The Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP) is made up of several integrated components designed to establish ongoing conversations through a menu of online learning opportunities; an international encounter experience; an Ignatian retreat; summer workshop; a mission project; and a capstone experience. The program spans a period of approximately eighteen months.
Participant nominations are made by presidents or chief mission officers, who are asked to submit them by mid-May (though earlier is preferred). The program begins in mid-June with the first online workshop, followed by an in-person orientation in early July. Every effort will be made to help participants fully participate in all ICP events.
Orientation: First Principles and Foundation
Participants attend a four-day gathering in early July to meet fellow colleagues in this shared national mission. Throughout the orientation, they learn more about the program, its goals, and the intersections of Ignatian spirituality, the history of Jesuit education, and the current apostolic commitments of the Jesuits and their companions. Topics include the Spiritual Exercises, “What makes our institutions Catholic and Jesuit,” and the importance of developing one’s own practice of discerning leadership.
The ICP online learning workshops are the threads that weave their way throughout the program. Several workshops have been designed to increase participants’ understanding of areas foundational to the Jesuit and Catholic tradition of higher education. Workshops contain videos, readings, podcasts, case studies, and reflection questions.
These workshops facilitate ongoing learning, reflection, integration, and project planning. Topics include: Ignatius and the first companions; Ignatian humanism and pedagogy; Faith and Culture; the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Catholic Social Teaching; a faith that does justice; and Ignatian discernment. Several workshops are followed by small group video-conference conversations with fellow ICP members to further appropriate the material in light of present realities while building collaborative relationships across the AJCU network. Participants keep journals to record their insights.
ICP offers several week-long international Encounter experiences to help foster a well-educated solidarity and appreciation of the Jesuit commitment to a faith that does justice. The Encounter experience introduces participants to the global connection of Jesuit institutions and to experience a reality and culture that is often not one’s own. Each Encounter includes a range of voices, from political figures and religious leaders, to local members of the communities who each have their unique perspective on life and the realities of their location.
Experientially, one goal of the Encounter is for participants’ hearts “to be broken” so that they might become more personally aware of those who live and struggle in the world. Much attention is spent encouraging participants to adjust their perspective from leader or teacher to learner, and to fully honor the wisdom and expertise of hosts and those who will share some of their life experiences. Participants are asked to bear witness to these realities; that is, to remember and hold these memories and people closely in one’s heart. ICP staff hope these experiences will permeate participants’ thinking and reflection as they engage the people and projects back on their home campuses.
The ICP Photo Gallery provides images of recent Encounters and ICP events.
The Magis Retreat provides faculty and administrators an opportunity to integrate Ignatian spirituality into their professional and personal lives. Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the retreat includes time for reflection, prayer, and focused conversations.
The Magis Retreat is a “mostly” silent retreat. A typical day includes a morning talk by a team member on one of the major themes of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises; time to meet with one’s (assigned) spiritual director; and evening sharing. There are also a few social times for those on retreat to share their experiences with other colleagues, if desired. In general, the days are spent in quiet to allow the Spirit to awaken in those areas needing attention. Special care is taken to welcome and adapt the process for those who do not come from a faith tradition.
The Summer Workshop is intended to gather current ICP participants to help them reflect on their experiences thus far in the program and to prepare them for their “final semester” of ICP. It is a time to join other colleagues and do some thinking together on issues of social justice and solidarity from an Ignatian perspective. It is also a time to discuss the progress that participants are making on their Mission project design and implementation.
As an implementation component of ICP, each participant will design and conduct a work-related project that advances their institution’s mission in light of what they are appropriating from the program. If possible, the project should be implemented (in whole or in part) before the end of the program (though flexibility is provided). The project should be developed in consultation with one’s university chief mission officer. ICP Mission Projects can be found by searching the ICP Mission Projects database.
The Capstone is a four-day gathering that marks the formal conclusion of ICP. The Capstone help participants synthesize many of their experiences, deepen their understanding of Ignatian discernment, and consider how they will advance the mission back on their home campuses and collaboratively throughout the AJCU network. It is also a time for sharing one’s Mission Project, and for reflecting on one’s own practice of discerning leadership.