Fall 2014 Roundtable
I am pleased to share with you Volume 4 of Integritas, the journal of the Boston College Roundtable, on the theme of The Role of the Academy in the World. The essays and conversations included in Volume 4 reflect the fourth and final meeting of the inaugural Boston College Roundtable.
The world has changed significantly since the Roundtable first gathered in the fall of 2013. Most noteworthy was the election of Pope Francis, a Jesuit priest from Argentina, and his influence is keenly felt in this volume of Integritas. Palpable in this issue is a distinct call among members of the Roundtable that Catholic colleges and universities dare to live out their ideals. Are we hiring economists in our academic units whose concern is not just academic notoriety but who take seriously issues of economic justice and the common good? Are we developing in our students the will to stand on the side of justice long term, and not just during their one-week immersion trip to a developing country? Are we concerned with deepening our study abroad experiences beyond “rootless cosmopolitanism” to challenge students to engage deeply with other cultures?
The energy and desire to grapple with these issues reflect the friendship, trust, and honesty that have emerged among participants of the Roundtable over four weekends. Any focus on limitations of the enterprise of Catholic higher education—infrastructure, finances, tenure and promotion, enrollment—has given way to the excitement and desire for Catholic institutions to inspire, lead, and develop in our undergraduate and graduate students the passion, will, and understanding to engage deeply as global citizens educated in the Catholic tradition.
Does a university or college built on the Catholic expression of faith and its rich intellectual tradition add value to the educational enterprise? The Roundtable, through its exploration of four themes: Hospitality and Charism in the Academy; The Transformative Value of the Liberal Arts; Science and the Person; and The Role of the Academy in the World, points to the renewal, creativity, and imagination that result from serious exploration of this question among faculty across disciplines. The Roundtable gives witness to the promise of the Catholic university in the midst of a changing world, and inspires courage and creativity in living out all the dimensions of this complex apostolic calling.
On behalf of Boston College, I express deep gratitude to the members and observers of the inaugural Boston College Roundtable. They have created a new way of engaging the academy around the intricate dimensions of mission, and they now pass the torch to a new community of Roundtable scholars.
With thanks for your interest,
Lisa M. Hastings
Director, The Integritas Project