Mission and Ministry defers Institutional Examen by a year

Paulina Picciano

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Loyola has started to evaluate how it lives up to its mission and identity as a Jesuit university, but the process for doing so has been delayed by a year.

In an email sent out to the student body on Jan. 12, the Rev. Ted Dziak, S. J., announced that Loyola will be reflecting on how it lives out its Jesuit mission and identity in an “Institutional Examen.” According to the email, the reflection comes from a request by Jesuit Father General Arturo Sosa, S. J., to all Jesuit universities.

However, due to upcoming structural changes in leadership, the university has decided to defer the Institutional Examen for a year.

Part of the Examen includes a visit from a team of three faculty or staff from other Jesuit universities in order to follow up on a report that the school would have had to submit by May 2018. However, considering how the university will have a new president starting in fall 2018 as well as a new director of University Ministry and possibly a new vice president of Mission and Ministry, the new leaders would not have the opportunity to take part in the reflection without the deferral.

“Because of the change in key leadership mission positions, we decided it would be better to wait until the fall of 2019 to have the Examen team visit us, with the report turned in to them by the end of the spring 2019 semester,” Dziak said. “Then the new president will be able to add her/his imprint upon the future direction and goals, in terms of its Jesuit identity.”

However, before the decision to defer was made, Mission and Ministry had already started the reflection process with listening sessions incorporating feedback from the faculty, staff and students. The sessions focused on seven areas of mission integration outlined in the Examen’s guiding document “Some Characteristics of Jesuit Colleges and Universities,” which included issues such as leadership’s commitment to the mission, academic life, service to the local church and integrity.

Laura Alexander, assistant director of University Ministry, said these sessions were a great way to foster connection and a sense of shared purpose as well as to hear the community’s perspectives on mission-related issues.

“We will continue gathering feedback from our community throughout this semester and early next semester and will begin working with the AJCU on the next steps of the process beginning in fall 2018,” Alexander said.

Alexander also thinks the deferral is a positive decision, not only because it allows Mission and Ministry more time to incorporate feedback from the community before they start writing the report, but also because it will allow Mission and Ministry to involve the new university president in the process.

“This is important, as the Institutional Examen will identify two or three areas of focus to address within three to five years, and the new president will play a big role in implementing these identified areas,” she said.

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