Setting the Standard Symposium

The Setting the Standard Symposium is designed to facilitate an ongoing campus-wide conversation around what it means for USD to "set the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university."

Message from the President

Dear USD community,

Our vision statement calls on us to set the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity's urgent challenges. The Setting the Standard Symposium is designed to catalyze meaningful dialogue around this vision and how best to proceed to the forefront of Catholic higher education. I believe each member of our community—especially students, faculty and staff—have vital contributions to make to this ongoing conversation. I invite you to participate in programs that facilitate this dialogue throughout the academic year.

As a Catholic university, USD is a place where all are welcomed and encouraged to live from their deepest beliefs, noblest convictions and in the spirit of our shared university values. With your help, I believe we can achieve our vision and form leaders prepared to meet the urgent challenges of our time.

James T. Harris
James T. Harris III, DEd

President Harris talking with students and administration

Current and Upcoming Programs

April 2021

May 2021

View All Events

Faculty Learning Community
The Search for What Matters: Exploring Vocation in our Contemporary World

Co-sponsored by Mission and Ministry and the Center for Educational Excellence

This group is open to full-time faculty, adjuncts and teaching professors in any discipline who are interested in exploring their vocation of professor/scholar/teacher, considering how they can contribute to the vocational discernment of students and interested in being a part of robust mentoring environment where students are challenged and supported in asking questions of meaning and purpose, justice and solidarity.  Teaching methods that foster these and related learning outcomes will be studied; integrating such concerns into one’s scholarly endeavors will be a focus.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Mark Peters at

Past Events

Faculty Staff Prayer Breakfast
"Sacred Encounters: Beauty at the Heart of Catholic Higher Education"

November 8, 2018

USD’s cofounder, Mother Rosalie Hill is known for saying that there are three significant things in education: beauty, goodness and truth. Sr. Mary Beth Ingham will help us understand why beginning with beauty is essential and how it can lead us into sacred encounters. Drawing upon her expertise in the Franciscan spiritual vision, she invites us to consider, reflect and respond to our experiences of beauty in both our professional and personal lives.

Sr. Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy at the Franciscan School of Theology and former chair of the Philosophy Department at Loyola Marymount University. 

Bicentennial Celebration of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
“A Legacy of Love and Learning"

October 2, 2018

Bicentennial Celebration of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne with Sr. Lyn Osiek, RSCJ, sponsored by Mission and Ministry & The Society of the Sacred Heart. Read Sr. Osiek's lecture.


Inaugural Event
"Flourishing: Why we need religion in a globalized world"

February 1, 2018

The 2018 Setting the Standard Symposium keynote was delivered by Dr. Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology, and Founding Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. Dr. Volf's talk explored the major themes in his recent book, “Flourishing: Why we need religion in a globalized world,” and how the world religions’ visions of human flourishing are a necessary moral compass in a globalizing world where cherished beliefs and values are often brought into conflict.

Miroslav Volf at the 2018 All Faith Service Play Video
Video: Miroslav Volf at USD
Watch Dr. Volf's talk on the Christian vision for human flourishing, part of the 2018 All Faith Service. (11:55)
  • Committee Members