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The Catholic Higher Education Program

Under the leadership of Father John Haughey, S.J., Woodstock’s Catholic Higher Education project (CHE) is working with faculty and administrators at Catholic universities around the country to foster a renewed understanding of what it means to be a “Catholic university” in today’s world -- where campuses are communities of immense diversity (including religious diversity), and where increased academic specialization and departmentalization has weakened many faculty members’ sense of a shared mission.

The project is grounded in a key theological insight: Because the pursuit of truth and the advancement of human knowledge is a fundamental “Catholic” value, all faculty members are able to contribute richly to the advancement of their university’s Catholic mission -- regardless of their academic specialization, and whether they are themselves Catholic.

The project engages faculty through three key products:

    Father John Haughey, S.J., Director of the Catholic Higher Education Program, receiving the 2007 Monika K. Hellwig Award for outstanding contributions to Catholic intellectual life from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
  • CHE faculty seminars are intimate, two-day conversations in which a group of 12 faculty members from diverse faith traditions and academic disciplines reflect on their scholarly research and aspirations, their scholarship’s relationship to their personal religious practices, and the way in which their research is contributing to their university’s Catholic mission of advancing human knowledge. Faculty come away energized by a new appreciation for and commitment to their institution’s Catholic mission. These seminars have now reached hundreds of faculty at universities around the country, including Boston College, Georgetown University (five seminars), Loyola College in Maryland, Loyola University in Chicago (three seminars), Ramapo college, St. Joseph’s University (two seminars), and Seton Hall University (three seminars). Additional talks and faculty colloquia led by Father Haughey have brought shared the Program’s insights with faculty at Marquette University, Saint Mary’s College, and The University of Notre Dame.
  • CHE’s two books include a volume by John Haughey laying out the educational and theological foundations and key insights of the project, and a volume of autobiographical essays in which scholars from around the country replicate the process of scholarly and spiritual self-exploration that is used in the faculty seminars. Georgetown University Press is publishing both volumes.
  • CHE’s national and regional conferences will broaden the network of faculty and administrators who are adapting the project’s insights and methodology for use at their institutions. They will build on the CHE workshop that Father Haughey led at the 2008 national conference of the Catholic Theological Society of America.