|Cornerstones: A Seminar on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Catholic Social Teaching
A new seminar on the intellectual tradition and social teaching of the Catholic Church was offered to faculty for the first time in 2006-07 and was expanded to include staff in 2007-08.
The Rev. Jay Fostner, O.Praem., ’84 developed a year-long seminar consisting of six meetings, including one overnight retreat each semester, and culminating with the European Norbertine Heritage Tour in May. Those participants who complete the seminar and write a reflection about how they might incorporate their experience into their work on campus are offered a stipend toward the trip.
As vice president of mission and student affairs, Fostner recognizes that education and open discussion are key to helping professors bring St. Norbert’s Catholic, Norbertine and liberal arts foundations to life in their classrooms.
“It is my hope,” he says, “that as small groups of faculty and staff gain more knowledge about some of our foundational values and traditions, including the history and core values of the Norbertines, our identity will continue to become clearer and our mission will be advanced.”
“People often argue for and against church teaching without much knowledge of it, so this is meant to educate and be a positive learning experience,” Fostner says. “And the trip will help everyone more fully understand the history of the Norbertines.”
Questioning, critical thinking, and understanding issues in today’s society from a Catholic and Norbertine perspective are all a part of the tradition Fostner would like to see integrated more into the classroom.
“Students leaving here should have a good understanding of where the church stands on certain issues, and the values of the Norbertine community, so they can use these understandings and values to make decisions in their lives,” he says.
As a new faculty member in 2005-06, Deirdre Egan (English) was eager to learn as much as she could about the Norbertine vision and traditions.
“I began my time at SNC by participating in the vocation retreat, which parlayed into the vocation study group this year. This has been a tremendously enriching experience as I come to know this community,” she wrote in her application letter.
“I see the opportunity to do a seminar like this as a wonderful building block in the process, as I move toward a fuller appreciation of this community and its charisms.”
For the academic year 2011-12 Dr. William Hyland (Center for Norbertine Studies) will facilitate the Cornerstones seminar.