** To access the audio recording of this session, click here! **
Our first Provisions session of the 2016-2017 year explored the theme of “How We Incorporate Mission into Our Pedagogy.” Presenters shared experience and expertise with the various topics pertaining to the theme, in which sought to improve success for a diverse range of college students. An audience of approximately 25 faculty and staff members attended to hear presentations from Sean Peters, Director of Mission Experience, Angela Gordon, School of Business, and Jeff Marlett, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.
Sister Sean Peters, the Director of Mission Experience, kicked started the session by discussing a brief history about the College of Saint Rose. Sister Sean discussed how the college is essentially an organization that is about 360 years old, which began when it was founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet. In 1650, the 6 sisters gathered in France and started a hospital (social services in those days). During this time, there were some wealthy people but the majority of people lived in poverty, experiencing illnesses like the plague. The sisters were concerned with the “needs of the times” and convened to discuss the resources they had and what they could do to respond to the needs of the community. During this time, lace was worn by all (men, women and children) so the sisters decided to teach young women how to make lace, thus making enemies of the wealthy. Following the French Revolution, religion was suppressed and the sisters were split up. In 1810, Mother Saint John sent the sisters to the United States, where they started a school for deaf children in Carondelet, Saint Louis. Sister Sean ended her presentation by reiterating the theme that “we can do better together than we can do separately” which encompasses the values of the college of Saint Rose. “We have the resources to respond to the needs of the time, to educate the whole person, and we can always to things more effectively and efficiently together.”
Nest to present was Angela Gordon from the School of Business, on “Incorporating Mission into the First Year Experience.” Angela began by discussing the first assignment in the ‘Business 101’ course, which requires the students to connect with the values of Saint Rose’s mission statement in a one-page essay. Angela then discussed a semester long assignment in which students construct their own business plans using organizational awareness. As part of the course, the students are taken on a field trip to downtown Albany (Pearl Street, State Street, Broadway), where they are instructed to “think of the population” and decide “what does this population need?” The students are then asked to create a developmental business plan that allows them to engage with urban environment. In doing this, the students will create a document proposing the set-up of a their businesses. The students will then be able to present their business ideas (on November 30th) to faculty and staff of the college, thus promoting involvement in and connection with the community.
Jeff Marlett, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, wrapped up the presentations by discussing his experiences with incorporating mission into teaching. Jeff discussed how he incorporates the values of the mission statement indirectly by teaching principles of catholic social justice-human dignity, common good, and solidarity (we are all part of the human family). Jeff emphasized the importance of solidarity and helping out others in need. In using the example of the flooding in Louisiana (“we are in solidarity with them”), Jeff described the overall principle of how local solutions work better first, and then larger services can be sought out when necessary. Jeff discussed how these principles then become the foundation for talking about the mission statement across disciplines. Jeff ended with emphasis on how it is important for educators and students to know the identity of Saint Rose, and why Saint Rose is different than other catholic campuses.
Following the brief presentations, the floor was opened up for discussion and questions from the audience. Here are a few points and observations that arose from the discussion:
- The architecture that make a community are meaningless without understanding the core values
- How to get students to consider how they fit at the college
- Visit buildings to know what resources are available
- Encourage students to understand the connection between mission/values and why they are attending Saint Rose
- Research is important in deciding if you’re a good fit for a particular job/organization
- How to foster an inclusive community