2019 Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help provide further clarity on the Mission Priority Examen process.
As the landscape of higher education in the US continues to evolve, discussions on educational mission often surface in the 28 Jesuit colleges and Universities of the AJCU. Reflection discussions typically include such topics as:
- What specifically makes a college or university Jesuit?
- What does Jesuit sponsorship of a college or university mean today, in real terms?
- Going forward into the next decades, how can the 28 Jesuit schools in the U.S. live their Jesuit and Catholic higher education mission in more authentic and impactful ways?
In response to these discussions, and at the request of the Father-General of the Society of Jesus, the Mission Priority Examen (MPE) has been set up by the Presidents of the schools of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), and the U.S. Provincials of the Society of Jesus
The MPE is named after the daily practice of reflection that St Ignatius outlines in his Spiritual Exercises. That reflection begins with gratitude, cultivates deeper awareness of the lights and shadows of personal existence, and in the light of the those experiences, leads to more intentional and authentic action.
The MPE follows a similar process but on a collective level, involving conversations and opportunities for reflection on Jesuit educational mission with all who constitute a university community. It is undertaken for the purpose of each school finding effective ways to live out its mission with integrity and in service to the common good.
The MPE is designed to be a collaborative undertaking rooted in the Ignatian tradition of conversation and collective discernment. Elements of it superficially resemble academic accreditation, but the underlying spirit is quite different. By recommending the Examen as a framework for the self-study, the Society of Jesus has underscored that the MPE is intended to be institutionally reflective process that is sensitive to the distinctive circumstances and potential of each school.
The MPE is a process of collective reflection through which each Jesuit university
- stimulates discussion on deepening its Jesuit higher educational mission,
- affirms the mission integration already evident and growing there, and
- sets clear mission goals for the next few years.
The target of the MPE is for each university to identify 2-4 broad Jesuit Mission Priorities on which to concentrate in the next five years.
All AJCU schools have been asked to complete the process by end of AY 2020. More than half of the 28 schools have completed their self-studies. SCU will be drawing on their experience as we undertake our own process.
Each university is invited to consider the questions laid out in the AJCU document, Some Characteristics of Jesuit Colleges and Universities: A Self-evaluation Instrument, and to produce a 25-page self-study document that identifies the strengths and challenges in how it lives out its mission and 2-4 priorities (with accompanying strategies) related to its Jesuit educational mission that it wishes to concentrate on in the next five years. The self-study written by each school is preceded by all-campus reflection and extended discussions about the mission.
After the self-study report is written, a three-person peer team visits the campus. This team consists of trusted AJCU colleagues, who are nominated jointly by the President of the school and the Provincial Assistant for Higher Education. They are charged with writing a brief report on the school and its proposed mission goals. The self-study and the visitors’ report are then submitted to the relevant Jesuit provincial and then to the Jesuit Father General for his comments and approval.
The affirmation of the school's Jesuit identity by the Jesuit Superior General underscores that Jesuit higher education is a collaborative project.
Everyone in the SCU community is warmly invited to play a part in listening and sharing insights and ideas about how we currently live out our Jesuit educational mission and how we can do this with greater impact.
All of the many different communities who together make up our SCU community are invited to participate in the activities which are intended to foster reflection and discernment. Shared, inclusive listening and respectful conversation constitutes the most important part of the MEP.
Specific roles in the process at SCU are played by:
- The Steering Committee, made up of faculty, staff and students. They are appointed by the President and charged with convening groups, hosting events, gathering data, preparing the final report, and hosting the Peer Visiting Team.
- Steering committee co-chairs Professor Tom Plante and Fr. Dorian Llywelyn, S.J., who will lead the process, and ensure that the whole campus community is kept fully up to date on the Examen.
- The President - Fr Engh and his successor - who is responsible for maintaining communication about the MPE with the Jesuit Provincial and the Society of Jesus.
- The Peer Visiting Team from AJCU institutions, experienced in various sectors of US Jesuit higher education, who will visit SCU for 3 days and meet with a variety of groups from across campus. The members of this team are appointed jointly by the President and the Jesuit Provincial.
The campus Steering Committee is tasked with consulting with the SCU community about the priorities in the mission of Jesuit higher education that our University has emphasized in recent years. In the light of inclusive input and communal reflection, the Steering Committee then articulates which mission priorities the campus community as a whole is now calling for in the 25-page self-study report.
The draft timetable is:
- January 2019: Steering Committee confirmed and MPE launched
- Winter-Spring 2019: Undertake Self-Study
- May 2019: Prepare 25pp Self-Study Report
- June 2019: Submit Self-Study Report to Jesuit Provincial and Peer Visiting Team
- Early Fall 2019: Host 3-day Peer Visiting Team visit
- Late Fall 2019: Receive Peer Visiting Team report, write brief response if necessary, and submit final report to Jesuit Provincial
- May 2020: Jesuit Provincial reviews report and sends it to Jesuit Father General
- Fall 2020: Father General sends written response to SCU
Every member of the SCU community is warmly invited to
- Regular updates on the process will be posted on the Examen News and Updates webpage. The website will evolve as the Examen conversations unfold.
- Regular communications to the University community regarding upcoming meetings, will be sent via campus email.
Contact the Mission Priority Steering Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most important resources for the MPE are:
- AJCU Mission Priority Examen Website
- “Some Characteristics of Jesuit Colleges and Universities: A Self Evaluation Instrument”
- Mission Priority Examen: A Mechanism for Self-Study, Peer Review, and Assessment