Faculty and Staff Formation and Mission Integration

Gonzaga’s mission statement calls faculty and staff to participate in the formation of students “for lives of leadership and service for the common good.” Therefore, it commits us to educate, develop and care for the whole person through academically rigorous curricula and experiences that foster a commitment to the flourishing of all creatures, evidenced by striving toward justice in solidarity with all who are poor and marginalized.

Opportunities and programs for faculty and staff formation and mission integration invite faculty and staff members to consider how their spiritualities, traditions, expertise, wisdom, gifts, and work can be brought into conversation with Gonzaga’s mission and the Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic traditions that ground it. These initiatives provide space for faculty and staff to consider their call to participate in Gonzaga’s mission to offer students a distinctive educational experience that cultivates intelligent hearts and compassionate minds put at the service of the common good. These programs and opportunities include both critical engagement with the traditions that ground our mission and opportunities that invite persons all faith and spiritual backgrounds (including none at all) to encounter Ignatian spirituality. The aim of each program is by no means proselytization or indoctrination. Rather, it is an invitation to consider who each faculty and staff member might enrich the mission of the university and how the mission of the university and the traditions that ground it might enrich the work that faculty and staff already do.

Mission and Ministry is grateful to collaborate with our colleagues across the university in developing and offering these offerings that empower us to live into our distinctive mission and invite us into mutually critical dialogue with Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic traditions. Below, please explore the opportunities that are developing for both faculty and staff.

For a list of texts and videos that engage our mission statement and its grounding Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic traditions, please visit our resources page.

Formation Opportunities

In Fall 2020, the Office of Mission and Ministry began to roll out a new three-tier faculty formation and mission integration plan, designed in collaboration with faculty colleagues from across the university. This initiative invites faculty to consider how their scholarly and creative work as teacher-scholars both might integrate principles that ground Gonzaga’s mission and might inform the university’s understanding of its mission and the work it demands. Participation in these programs is complemented by participation in experiences of Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises of the St. Ignatius Loyola (see below). Please click here to learn more about each of the three tiers of Gonzaga’s faculty formation. 

 

The Office of Mission and Ministry is currently developing a multi-phase staff formation program to be rolled out in Spring 2022. This cohort-based program will invite staff to encounter and explore both Ignatian Spirituality and the distinctive mission of Jesuit higher education as they are asked to consider how those traditions might be brought dialogue with the expertise and wisdom they bring to their work as staff professionals. The First Spiritual Exercises (see below) will be Integrated into this program along with opportunities to participate in Human Resources’ s Management through Mission program and to engage with community partners through Opportunity Northeast. Please click here to learn more about these plans as they continue to develop.

 
  • First Spiritual Exercises – First Spiritual Exercises invites Gonzaga Faculty and Staff into a four-week mini-retreat in daily life. The retreat is drawn from the book The First Spiritual Exercises, by Michael Hansen, SJ, and a copy of the book is provided to all retreatants by Mission and Ministry. Each participant will be a member of a small group of up to ten people who meet once per week for conversation and who have committed to daily prayer and/or reflection over a four week period. Seekers and people of all faiths (or no faith at all) are welcome to this retreat experience, which is rooted in the Catholic, Christian tradition and is adapted from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Please click here for more information.
  • Weekend with the Spiritual Exercises – Each year, the Office of Mission and Ministry hosts a contemplative retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Through talks, 1-on-1 meetings with a spiritual director, and quiet prayer or reflection times, the retreat helps us hear and recognize the presence and voice of the Sacred in our busy lives.
  • Our educational mission is rooted in the rich spiritual and religious tradition of the Society of Jesus, an Order within the Catholic Church. Jesuit spirituality is imaginative, reflective, and active. It begins with a personal, intimate relationship with a God of Love who invites us to participate in the healing and restoration of our communities and our world. For more information, and for online tools to help you deepen your spirituality, please visit our resources page.
 

Faber Seminars are integrated into both the faculty and staff mission integration tracts. But faculty and staff can also participate in some of these seminars as one-off formation and mission integration opportunities. Faber Seminars may consist of a single meeting or a semester- or year-long discussion group meeting weekly or bi-weekly. They invite faculty and staff to read and discuss shared texts in light of Gonzaga’s mission and its animating and grounding Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic traditions. These seminars provide excellent opportunities for collaboration with partners across campus. For example, recently Mission and Ministry co-facilitated seminars with the Office of Tribal Relations and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. While some seminars may be open only to faculty and some may be open to only staff, to allow each constituency space to consider the mission in light of their distinctive vocations and expertise, other seminars bring faculty and staff together to consider together how we might live into our mission in new ways. If faculty or staff members are interested in co-facilitating a Faber Seminar with Mission and Ministry or proposing a potential topic or text, please reach out to Kevin Brown, Ph.D., at brownk@gonzaga.edu.

Recent Faber Seminars include the following:

  • “Mission and Racial Justice,” a semester-long seminar co-facilitated with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion reading
  • “Decoloniality and Justice,” a semester-long seminar co-facilitated with the Office of Tribal Relations
  • “Anthropocentric Privilege and the Community of Creation,” an hour-long discussion with Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Ph.D., Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality and associate professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union, co-sponsored by Environmental Studies, Religious Studies, and Catholic Studies
  • Laudato Si’ and Integral Ecology,” semester long seminars run separately for faculty (co-facilitated with the Environmental Studies Department and the Catholic Studies Program) and staff (co-facilitated with the Office of Sustainability)

Potential future topics include but are by no means limited to the following:

  • Environmental Justice and the Jesuit and Catholic Traditions
  • Gender, Justice, and the Jesuit and Catholic Traditions
  • Economic Justice and the Jesuit and Catholic Traditions
  • Anti-Racist Pedagogy
  • Decoloniality and the Jesuit and Catholic Traditions
  • Tradition and Transformation
 

From time to time, the Office of Mission and Ministry hosts academic lectures and public presentations on topics directly related to our mission and identity as a Catholic, Jesuit, humanistic university. These lectures have been delivered by members of the Gonzaga community and by scholars from other universities.

Recent lectures include the following:

  • “Beyond Laudato Si’: Embracing the Challenge of Franciscan Eco-Spirituality in the Age of Pope Francis,” by Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Ph.D., at Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality and associate professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union. Co-sponsored with the Environmental Studies Department, Religious Studies Department, and Catholic Studies Program. View a YouTube video of the lecture here.
  • “Voting for the Common Good,” a three-part series
    • “Democracy and the Common Good in the Catholic Social Tradition,” by Patrick McCormick, S.T.D., professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University
    • “The Preferential Option for the Poor and Marginalized in Catholic Social Thought,” by Megan K. McCabe, Ph.D., assistant professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University
    • “The Common Good of Our Common Home: Integral Ecology and Catholic Social Teaching,” by Brian G. Henning, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and environmental studies at Gonzaga University
  • “Power, Sex, and Violence: Where Do Catholic Go From Here?” By Lisa Sowle Cahill, Ph.D., J. Donald Monan Professor at Boston College’s theology department. Co-sponsored by the Della Strada Jesuit Community, Religious Studies Department, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, and Catholic Studies Program.
  • “Pope Francis Leading the Church into the 21st Century,” by Patrick Howell, S.J., D.Min., senior Jesuit specialist for Ignatian formation at Gonzaga University.
 

Every Fall and Spring, the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education publishes a new issue of Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education. This magazine seeks to stimulate conversation on the distinctive mission of Jesuit universities. Each semester, we host a lunch, led by three colleagues from various offices across the university, at which we invite faculty and staff to discuss how the most recent issue invites us to consider how we might live into our mission in new ways. For more information on upcoming Conversations on Conversations, please contact Kevin Brown, Ph.D., at brownk@gonzaga.edu.

 

Twice a year, the Office of Mission and Ministry invites all faculty and staff to gather for fellowship and reflection on how we are invited to embody Gonzaga’s mission in our shared work.

 

Gonzaga’s work toward diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to our mission as a Catholic, Jesuit, humanistic university. The work led by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, calls the whole university to a greater realization of our mission as an institution that seeks to serve the common good through the realization of justice. In our context, we recognize that living into our mission demands that we confront white racist supremacy, settler colonialism, patriarchy and sexism, Christian supremacy, xenophobia, racialized supersessionism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and heterosexism, among other intersecting structures of domination, including the ways they have been made manifest in the Catholic and Jesuit traditions. This entails not only dismantling those systems of oppression and the privilege they bestow on entire classes of people but also standing with persons and communities victimized by those systems in the struggle toward justice. The Office of Mission and Ministry is proud to partner and collaborate with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion both in the development of mission integration opportunities for faculty and staff and in the development of administrative projects such as new proposals centered on hiring for mission.

 

Contact the Office of Mission and Ministry

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MSC 2473
502 E. Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258
(509) 313-4242