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Honors curriculum revised to emphasize Ignatian values

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014

Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2014 17:01

Naomi Yavneh, Mara Steven, Samantha Ybarzabal


Naomi Yavneh, director of the University Honors Program, advises Mara Steven, history/pre-law junior, and Samantha Ybarzabal, psychology junior, during a community engagement portfolio meeting. The new honors curriculum emphasizes Jesuit values such as service.

Loyola honors students can now distinguish themselves by more than just an alternative common curriculum.

Naomi Yavneh, director of the University Honors Program, said that the honors curriculum was revised to better express Ignatian values and meet the essential characteristics of a Jesuit honors program. These characteristics are defined by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Honors Consortium, of which Loyola is a member.

Yavneh revised Loyola’s honors curriculum, adding the first-year honors seminar, Ignatian Colloquium, this past fall, in which students gained a foundation in Ignatian values through lectures, guest speakers and group projects.

“It was very clear to me from my previous experience in honors that, in addition to revising the curriculum, we needed to build a stronger sense of community and identity in honors, and a more explicit connection in honors between academics and co-curricular activities,” Yavneh said.

This semester, the honors program offers an optional community engagement portfolio for students, a combination of service hours, speakers and reflection to allow honors students to experience several aspects of service, as well as a series of speakers on Catholicism to help students continue learning about Loyola’s foundation.

“Ignatian values help build strong leaders for community engagement, which is what the association hopes to create,” chemistry freshman Rachel Dufour said.

Mary Colleen Dulle, mass communication freshman, said the honors freshman seminar Ignatian Colloquium helps form awareness of the self as well as encourage engagement within students’ communities.

“The honors program was definitely Ignatian this past semester offering classes such as the Ignatian Colloquium, which is required for all first year honors students, and a seminar called ‘Forming the Self: In the Steps of Ignatius Loyola’,” said Dulle.

Honors Service Coordinator and history/pre-law junior Mara Steven said she feels it is important to focus on the Ignatian values, because they help individuals address all aspects of their lives, academic and otherwise.

While no one is required to do service as part of the honors program, except as part of the Ignatian Colloquium in the first semester, the program hopes to build a desire to engage in service and enrich students on personal as well as academic levels.

“Our students are academically and spiritually prepared to address the great challenges facing our community, nation and world and to work to heal the world, whatever career and lifestyle path they chose,” Yavneh said.

Raquel Derganz Baker can be reached at

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