Solidarity, Reflection, and Imagination
Exploring Student Formation and Community Engagement from a Faith-Based Anchor Institution Perspective
Keywords:community-based learning, Jesuit higher education, faith-based institutions, vocation, place-based community engagement
The Catholic, Jesuit inspired mission of Saint Louis University (SLU) – “the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity” – firmly places serving humanity in line with the institution’s goal for academic excellence. Importantly, service in the tradition of Catholic, Jesuit education is embedded in a broader vocational goal of forming people to build a just and equitable society. It remains to be seen in what manner and to what degree SLU students reflect the qualities such experiences are intended to aid and develop. What follows is an attempt to identify contemporary expressions of Ignatian education, a well-educated solidarity, depth of thought, and depth of imagination, within the students who took part in community engagement activities supported by SLU’s Center for Service and Community Engagement. The present study drew upon assessment data from three distinct undergraduate experiences. Each of the three attributes were evident, either directly or in a latent form appropriate to the nature of the activity and the level of the student participants. While it is not possible to quantify a direct measure, the results indicate that the programs are generally succeeding in promoting an Ignatian inspired formation for its students.
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