Loyola University Chicago

- Navigation -

Loyola University Chicago

President's Office

Faculty Convocation 2012

On the occasion of Faculty Convocation
Sunday, September 9, 2012


Remarks by Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.
President, Loyola University Chicago

At the beginning of another academic year, it is very appropriate for us to take a look at some achievements and to recognize the accomplishments of many of our faculty. Although too numerous to name each of you, there were a record numbers of articles and monographs, and near- record gain in monetary awards for research and for support of students.

Our academic reform and renewal efforts were impressive as well. The revised and integrated core curriculum is in full implementation, with new programs for adult learners being launched this fall, including several new masters degrees. We have attracted the strongest freshman class on record. In nearly every school and program, we see the kind of growth that we are hoping for—growth in quality of faculty and students, matched by improved facilities and resources. Recent efforts to link more purposefully the extra-curricular experiences of our undergraduates and graduates with their courses—through such programs as service learning opportunities, internships, learning communities in residence halls, and so forth—plus efforts to assess and measure these activities so as to be more certain of their value and worth have helped us attract talented students and faculty and to retain them in greater numbers.

I believe these changes show that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift, from a teaching-centered to a learning-centered environment in our classrooms and programs. Again, I think the generosity and flexibility of our faculty is impressive.

Over the past nine months, a widely representative task force, led by Susan Malisch, our CIO and VP for Information technology, and Father Justin Daffron, our associate provost for academic services, has worked under a two-fold charge. The task force was asked to assess Loyola's present economic model and its progress on the present five year strategic plan in light of the challenges we face. The plan stresses initiatives to improve Loyola's academic quality and position in the broader landscape of higher education. This is year three of the plan, and it's ready for review. We all know higher education has become more competitive and is increasingly under fire from a host of critics who see post-secondary education in this country as elitist, expensive, inefficient. (We talked a bit about that last year if you will recall.)

Using data collected on our own progress on key measures such as graduation rates, retention rates, student satisfaction, progress toward expanding out-of class opportunities for students, expanding opportunities to deepen their faith lives, to develop leadership skills, to record and assess their progress toward these goals in e-portfolios, the task force was able to conclude that we are making significant progress on those initiatives and strategies. And, in light of their charge, measures of our progress and our weak spots in delivering the kind of transformative education we say we want to deliver were analyzed for their cost as well as their effectiveness.

This group also looked at key external factors to assess Loyola's vulnerability to forces such as the shrinking market of traditional college students, government retrenchments from support for higher education, the stagnant economy, rising student debt, aging infrastructures—challenges faced by nearly all higher education institutions nationally. The Task Force was able to offer suggestions on how we might be better prepared to recruit and retain students in a diminishing market of 18 year olds, expand our outreach and attraction to adult students who seek to complete their education, gain more students with ability to pay our tuition, further internationalize our campuses, and finally, retain a healthy number of need-based and first-generation students—our historic mission and gift to our wider community.

In the months ahead, we will be publishing the Task Force's report, entitled "Positioning Loyola for the Future," which was recently vetted and, I should add, well-received by the Board of Trustees earlier this month. It contains some critical choices and suggested directions for us.

But, let me briefly say why I believe Loyola is well-positioned to offer a quality education and thus, to compete as an exceptional institution delivering a relevant education, one suited to preparing student to lead extraordinary lives, as we claim.

Fundamentally, all education is about preparing students for their own future, by a group of individuals who will only partially inhabit it, and who can see its parameters, only dimly. As we look at the world which our present students will inherit, inhabit and help create, we see them faced by challenges like those presented by rapidly expanding information technologies—giving them an abundance of information without coherence, analysis, and all too often, without accuracy. We can envision a furthering of environmental degradation and depletion of the planet's resources. We know that they will live in communities and participate in workplaces that are increasingly a mix of cultures, races, creeds, and values. Furthermore, these communities will experience political and social forces pushing them toward either authoritarian solutions—might makes right—on the one hand, or toward paralysis and inaction, due to social gridlocks and to a post-modern notion that all positions and ethical systems are of equal value, that is, a moral relativism.

They are, I believe, in desperate need of a convincing and cogent narrative, a view of the future and these necessary paths for managing cultural convergences and clashes; for making choices when it comes to preservation of the resources of this world; for application of faith-based values which can be defended as more likely to bring harmony and a fair share of our good to each person who inhabits the earth. They need to take from their experience at Loyola a humble conviction that there is hope for their future, and that they have skills to work for solutions, not simply professional and disciplinary knowledge. They must have, then, in their repertoire of talents, the capacity for critical thinking and analysis, a value system examined and forged in light of enduring principles, and a willingness to listen without feeling threatened by difference or disagreement.

If ever a generation needed something more that what the past had to offer by way of best ideas, it is this one. And, if ever a generation needed to absorb the wisdom of the past embodied and carried in such traditions as our own Judeo-Christian and Catholic one, it is his generation. Why do I believe we offer something unique and important? We have a liberal (freeing), well-conceived, relevant philosophy of education supporting what we do here.

The University's core curriculum has at its heart an engagement with life's big questions of meaning and purpose that, when taught well and with passion, can shape the course of a person's life and thought. Philosophy and theology are the disciplines that most directly consider these kinds of questions--the question (and problem) of God, the issue of what it means to be a human creature--and our Jesuit, Catholic tradition has been one of the great carriers/archivists of this tradition of thought. Our challenge then, is: how do we engage an already diverse student body in such an intellectual pursuit?

Our focus on experiential learning and Ignatian pedagogy in all our programs draws on the insights of Ignatius and this spiritual tradition from which our University finds its inspiration that learning is not limited to the disembodied mind but happens through the experience of the particular--places, faces, cultures, contexts, and problems--and through the movement of our hearts as well, the affective dimension of our lives. This is well recognized here as an essential ingredient in a well-rounded, engaged education.

Our job, it seems to me, is to teach each class, run each lab, supervise each placement with the conviction that superficial assessment of knowledge or handling of important questions robs the student of his or her purpose here and is therefore a waste of our time together. Professors here challenge and demand, according to data collected on their experience at Loyola.

Jesuit institutions all over the world have been urged in recent years to incorporate concern for the environment and a commitment to the world's ecological challenges at the core of their own mission, in collaboration with the Society of Jesus' mission. The Document, Healing A Broken World, developed by a task force at the urging of the Jesuit Father General, calls us to the frontiers of our world where nature and human life are seriously threatened. In this way, a commitment to ecology and the environment is an expansion and undergirding of an ongoing commitment to protecting and caring for all forms of life at the margins: the poor, the disenfranchised, the alienated and ill, the aged and disabled, new life and old life--it is an embrace of the fragility of life and a call to protect it in all its forms. Our students are leading the way here and calling us to this challenge.

So, as a University, we are making major investments in curriculum, in programming, and in buildings and infrastructure to be a leader in sustainable urban living. This commitment is not, however, for bragging rights. Rather, it is to demonstrate to students that their future will be one where individual and collective commitments will be crucial to preserving the quality of life which we have been blessed to enjoy and are compelled by our faith to share with all creatures.

In the same way, we must be engaged in a dialogue within cultures and with different religions because the Ignatian tradition is one that finds God in all things. A Jesuit education has always been (and this one must be) one in which a student gains an appreciation and a comfort with those who are different in language, race and creed, so that the student can feel "the whole world becoming our house," as one of the early Jesuit fathers expressed it. Expanding our commitment to internationalize the campuses and our programs, developing opportunities for more students and faculty to immerse themselves in another culture, and bringing more international students to campus is a commitment in the strategic plan. Chicago is the perfect place to do this.

Finally, among several interfaith initiatives, we made a commitment to develop and promote a retreat and ecology center in Woodstock. Last year, LUREC had 3,500 overnight guests. The leadership programs and retreats, which hundreds of students now make, are designed to help them grow spiritually, putting them in touch with the sources of their faith, no matter the tradition. The model used is often the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises which conclude with The Contemplation on the Love of God—a reflection on a God who loves without limit and who asks us to live our lives in a generous response to that love. The effect or goal here is to encourage the retreatant to make of his or her very life a gift. This is at the heart of what we understand an extraordinary life to look like. It is a life lived in the spirit of gratitude.

Let me conclude by saying that what we are working on as a collective project, as a community of scholar-teachers and co-learners, will in important ways allow us to say we are equipping our students for this new world. We offer a curriculum that is liberal, that stresses critical thinking in exploring values as passed on in the arts, in literature, in philosophical and theological discourse. We give them an historical perspective so they are not enslaved in fallacies of exceptionalism and provincial thinking, that problems are new and without a track record. We challenge them to explore their faith traditions, to learn languages and travel, immersing them in the thought patterns, customs and perspectives that come with contact and enculturation. We stress in our campus environment, core and curricular offerings how we might appreciate the natural world around us, collectively address its challenges and repair it where broken. In short, we want them to be grounded in an intellectual tradition and have skills for serious depth of inquiry and investigation; we want them to be comfortable in a world of diverse cultures by having the experience of at least one culture other than their own, making them global citizens.

We want them to be knowledgeable of what resources they consume and how to prepare themselves and others for some potential sacrifices in the decades ahead—we want them to be green. And, if they see these issues through the eyes of faith, we believe their world view will be enriched and their personal experience of potential for a fuller deeper life will lead them to gratitude, the fruit, I believe, of all scholarly and educational endeavors. We work from a well-thought and well-honed philosophy of education which differentiates us.

Thank you for being here. Have a great academic year, recommitted to our common project.


Address by John Pelissero
Faculty Convocation, September 9, 2012

Good afternoon, colleagues,

I want to begin by thanking you for being here on a Sunday afternoon. I know you have many other commitments on these beautiful fall weekends and I value the time that you have devoted to today's gathering at which we welcome new faculty, recognize the achievements of our faculty colleagues, and celebrate the faculty member of the year. We meet today in a Mundelein Center that has undergone many years of renovation and is now nearly complete. Its new performance spaces, theater, and event spaces are beautiful and will be formally dedicated next month. We even have a faculty and staff lounge on the first floor, set to open in days. I hope you will use the new space to have lunch and socialize with your colleagues. (And when the bar is open—after 5 pm—your first drink is on the provost.)

We gather today at a period of time in which our university is doing very well. As you look around the campuses you see the amazing transformation that has taken place in our facilities, with wonderful new and renovated learning spaces such as this building, Cuneo Hall, Corboy Law Center, and the new School of Nursing and Collaborative Learning Center in Maywood. We can see the progress underway on our newest academic and student development facilities—the new Arnold Damen Student Center to open in March, de Nobili and San Francisco residence halls, and the new environmental studies facilities rising up next to BVM Hall.

We have 90 new faculty with us this fall. This brings our FT faculty numbers at the lakeside campuses to about 675 and closing in on a lower student faculty ratio of 14:1.

We enjoy strong enrollments, which support the healthy financial condition of the University. This year we expect to enroll just under 16,000 students. We have nearly 4,500 new students here this fall, including 2,025 freshmen, 650 transfer students. We have 1250 new graduate students—the most racially and ethnically diverse group of graduate students that we have recruited in many years.

Let me tell you a few things about our new undergraduates. They are smart—the average ACT for our freshmen is 27.13 (a new achievement for us). They are racially and ethnically diverse—nearly 40% of new undergraduates are non Caucasian. For the first time, less than half (46%) of the new freshmen were raised Catholic. Nearly 40% of our students are from out of state and about 100 of the new students are International.

Our research enterprise is strong, too. At the Lakeside campuses, FY12 showed increases in the number of awards received, proposals submitted, and funding requested. Although there was a decrease in the overall amount of grants received, there were increases in the amount of awards for research overall and NSF projects specifically. Loyola faculty received 146 grant awards last year, a 12 percent increase from FY11 and higher than the 5-year average. Over half of these awards received were from the Federal government, the highest in the last five years. Loyola faculty submitted a total of 223 grant proposals in FY12, a 23 percent increase. The total value of grant proposals submitted to external agencies was $73 million, significantly higher than our recent years. Grants are but one way to measure the research activity of our faculty, if we had more time we could review the hundreds of monographs, articles, and papers published or the dozens of creative works and performances produced by our faculty. In general, the scholarly activities of our faculty are remarkable and significant.

Whereas we can bask in the light of our success and the health of our institution, we are aware of the changing landscape of higher education. Demographic shifts are taking place that result in a smaller pool of high school graduates, national concern about the affordability of a college degree, with media reports questioning the quality and outcomes of our enterprise, many reports of rising student debt and loan defaults (as in today's New York Times), and greater scrutiny of the higher education enterprise from the federal and state governments and by the regional accrediting agencies.

How ready is Loyola for the changes that are underway? Have we created a distinctiveness, a competitive position, a strategy for continued success?

Earlier this year, Fr. Garanzini and I appointed a Task Force on "Positioning Loyola for the Future," chaired by Vice President Susan Malisch and Associate Provost Fr. Justin Daffron, SJ. In the coming weeks, you will hear about the findings and recommendations of the task force. Now, half way through our 2009-2015 strategic plan, university leadership and the Trustees, believe we have the opportunity and the obligation to make some adjustments to and enhancements in the plan. I want to speak briefly today about just three areas for change and preview the opportunities for faculty engagement in our strategic direction.

Premier undergraduate experience

One the primary goals of the strategic plan is to create the premier undergraduate experience in Chicago that is characterized by the pillars of the Core Curriculum, Engaged Learning, and a commitment to the holistic development of students. We are well about the work of achieving this goal due to the commitment of our faculty and the collaboration with the Student Development professionals. And as I will share in a moment, we will enhance what we have accomplished, what is already underway, with a new emphasis on urban environmental sustainability and an education with a global perspective.

The University Core Curriculum revisions include new foundational courses in each of the knowledge areas, and a foundational ethics course delivered by philosophers and theologians. These enhancements to the Core should create a more coherent and developmental approach to learning for our undergraduates. A new requirement for engaged learning is now in place where each graduate will complete a three credit hour experience in which the Core and the Major learning intersect and are applied outside of the classroom. This takes place through capstone experiences, such as internships, field experiences, public performances, directed research, and study abroad.

For each of our undergraduate majors, I ask the faculty to develop new courses that will engage their student outside of the classroom. In regard to your research, I believe our students will benefit if more faculty invite undergraduates into their research projects and labs. We should expand the interaction with students outside of class as advisors and mentors, particularly with first year students who may not be your majors. Becoming involved with the Loyola seminars for second semester students, with Learning Communities, and with our Achieving College Excellence and Cristo Rey Scholars who need faculty mentors are ways for our faculty to offer additional value to the Loyola education. These students, as well as our students of color, are most successful with a strong faculty presence in their Loyola Experience—inside and outside of the traditional classroom.

Now allow me to speak briefly of two areas of emphasis that will help to make the Loyola educational experience distinctive and enhance the progress on our strategic direction.

Sustainability

The first concerns Sustainability. We will seek to position Loyola as the destination school in our region for Urban Environmental Sustainability, preparing students for careers in which Environmental Science and Studies are an imperative. We have accomplished much in this area already—from the establishment of the new Department of Environmental Science to our experiment station at the Retreat and Ecology Campus, from the creation of an Office of Sustainability to making our buildings and grounds more environmentally friendly, while adding to the beauty of our urban campus environments.

Next academic year we will formally launch a new Institute on Urban Environmental Sustainability, with three key components—academics, sustainability initiatives, and the field station at LUREC. BVM Hall will be remodeled as a center for the teacher-scholars who share an interdisciplinary interest in sustainable teaching, research, and service. A green house, labs, aquaponics facility, sustainable café and a green living and learning community will complete the physical dimensions of this Institute.

But we will seek faculty—those newly recruited and our experienced faculty—who are interested in connections to the Institute, and who will accept joint or affiliate appointments. I ask you to examine opportunities to connect your courses and your research to sustainability, to engage in experiential and practical learning with a growing population of students interested in a curriculum focused on sustainability. You may do this wherever your present teaching and research are situated. We will look to faculty with a passion for educating future leaders who care for creation, and those who believe that a contribution to sustainable living is a means toward social justice.

And because it is the faculty who produce our curriculum, I challenge you to develop new interdisciplinary initiatives and dual degree programs in support of sustainability. Real opportunities exist to develop academic programs that connect Environmental Science and sustainability to career preparation in Business, Education, Public Health, and Public Policy. Our resources for faculty and strategic faculty hiring will be focused on these areas.

Internationalization.

The final area of strategic emphasis that I want to touch on will enhance the internationalization of the university. We we will seek to position Loyola as a leading Midwest institution for International Education. To date, we have accomplished important goals in this area: 32% of our students now study abroad and we have robust set of international options, from our mature international centers in Italy and Asia, to new summer programs that help students develop a global understanding--even when their programs of study do not permit semester-long study away. We now have a Chicago Center that brings international students to Loyola for a semester of study. And we are committed to expanding access to study abroad for students whose financial means limit their options. This year we will pilot a program of endowment-supported grants to needy students to allow them to go to Rome, Beijing or Vietnam for a semester of study. But we will need more faculty who are interested in and prepared to lead international study. This year the Faculty Center and the Office of International Programs will collaborate on a series of workshops for faculty who want to be better prepared to teach and do research in other countries with our students. In hiring we should seek to hire more faculty with global interests and more international scholars. We hope to expand to 800 the number of international students on our campuses and faculty will be helpful as advisors/mentors to international students. And we seek your assistance to extend and develop your linkages to international organizations and businesses, inviting your students to participate, to learn, to engage with your international networks.

In coming weeks, you will learn more about how we seek to position Loyola for the future—improving educational quality, presenting a distinctive value to a Loyola education—while maintaining costs and adapting to the evolving landscape of higher education. For now, I am positive about our future and encouraged by the commitment and dedication of our faculty. Your teaching and interaction with our undergraduates contributes to overall student success, including higher retention and on-time graduations. Retention of freshmen has increased to 87%. In 2012 our 4 year graduation rate set a new high—60%, and we have improved on this key outcome relative to our 20 peer institutions. We were 17th in graduation rates and we are now 10th among our peers. I applaud you for your commitment to overall student success and the ways in which you embraced the call last year to create more active and engaging learning experiences for the students.

Over the year, more than 300 faculty members participated in teaching and learning conferences, workshops and retreats on campus. So many of you have transformed your classrooms, evolved your pedagogy, enlivened instruction with your passion for inquiry and research, while being ever attentive to the primary outcomes and changing learning styles of our students. Thank you for your continued contributions as the distinguished faculty of this university.


Loyola Faculty Member of the Year, Pamela L. Caughie, PhD
Brief Remarks

Thank you, Gordon. And thank you to Rich Bowen and his committee who selected me for this honor. And to the president and provost for making this award possible.

What a wonderful way to mark my 25th year at Loyola. And after looking at the 45 year history of this award on the Faculty Council website, I am proud to take my place among the 7 1/2 women who have received this honor before me. (I say 1/2 because one year Micael Clarke and David Schweickhart shared this award, not because my colleague Mike is any less of a woman.)

I love what I do. And I am aware every day of my life how privileged I am to be able to say that. Far too many people in this world do not like let alone love the work they do. Hours spent discussing and editing a student's or colleague's essay are, for me, not hours lost from my own work, but pleasure gained from an exchange of ideas with others whose interests and passions become my own, at least for that moment of mutuality. I feel fortunate every day that I am able to do what I love to do, and that enjoyment in my work is what I hope to pass onto my students. I see my primary role as a Loyola faculty member as modeling the passion for ideas and the generosity of spirit that enables liberal education to work.

When we acknowledge colleagues for these awards, we recite their curriculum vitae as evidence of their merit. The phrase means, in the original Latin, "the course of one's life." As academics our lives are literally in our writing, our research, our teaching. We acknowledge that every time we ask for a CV rather than a resumé, a list of jobs, skills, and accomplishments. I want to fill in that outline of the course of my life by telling you how I have spent some of my Saturdays over the past several years.

In Spring 2007 I spent many pleasurable Saturdays in the seminar room of Piper Hall with a dozen colleagues from across the College discussing our research and teaching and sharing our essays on the topic of human sexuality and gender diversity. It was a seminar organized by Patti Jung and Aana Vigen in Theology and sponsored by the Center for Catholic Intellectual Heritage. That exchange of ideas culminated in a public symposium here in Fall 2007 and in a collection of essays, God, Science, Sex, Gender: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Christian Ethics, in 2010, which features many of you.

Another series of Saturdays in different years (actually we met various days of the week but it's rhetorically more effective to keep it Saturday). I met in coffee shops throughout the city with my colleagues Vicky Anderson and Missy Bradshaw (and before Missy, my dear friend and mentor Anne Callahan) and with anywhere from 6 to 10 graduate students who were presenting conference papers for the first time that term. We workshopped drafts of their papers, helping them to hone their arguments, clarify their language, tighten their syntax for oral presentation. Then we'd meet again and the students to deliver their papers in a mock conference setting, with us playing the audience, asking questions to prepare them for the Q&A, critiquing their deliveries, even offering advice on their attire. As often as I could I would attend their conferences and take much pride in seeing the product of our labors. For the Loyola students clearly outperformed their peers from other universities.

Yet another series of Saturdays in 2008 in the library at Northwestern University with my undergraduate research assistant, Katie Schaag. Together we read the first ten years of The Listener magazine, the journal of the BBC, for a research project I was engaged in on sound technology in the early 20th century. We would marvel at some of articles that were still relevant 80 years later; we'd laugh at some of the ads and admire the dresses and hats of women in the photographs. And I would give her mini history lessons as we came across articles, photographs and reviews of authors, places, and events with which I was familiar. We presented that research together at a professional conference at Notre Dame the next year, and when I gave a lecture on that project at one of Peter Shillingsburg's day conferences here in 2010, Katie, then a PhD student in English at the University of Wisconsin, came back to introduce me. That was especially gratifying. Would that teaching were always so personal and so pleasurable.

Scholarship, teaching, service. One needs to do all three with equal joy and enthusiasm if one is to model professionalism for others. Keeping up one's research is actually so much a part of the trinity that it would be impossible not to do it. To that end, Loyola has provided me with many opportunities for integrating these equally important tasks: e.g., teaching a interdisciplinary, intercollegiate seminar at the Newberry Library with Ayana Karanja that led to a new research project for me; co-authoring articles with my friends, Anne Callahan in Modern Languages and Jennifer Parks in Philosophy; studying with many of you on fellowships at the Center for Ethics; engaging in research with undergraduate and graduate students. These are opportunities I don't believe I would have had elsewhere. All are memorable for enabling my own scholarship while allowing me to support and learn from others. I thank the many chairs, deans, provosts and presidents with whom I've served over the years for making that possible.

We have all had those gratifying moments when the effort we put into our work is recognized by another. Receiving this award is one such moment. But equally or more important is the recognition we get in our day-to-day work as faculty, when the pressure of deadlines, the hours of meetings, the mountains of papers can be overwhelming. I couldn't have more support or a better model of the spirit of generosity that makes our university thrive than my chair Joyce Wexler. Thank you, Joyce, for always listening, for encouraging me, supporting me, and acknowledging my efforts. And I want to thank you, my friends and colleagues, my comrades in arms and sometimes partners in crime, for all you do. For I know this award doesn't go to those who are the exception but to those who are the rule. What I have done in my 25 years here is simply model what a Loyola faculty member is. My life's course has been enabled by this institution that is us, encouraged by your example, supported by your friendship and hard work. and made lighter by your good humor and mutual love of martinis. So thanks to all of you for making it possible for me to stand here today and say with all sincerity, I love what I do.

Please allow me one moment more to introduce my family members here with me today. My husband and salsa partner, Doug Petcher, who for the last 25 years has been trying to teach me how to say the word "no." Our son, Evan, who was in the very first preschool class at Loyola 18 years ago and is now finishing his last semester of course work at Western Illinois University, where he is an honor student and president of his lacrosse club (his mother says proudly). My brother Bill Caughie from Pittsburgh, my big brother who is still besting me: I got faculty member of the year, Bill's company awarded him salesman of the decade. And my mom, Betty Miller. My mother was with me 25 years ago for my first Dean's Convocation and I'm so pleased she's here with me now to share this moment. We're gathered together this weekend not just for this occasion but to celebrate my mother's birthday. On Tuesday, September 11th, she will be 88 years old. I can only hope that I have my mother's mental sharpness and physical stamina when I'm 88. Oh hell, when I'm 68! I hope some of you might join me at the reception in toasting my mother's continued good health.

Loyola

820 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 ยท 312.915.6400

Notice of Non-discriminatory Policy