From Rome to São Paulo
After having taken us to Rome, to the Pontificia Università Gregoriana, the General Assembly of our Federation will be hosted by the Centro Universitário da FEI, in São Paulo from July 23 to 27th, 2012.
The theme of this 24th General Assembly will be “Teaching and Learning in a Catholic University – Educate and Train”.
Teaching and Learning in a Catholic university
Teaching, research and service to society and the Church are the three main missions of the Catholic university. The themes on which we are invited to reflect during this international meeting in 2012 are teaching and learning as immediate tasks of our institutions, with training, personal changes and the transformation of society as horizons. Teaching and learning are thus placed in the humanist perspective of building a more just and human society.
The Times are Changing
To question teaching and learning in our societies obliges us to take into account the new cultural, social, political and educational contexts that pose many challenges to the world of knowledge. Indeed, our teachers are faced with a new cultural, educational and training sensibilities, new university training, new demands for certification, new teaching contexts and new research issues. Who are these new teachers?
As for students, they now have a psychology that differs from that of the previous generations, they have new worries, they experience new relations to cultures and knowledge and are faced with new training requirements. Who are these new students?
These evolutions that impact on our societies and our institutions are at the heart of our General Assembly. They lead us to a series of questions to which we will seek answers together in São Paulo. Conferences, round tables, panels, workshops and discussions in plenary sessions will offer the richness and diversity of the world of Catholic universities and will try to bring new light and orientations with respect to the major challenges with which your institutions are faced in matters of training and learning.
How does the Catholic University react to these changes? What are the discourses on the education proposed by the Religious Orders that are still present in higher education? How can the Catholic University be sufficiently innovating to react to other evolutions of our knowledge society tomorrow? What can be the original contribution of the Catholic University to this evolving world?
What is the Profile of Today’s Teachers?
Based on these questions, we shall attempt to define the profile of today’s teacher. We shall also broach his relationship with the students. For education to be efficient, teacher-student communication must also be efficient. This interaction is essential.
Hence, our Assembly is brought to reflect on this direct communication, taking into account the possibilities offered by Information and Communication Technologies.
Does this special teacher-student communication also contribute to create an identity that is linked to the mission of the Catholic University?
The interaction between the different disciplines is also at the heart of our reflection. We talk a great deal about pluridisciplinarity or interdisciplinarity, but is this dimension truly present in the academic work of our teachers and in the curriculum of the students?
The Profile of Today’s Students… For What Integral Training?
In Spring 2011, the International Federation of Catholic Universities launched a vast international survey on the culture of today’s young people in a Catholic University and the challenges for pedagogical practice. This survey analyses the cultural changes, the evolutions of identities, values and aspirations of the youth with regard to higher education. The aim is to understand, in the different cultural contexts, in which Catholic Universities are embedded, how the training received and the academic life contribute to the construction and the organisation of the meaning of life among students.
Thanks to the results, the project will help the partner institutions to develop the dimensions that are specific to the mission of the Catholic University: highlighting the Christian intellectual and spiritual tradition, the spiritual heritages, the ethical aspects of Catholic teaching, the Social Doctrine of the Church, etc. It will benefit both the students who, by being better known and recognised, will be offered adapted pedagogical methods, the Catholic University, which will be able to draw from it the resources to develop its mission, and the teachers who will also be offered adapted training and will find in it the material to reinforce and develop their teaching.
In the light of the preliminary results which will be presented to our General Assembly, we shall try to define what could be an integral curriculum in a Catholic University today. We shall then reflect on our way of conciliating the education of the person and the training for the profession in a society-market, and on the means to create a humanist educational project for the Catholic University in the 21st century.
Finally, we invite you to broach issues relating to leadership, strategic planification and the social service in a Catholic University. Addressed to those responsible for Catholic Higher Education, one session will be devoted to these dimensions of institutional life and will present a new initiative of our Federation on this topic.
For further information about IFCU, we invite you to consult our website: www.fiuc.org.