The University of St. Thomas

Center for Catholic Studies | John A. Ryan Institute

Summer Seminar: Description

Summer Seminar: Description


 June 2-6, 1997

Project:  A week long seminar for faculty who teach in business to examine in a sustained and in depth way the relationship between business education and the Catholic and liberal arts character of St. Thomas.

Rationale:  How does a business faculty within a Catholic University express its Catholic identity?  What does it mean to teach and research management theory and practice within a Catholic and liberal arts university?  What are the characteristics of a business unit within a Catholic liberal arts university?  The answers to these questions are multiple and complex, but one constitutive element of this answer is the faculty.  This seminar provided faculty an opportunity to read and discuss the various dimensions of business education within a Catholic, liberal arts university.  Msgr. Murphy pointed out in a talk to deans of Catholic business schools that "No institution will long remain Catholic if Catholic [and liberal arts] values are not understood and cherished by a substantial number of faculty members, no matter what their competency may be in their chosen academic fields."  This faculty seminar was one small step in examining the relationship of business education within a Catholic, liberal arts university.

--To retrieve the attempts to integrate business and professional education within the Catholic and liberal arts identity of St. Thomas' tradition.
--To examine current thinking on the nature and identity of Catholic universities as it relates to the business unit.
--To explore the intellectual Christian social tradition within the business disciplines.
--To further the ongoing dialogue on the relationship among the Catholic, liberal arts and business dimensions of St. Thomas.  As Joseph Pieper states:  "Anyone who considers dialogue, disputation, debate, to be a fundamental method at truth must already have concluded and stated that arriving at truth is an affair that calls for more power than the . . . individual possesses.  He must feel that common effort, perhaps the effort of everybody, is necessary.  No one is sufficient unto himself and no one is completely superfluous; each person needs the other."

 This summer seminar was the sixth summer seminar in the past four years, and the first on management education.  The faculty seminars have been sponsored by University of St. Thomas' Center for Catholic Studies.  This management education seminar was directed by the Institute for Christian Social Thought and Management which is part of the Center for Catholic Studies.

 The seminar was based on a series of texts (listed on the next page) that guided the discussion.  The first reading of the seminar was Michael Jordan's "The Tension Between Liberal Education and Career Education."  His article surveys St. Thomas' struggle to harmonize the relationship between liberal and career education within a Catholic institutional context.  We then read Josef Pieper's, "Work, Spare Time, and Leisure," John Paul II's Ex corde Ecclesiae  and excerpts from John Henry Newman's The Idea of a University.  These texts introduced faculty to a tradition of thought which began to provide deeper intellectual roots to the meaning of a Catholic and liberal education.  They also set the stage to examine the question John Paul II raises in Ex corde Ecclesiae:  How can "Catholicism be vitally present and operative" in the university?

 Although there were faculty from the theology and English departments, most of the participants were faculty from the graduate and undergraduate business programs at St. Thomas.  Their essays are creative beginnings that are profoundly insightful as well as practically helpful.  If you would like a copy of the essays the faculty wrote after the seminar, please go back to the last menu and click the last item.