Why colleges are embracing diversity.
The Princeton Review’s dissection of the nation’s top 385 colleges was released in August, and journalists were quick to highlight its findings, many touting high rankings of their local collegiate heroes. A report from the University of Delaware’s student newspaper worried over UD’s calamitous drop to third place among “top party schools” in 2020, but other stories focused on more meaningful assessments of contemporary college life.
For these six students, LGBTQ activism and their Catholic faith go hand in hand.
Shelly Fitzgerald gushes over the kids who formed the advocacy group named for her, saying they saved her life. In August 2018, after 15 years of successful employment at her Catholic alma mater, Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Fitzgerald was abruptly given an ultimatum and required to choose between her job as codirector of guidance or her same-sex marriage.
The mission to protect human dignity is a central part of the Catholic faith.
Jamie Pizzi remembers the lunchtime meetings. They would take place in a college classroom. There, people would discuss their work, work not just happening on campus but in the community.
Pizzi, then 23 years old, was a first-year student at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Her classes had rigid curricula with a lot of reading on law and its foundations. There was little room to see the law in action, she says, and not much space in the initial coursework for specific law interests. That’s why Pizzi loved the weekly meetings.
Why aren’t there more Catholic ministries for community college students?
As a high school student, Matthew Fernandez was active in his parish’s youth ministry programs. He volunteered in service activities and talked about his faith so often that his classmates looked to him as a spiritual leader. He assumed that he had his religious life figured out as he began the shift from high school into adulthood.
That is, until he enrolled at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey. Although Fernandez remained involved as a volunteer with his family parish, he had a hard time finding Catholic friends his own age with whom he could speak vulnerably.
Are Catholic universities living out their mission when it comes to adjunct professors?
In the spring semester of 2018 one adjunct professor in Iowa was teaching seven classes across two different college campuses, including one Catholic university. He was busy preparing materials, instructing, grading, being available to students, and commuting—all while submitting applications for full-time tenure-track positions, many of which had more than 300 applicants for a single opening. (He requested anonymity, as he is still seeking full-time employment opportunities in academia.) “I have a 2-year-old daughter who I didn’t get to see very much,” he says. “It was hard for me.
Helping young people become followers of Christ means making Catholic education accessible to all.
“Why do you send your boys to a Catholic school?” my sons’ pediatrician asked, looking at the St. Monica school sweatshirts and uniform pants my two boys had strewn over the floor of the examining room. It was the boys’ yearly checkup, in 2002, and they sat expectantly in their Hot Wheels underwear as their doctor walked in.
Sister Jean’s dedicated work, prayerful wisdom, and joyful spirit illuminate characteristics shared by many Catholic sisters.
March Madness hit a whole new level of crazy this year—and I’m not even talking about the 16-seed upset. The dizzying array of action on the basketball court last weekend paled in comparison to the rise of the sports world’s newest star: a 98-year-old religious sister. For those who have been living under a rock since Thursday, let me repeat: a Catholic sister is the belle of the NCAA tournament ball.
Earning while learning is the new way to get a college degree.
During her first semester at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, freshman Tori Janet found herself studying a topic she never expected: Frappuccinos. Soon after beginning classes, Janet began working at Mimi’s Cafe, an on-campus coffee shop serving Starbucks drinks and sandwiches.
“I made myself so many cheat sheets to figure out what goes in each drink, and what you need to ask each customer,” Janet says. “It took a long time to figure out.”
Professors should talk about their personal beliefs in the classroom—even if it makes students uneasy.
A few weeks ago I was standing in the back of a college classroom at the Catholic university where I teach while my students chatted with a guest speaker via Skype. The guest speaker was a deacon on his way to the priesthood and a graduate of the University of Saint Francis, where I teach. In the shadowy back aisle where I stood, I listened while Deacon Jay explained that he was not Catholic during his first three years at Saint Francis, but felt pulled toward the faith after a chance invite from a couple of girls to join them at Mass.
Can social emotional learning prevent bullying before it happens?
Last year Lauren Bowman, an eighth grader at St. Christine School in Youngstown, Ohio, died at home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The 13-year-old, who loved softball, reading, and her dogs, had been bullied at school. For her, ending her life was preferable to returning to class after summer break. That same year Daniel Fitzpatrick, a seventh grader at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, hanged himself. And in 2017 Keegan Beal, a fifth grader at St. Mark’s Catholic School in Peoria, Illinois, ended his life after enduring years of bullying at different schools.