Loyola's Plan: 2009 - 2015
Our Commitment to Excellence
As Chicago’s Catholic and Jesuit university, Loyola enjoys a two-fold heritage: flowing from our Catholic heritage, Loyola strives to infuse all of its undertakings— its teaching, research, and service—with a conviction regarding the sacramental character of all reality, the dignity of every human person, the mutually informing dynamic between faith and reason, and the responsibility to care for those who are suffering most in our world. (This Catholic and Jesuit character is described in the attached paper titled “Transformative Education in the Jesuit Tradition.”)
Our Jesuit heritage, which flows from and is a specification of the Catholic heritage, embraces the fundamental pedagogical proposition that faith, knowledge, and the promotion of justice are intrinsically related. That is, they are not three separate and independent aspects of education, accidentally or arbitrarily juxtaposed alongside each other, but rather they form a triad in which each is dynamically related to the others, and any one is incomplete without the other two. Therefore, the educational process at Loyola strives to prepare young men and women with those habits of mind and heart that will enable them to meet the great challenges of their day and assist them in their quest for truth, for faith, and in their struggle to create a more just society for and with their fellow citizens.
We affirm that Loyola’s future depends on its relevance as a Jesuit and Catholic research institution of higher learning. It takes seriously its commitment to providing the kind of education for all students, especially our undergraduates, that transforms them in order that they may become agents who can in turn transform society. Loyola’s historic mission has been and continues to be to serve those aspiring to contribute to the overall good of society. This includes new immigrants, minorities, first-generation college students, and young men and women of all faiths who seek to become exceptional, conscientious, and ethically aware leaders. In addition, over its 140 years, Loyola has participated in building the great metropolis of Chicago and has done so through rigorous educational programs that serve the growing needs of a great city and region.
THE CHALLENGES FACING LOYOLA TODAY are similar to those of many major, private, and urban universities. The rising cost of tuition has limited access for many who historically sought a Jesuit education. The institutional reliance on tuition for meeting all expenses has limited the scope of what can be accomplished without turning to alumni and friends for additional support. Heavy demands for research productivity have added to the workload of faculty and require the assistance of additional staff for such things as advising and support of the total formation of the student. Facilities—residences, libraries, classrooms, and labs—that support the kind of learning and research environment appropriate for a first-class education are in constant need of upgrade and development. This plan addresses this aspect of Loyola’s commitment to excellence as well.
AS G.K. CHESTERTON ONCE SAID: “Every education teaches a philosophy of life, if not explicitly, then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. If the different parts of that education do not cohere or connect with each other; if, in the end, it does not all combine to convey a coherent view of life; if it does not empower and transform, then, it is not education at all.” A transformative education is one in which the student is incrementally invited to engage life, to reflect upon it, and then to be of service to our world. This guiding educational philosophy is articulated in the paper “Transformative Education in the Jesuit Tradition.”
Transformative education is not simply a content; it is also a method designed to foster continual growth in the hearts, minds, and will of the students. Ignatian pedagogy aims at assisting learners to undergo a series of internal transformations in how they go about understanding themselves vis-à-vis their own inclinations, passions, biases, and spontaneous reactions. Students who have completed their degree with us will not only have the skills appropriate to their training but will also be persons of moral integrity, grounded in faith, and motivated to give back to society what they have generously received. They will be ready to face the enormous challenges of our times with faith, hope, and love.
THIS PLAN BUILDS ON AND EXPANDS OUR ASPIRATIONS as a Jesuit and Catholic university. It requires us to think boldly about the future and to prepare the University for playing an even larger and more vigorous role in the shaping of young men and women who will be prepared to address the needs of today’s city and world. It begins with three overarching goals and then attempts to define the primary strategies that will enable us to achieve these goals. Specific tactics explain how the strategy will be accomplished.
Three major goals, six important strategies, and dozens of tactics and steps are outlined below. They are intended to guide our efforts over the next five to 10 years as we work to create a Catholic and Jesuit university worthy of the great traditions that guide and sustain us.