Catholic mission throughout campus. Below please find a selection of partners and programs.

Faculty Development

Markkula Center Programs

Miller Center Programs

HR Management Excellence Series

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Inclusive Excellence

SCU Jesuit Community

Engineering with a Mission

Campus Ministry

Silicon Valley Executive Center’s “Heroic Leadership for All

Sustainable SCU: Leading Through Laudato Si’