The Catholic identity of the University of St. Thomas is manifested in various ways. It can be seen through the University’s continuing examination and engagement with the Catholic intellectual, social and spiritual tradition; through its embracing of the richness and complexity of the meaning of Catholicism; through the dedication of all members of the University to active exploration of the contributions they might make to the education of morally responsible leaders who are committed to the advancement of the common good; and through its unique mission as a university in and of the city.
The North Central Association Self-Study Report called for “further discussion of the Catholic nature of the mission (of the University) and (to) seek consensus on common goals of the undergraduate and graduate programs” (p. 34). Input from various academic and administrative units has stressed the need to discuss and better understand the Catholic identity of the University and to “infuse” that understanding into our curriculum.
UST Conviction #3 regarding “Faith and Reason” states:
“We actively engage Catholic intellectual tradition, which values the fundamental compatibility of faith and reason and fosters meaningful dialogue directed toward the flourishing of human culture.”
“Essential to a (university’s) genuine catholicity . . . is the promotion of justice and the Gospel’s ‘option of preference for the poor.’”
-Archbishop J. Michael Miller, Secretary, Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, Origins, 35:17, p. 451
Strategic Priority 1:
The University of St. Thomas will further engage its Catholic identity by exploring the meaning and heightening the understanding of Catholic intellectual tradition throughout its curricular and co-curricular activities.
Indicators of Achievement of this Priority
- Faculty, staff and students participate in various educational forums that seek to understand the meaning of Catholic tradition, its implications for diversity, and the nexus between faith and reason
- In curricular and co-curricular activities, evidence of the integration of Catholic tradition, ethics, and social justice is prized
- New employee and student orientations include information on Catholic identity with special emphasis on ethics and social justice
- Co- and extra-curricular activities provide students with opportunities to explore the intellectual, spiritual and cultural traditions of the Catholic Church
- Search committees provide information on the Catholic identity and mission of the University to candidates and consider their potential contributions to the mission of the University
Strategic Priority 2:
The University of St. Thomas will give witness to the social teaching of the Church in its communal life, and will integrate principles of social justice across the curriculum and in co-curricular activities in order to educate students “to be morally responsible leaders.”
Indicators of Achievement of this Priority
- Faculty, staff and administration evaluate decisions from the perspective of Catholic social justice in order to express in our university life what we profess and teach
- Academic programs and departments, as part of their mission and goals, assess how they educate “morally responsible leaders”
- The “common good,” as understood in Catholic social thought, is a key consideration in each curricular discipline
Strategic Priority 3:
The University of St. Thomas will foster an academic community that is known for civil and respectful dialogue that both honors its Catholic tradition and is open to learn from those of other traditions and viewpoints.
Indicators of achievement of this priority
- Hospitality and respect mark the St. Thomas work environment and educational experience
- Students, faculty and staff are skilled in engaging controversy in a way that advances dialogue and the pursuit of truth
- Opportunities for ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, understanding, and respect are fostered
Strategic Priority 4:
The University of St. Thomas will cultivate an ethic of environmental stewardship, and will integrate principles of environmental sustainability across the curriculum and in co-curricular activities in order to educate students to appreciate their roles and obtain tools for leadership and innovation in care for God's Creation
Indicators of achievement of this Priority
- Formal leadership, through a sustainability advisory committee, evaluates current conditions, suggests priorities for improvement, and coordinates efforts and facilitates communication between administration, faculty, staff, and students regarding implementation of environmental stewardship principles.
- Campus construction projects utilize accepted sustainable building practices for new buildings and building renovations.
- Campus-wide sustainability evaluations, based on the university's energy audits and carbon footprint, demonstrate incremental reductions in energy use and decreased reliance on non-renewable energy for facilities, fleet vehicles, transportation, and commuting practices.
- Programs, offices, divisions, services and departments, student organizations, as part of their mission and goals, assess how they utilize resources with the goal of eliminating energy inefficiencies, toxic substances, and the over-consumption of natural resources.
- Appropriate faculty bodies design ways that students are exposed to environmental stewardship across various academic disciplines, including practical projects that directly benefit the St. Thomas community.
- Financial economies are realized through more efficient and effective use of energy and resources.