(Revised October 5, 2006)
The Assimilation Report subcommittee consists of Pat Drinan, Lupita Jewell, Steve Smith, and Steve Staninger. We were tasked to review the internal and external inventories to see how they can supply guidance to the CST Committee while also suggesting possible choices for the Committee in its deliberations. The subcommittee has organized its findings into six sections: USD Strengths and Assets; Organizational Locus and Framework; Resources in Support of Strengths and Assets; Site Visits; Budgets and Incentives; and Problematics.
Our review led to several judgments regarding how the CST Committee should proceed in light of the internal and external inventories. The structure of this report reflects our view that the Committee should think strategically about USD as an institution, leverage strengths, and reduce various uncertainties about possibilities.
USD Strengths and Assets
We have identified below various organizational strengths for advancing and institutionalizing CST at USD. It is our belief that each has some inspiration from CST and also consequences for advancing CST, often in relationship to each other and to other strategic directions. Our list of significant strengths and assets can be refined and augmented by the full Committee and includes the following:
MA and minor in Peace and Justice
School of Peace Studies
Center for Christian Spirituality
Social Issues Committee
Community Service Learning
Center for Latino/a Catholicism
Philosophy and Law Institute
Mission and Ministry/ Romero Center
Institute on Catholic Thought and Culture
Some on this list currently have more explicit connections to CST while others may have more implicit connections.
CST and values education are so ubiquitous at USD that it would be foolish to list every single element; indeed, we should be able to state categorically that values education is essential to the USD character and attempt to tie that more explicitly to CST.
The subcommittee believes that a quick follow up survey to the USD organizations noted above should be conducted to ascertain for each area their:
- current understanding of how CST may have inspired their work
- current understanding of how the consequences of their work can help the institutionalization of CST on campus
- specific connections to other organizations on the list
- perceptions of opportunities for connections and synergies with other organizations on the list or how the list should be expanded
We believe the survey should have educative value and assist in reducing the problematic of implicit versus explicit identified below. Further, the survey should assist us in devising tactics for a higher degree of coordination of activities.
Organizational Locus and Framework
The locus and framework for institutionalizing CST at USD should be informed by models from other institutions, the culture of USD, and a strategy for getting there over the next several years. While it is beyond the scope of the subcommittee's work to come to conclusions, the following considerations and possibilities seem relevant:
- The reach of current and future CST programming is campus-wide, at least, and a high profile for USD should be imagined.
- The role of the new School of Peace Studies is a great opportunity, but can be overloaded if it is construed to be the lead agency on campus for promoting CST.
- The coordinating of CST activities needs the highest possible organizational profile, perhaps in a direct reporting role to the President.
- Research, curricular, and co-curricular activities must be emphasized, along with incentives for participation for staff, faculty, and administrators.
- Current CST lead organizations on campus (CSL and Mission and Ministry, e.g.) could be tasked with items such as organization of an external program review of the functioning of the Social Issues Committee, the first substantial organizational expression of USD commitments to CST and a historic asset to the University.
- Connections among existing organizations should become more transparent and reported by the President to appropriate Trustee committees.
- An annual summer meeting of all organizations listed in the above "USD Strengths and Assets" section should be convened to ascertain planned annual programming of the organizations, facilitate collaboration, reduce inefficiencies, and nurture more explicit connections to CST.
Resources in Support of CST
Various resources can support CST activities, beyond those organizational elements detailed above.
- Copley Library (x4765) houses over 500,000 books and more than 20,000 current periodical subscriptions. Of these, over 9,400 books explicitly about the Catholic Church are held, as well as more than 90 current periodicals dedicated to news and scholarship about the Church. Of particular note for CST are subscriptions to the Journal of Catholic Social Thought and The American Catholic Sociological Review. Access to these books and journals is available through several databases, most notably the Catholic Periodicals Index.
- The Legal Research Center (x4612) has a collection of Canon Law, the laws of the Roman Catholic Church, many of which deal with Catholic social thought and teaching. Complete collections of papal encyclicals and bulls are also available at both libraries.
- The USD Office of Mission and Ministry (x4735) offers a variety of services to support Catholic social thought and teaching. Their goals include a call to educate and work for justice and to help the campus community form a Christian consciousness.
- The Oscar Romero Center for Faith in Action (x4897) sponsors a wide variety of service opportunities that support Catholic social thought, including meal deliveries and trips to Tijuana.
- The Catholic Social Thought website provides a CST definition, links to other websites, and lists CST-related events. This website links into the Strategic Directions Initiative website which lists committee members and reports on the activities and goals of the CST committee. Since the CST website will become the campus resource for CST information, it is strongly recommended that the CST URL be shortened and simplified.
CST webpage: http://sandiego.edu/about/catholicidentity/catholicsocialthought.php
SDI webpage: http://www.sandiego.edu/strategicdirections/year4/cst/
It seems clear to the subcommittee that site visits of a team from USD to leading institutions in Catholic higher education on CST. (Villanova and St. Thomas appear most appropriate and should be arranged soon). Interviews of key personnel should be conducted to ascertain institutional experiences including mistakes made and blind alleys. A report to the full Committee should occur after site visits are concluded.
Budget and Incentives
While incentives and regular budget support are essential to CST institutionalization, the subcommittee feels it is premature to be specific about financial resources until the design architecture of CST institutionalization is closer to completion.
The subcommittee sees two significant problematics that require sustained attention both in the larger Committee and among faculty and higher administration:
- Establishing the appropriate "political will" to move organizations on campus from implicit connections to CST to more explicit;
- Reducing uncertainties early on about the role of the School of Peace Studies by possibly a founding charter, named liaisons to the School, or other mechanisms.