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Spiritan Pedagogy

I. What is Spiritan Pedagogy?

Spiritan Pedagogy is teaching in a way that purposefully reflects the values and ethos of the Spiritan mission of Duquesne University. While Spiritan Pedagogy is not a set of prescribed teaching practices, it is a way of teaching that purposefully chooses educational strategies to reflect the Spiritan charism. When we align our teaching strategies with Spiritan values, we are practicing Spiritan pedagogy. The purpose behind using a specific teaching strategy is what transforms it from simply a good teaching practice to being a Spiritan pedagogical practice. You can become part of the conversation around Spiritan Pedagogy.

The Center for the Catholic Faith and Culture in collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence hosts Spiritan Pedagogy Conversations to foster reflection on Spiritan pedagogy.

II. What are some Spiritan characteristics of Education?

In "The Heartbeat of Spiritan Education in the US," Jeff Duaime, C.S.Sp., lists seven marks of education in the Spiritan tradition.  These marks illustrate some of the concerns that can make your teaching reflective of the Spiritan charism. 

  1. Openness to the Spirit
  2. Global Vision
  3. A Sense of Community
  4. Concern for the Poor
  5. Commitment to Service
  6. High Academic Standards
  7. Academic Freedom

To read the article by Duaime, click here.

To consider ways that Duquesne Faculty integrate Spiritan Pedagogy into teaching read:

Hansen, S., Quinones, S., and Margolis, J. (2015). Spiritan Pedagogy in Practice. Spiritan Horizens 10, 99-113.

Weaver, D. (2015). Spiritan Pedagogy and Ethics. Spiritan Horizens 10, 114-127.

III. How do Duquesne faculty incorporate Spiritan values in their teaching practices?

Openness to the Spirit

"Spiritan pedagogy recognizes that the learning that takes place when faculty and students engage interpersonally is unique and sacred. Certainly learning can occur in isolation; much can be learned while reading a book a book and reflecting on its content. However when individuals interact with a desire to discover Truth, the Holy Spirit becomes present and enhances the learning process."

Joseph Kush, Education

Responsive to Vulnerable Populations

For me, a Spiritan Pedagogy embodies the principles of social justice and caring. This is highly congruent with my field, counselor education. So in this sense, in all aspects of my work at and for Duquesne University-teaching, advising, mentoring, counseling, training, researching, consulting-I am able to align Spiritan Pedagogy with "being alive" in my work.

Lisa Lopez Levers, Education

Committed to Academic Excellence

"Spiritan pedagogy focuses on the students, particularly their aims - whether or not explicit in their hearts - to become not only competent and trustworthy, but persons who can integrate knowledge with their lives in the world and before God. Each person we teach is equally someone we are preparing to be an ethical person - living within the ethical codes of each of our disciplines and cultures - and to live well in our contemporary world."

James Swindal, McAnulty College

Hospitable to Others

"Spiritan pedagogy means modeling for my students this openness and teaching them how to learn from each other, our community partners and the vulnerable populations they serve. This is the Spiritan Charism of hospitality - leaving open space within us to welcome and learn from others."

Anne Marie Hansen, Occupational Therapy

Collaborative and Reciprocal in Relationships

As co-learners together we foster a community of scholars to extend hospitality to all with whom we work, study, and research, especially the vulnerable in a spirit of openness and respect. This commitment to academic excellence in Spiritan pedagogy reflects a vision of education for the mind, heart and spirit."

Gerard Magill, Health Care Ethics

Co-Learners with Students and the Community

"Spiritan pedagogy means encouraging my students to be active participants in the learning process-recognizing that their voices count in the classroom and beyond."

Maureen O'Brien, Theology

Does one have to be Spiritan to practice Spiritan Pedagogy?

Spiritan pedagogy is not about your religious affiliation; it is about teaching that corresponds with the concerns and values of the University's Spiritan mission.

"The Spiritan foundations of the University are evident in the University's focus on social action, diversity and difference, cultural sensitivity, and mutual transformation. Listening, rather than imposing, exemplifies the Duquesne Spiritan brand. This is beautifully represented by the origins of the University. In its earliest community engagement project, the University sought to educate the children of working-class immigrants . . . The fact that I am a Jewish faculty member at Duquesne doing interviews of African American people who are mostly members of non-Catholic Christian religions is evidence of the religious pluralism offered by Duquesne and supported by the Spiritan and Catholic traditions."

Susan Goldberg, Psychology

What are some campus resources to learn more about the Spiritans and Spiritan Pedagogy?

The Division of Mission and Identity promotes the integration of the University mission into all aspects of campus life.

The Center for Spiritan Studies fosters research on Spiritan history, tradition and spirituality and publishes Spiritan Horizons, which regularly features articles on education.

The Gumberg Library offers The Spiritans: A Research Guide for researching Spiritan resources and a Digital Collection of Spiritan Writings.