Georgetown Jesuits’ Plan for a “Distinctive Education”
But, that’s not stopping some Jesuits who recently released (…hold on, Vox is taking a deep breath…) A Distinctive Education: Reflections by Georgetown Jesuits on Education at Georgetown. If the title somehow didn’t clue you in, the document is the Jesuit Community’s best suggestions as to how reshape the University’s curriculum.
The document, which was collaboratively written by 27 members of the Jesuit Community, outlines aspects that the community feels are necessary to strengthen a Georgetown education.
In an interview with Vox, Christopher Steck, S.J., a member of the Provost’s Ad Hoc Working Group on the Curriculum, said that despite changes with departments and majors, a “systematic redoing of the curriculum [for the University as a whole] hasn’t happened in a long, long time.”
But, don’t expect to find any arguments for or against Map of the Modern World in A Distinctive Education, because the Jesuit Community’s recommendations don’t dive into the nitty-gritty of University academics.
Inspired by Spiritual Exercises, a text by Ignatius Loyola, A Distinctive Education hones in on three themes that the Jesuits feel are important for the University to address when reforming the academic curriculum.
First, the Jesuits advocate for “a world richly understood and religiously explored.” (Vox‘s translation: Georgetown’s Catholic identity isn’t prominent enough.)
“This doesn’t mean [classes] will be like catechism … [we’re] not trying to tell you what to believe,” he noted.
Steck mentioned that Catholic influence isn’t just in theological areas, but is also found in philosophy, art, literature, architecture, as well as a variety of other disciplines, meaning that it is possible to further incorporate Catholic tradition within the University.
“[Georgetown’s Catholic identity should be] fostered in tandem with a broad and respectful pluralism,” according to the A Distinctive Education.
After the jump, read about the Jesuits’ other suggestions, as well as A Distinctive Education in its entirety.
The second point in the Jesuits’ plan is to further the process of “formation” and cura personalis. (Vox‘s translation: It’s the University’s responsibility to shape students into their future selves.)
“We want students to get an education plus more than just a degree,” Steck said. “I’d like to see [students] do something with what you are learning.”
Steck’s sentiments tie in closely with the Jesuits’ third concern—a “call to service.” (Vox‘s translation: Students should be more committed to helping others.)
“[Students should] develop hearts and minds ready to contribute fruitfully to the work of social justice and the common good,” suggests the document.
In Steck’s opinion, it is vital that Georgetown “connect[s] the curricular with personal reflection and engagement.” Fittingly, A Distincitive Education was partially borne out of his visits with students over the past school year.
“A Distinctive Education” offers no specific changes that the University should make as it looks at reforming the curriculum, but Steck claims that is not its goal.
“This is not a blueprint, it’s just suggestions,” Steck said. “Concrete goals [for curriculum reform] must be done by the whole campus.”