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JCU launches year-long mission priority examen

Bella Congelio
Through the MPE, the JCU community will reflect on its mission as a Jesuit university.

Once every seven years, Jesuit colleges and universities undergo a Mission Priority Examen. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities states in their informational booklet, “the goal of the MPE is to look honestly at our institutional life, notice the activity of God within it and respond freely to the invitation to grow in faith, hope and love.”

The examen itself involves discernment and dialogue surrounding how JCU is living out its mission now and in the near future in response to world and university events, as explained by Ed Peck, the vice president for University Mission and Identity. The various schools that complete this process do so in cycles of four or five schools each year and this upcoming year, JCU will complete its examen.

This time of discernment and dialogue stretches over the course of a year. JCU will complete its end of the examen in the spring, summer and fall and turn that into documentation. Then, a visiting team will come and complete a report on JCU’s mission and everything will be sent to the Chicago-Detroit Province, where Jesuit priests will review the documents.

Peck emphasized that “we’re not being ‘checked-up’ on, so to speak. It’s not like we can fail this. Schools can do a poor job at it, but we’re thought of very highly as a school who is very committed to its mission. We have an excellent reputation with our Province and they have no concerns about our mission. It’s not a test, but a reflective and prayerful community-wide discernment and dialogue about what we should focus on that emerges from conversation on campus about our mission.”

The last time that JCU completed this process, the main priorities that emerged were as follows:

  1. Deepen the university’s commitment to peace, justice and sustainability
  2. Integrate an Ignatian pedagogy of experience, reflection and action more fully into the student learning experience and across the broader campus community
  3. Enable all members of the university community to explore, deepen and share their faith or worldview in dialogue with people of all cultural and faith backgrounds
  4. Improve the diversity of the faculty, staff and student body in order to foster a culture of inclusive excellence
  5. Continue to establish and engage a vibrant community of companions in mission who animate the university and train and mentor others for mission

To aid in the process of creating new priorities during this Mission Priority Examen, JCU has assembled a team of people from across campus (including three students) and plans to talk to hundreds of people about JCU’s mission as a Jesuit university.

However, Peck emphasized that “this process should make everyone feel included, not just people who are explicitly religious or Catholic.” Everyone is welcome in the conversations that will be taking place over the next few months.

It also should be noted that the groundwork for this process was laid by JCU’s Mission Week this past winter, which helped prime the community to have conversations surrounding the university’s mission.

“The focus of Mission Week was on the way we help students discern who they are called to become, knowing that as a university, we are also called to become a certain kind of university as specified by the Jesuits,” said Peck. To read more about the 2024 Mission Week click here.

Lastly, Peck highlighted the importance of JCU’s mission, which explains why this Mission Priority Examen is so important.

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About the Contributor
Bella Congelio
Bella Congelio, Opinion Editor
Bella Congelio is a sophomore English major from Elyria, Ohio. She has a concentration in professional writing and is minoring in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. In addition to being a campus beat reporter for The Carroll News, she is a member of the Sweet Carrollines and the Theater Club. In her free time, Bella is always reading a book, loves to cook and bake, and is always listening to music.

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