Editorial: Loyola identity demands constant faculty learning
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 14:09
The Jesuit values are laid out for all to see on the sidewalk between Monroe Library and the Danna Center. The Ignatian Faculty Fellows course is designed to help these values be better incorporated into the classrooms of Loyola. This is unquestionably a good thing, both for the sake of Loyola's identity and for the sake of education as a whole.
Life is a distraction. We are, every one of us, inundated with a thousand different things which both serve to make us better and serve to keep us from the things we want to do. College exists in part to help us expand beyond our normal horizons. Education should, by its very nature, push the boundaries of our minds and experiences, allowing us to move beyond the inconsequential minutia of the everyday to a wider intellectual world. Teachers and professors, as the guides and arbiters of this education, need to keep their horizons expanded too, and the Ignatian Faculty Fellows course is an admirable way to do this.
The role Jesuit values should play at Loyola has been a subject of some debate—whether to seek them out in faculty prior to hiring, or to simply hire the best faculty possible and hope they absorb Jesuit values in the course of their time here. The Ignatian Faculty Fellows course is designed partially to remedy this—to instill Jesuit values in the classroom.
Jesuit values are of particular relevance to education and the world because the Jesuits have a long history of using education, adaptability and an open mind to achieve their goals. Take, for example, Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit who first brought a serious missionary effort to China on behalf of the Catholic church. Rather than try to foster his culture onto the Chinese, Ricci spent years mastering the nuances of Chinese culture and knowledge and became a court scholar to the emperor, preaching his mission in terms relatable to Chinese rather than European culture.
Outside of the usefulness of Jesuit values in an increasingly complex world, continuing the education of teachers and professors is a good thing. We know that a professor’s work continues outside of the classroom by delving into the depths of their respective areas of mastery. But too much specialization poses its own dangers. We are a liberal arts school, designed to educate the whole person and not simply prepare them for a single field of study. Likewise, each professor should strive to maintain a broad spectrum of knowledge of his or her own.
The Jesuit values are important to our identity as a Jesuit institution and have great import for a complex world of many overlapping countries. Our identity as a Jesuit institution is inimically tied up with our liberal arts education, which requires professors with broad bases of learning to educate students and provide them with similarly expansive bases. The Ignatian Faculty Fellows course is an excellent way to preserve Loyola’s identity and to push the mental horizons of both students and staff as far as they can go.
This editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board.