Ignatian Colleagues Program Cohort 15 (photo courtesy of Sue Rush)

For more than a decade, hundreds of faculty and staff at Jesuit colleges and universities have participated in the Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP): one of several formation programs offered by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). Over the course of 18 months, participants receive a “deep dive” into Ignatian spirituality, pedagogy, and charism through an encounter experience, a silent retreat, educational modules, and dedicated small group discussions.

But what happens upon completion? How do ICP alumni continue to live out the mission in their work? Five members of the 15th ICP Cohort recently shared plans for their “Mission Projects”: a critical component of the ICP curriculum through which participants develop programs and initiatives to help them apply Ignatian principles back on their home campuses.

Among the faculty who were part of ICP’s Cohort 15 were Mary Zampini, Sonja Martin Poole and Samit Shah. Zampini is a Professor in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Le Moyne College, but she also serves as the Faculty Athletic Affiliate for Le Moyne’s women’s basketball team. Her project, “Networking for Success with Student Athletes,” launched this month as a program for members of the team to connect with local business professionals for networking and mentorship opportunities.

Zampini said, “The student response to the first meeting in early January was overwhelmingly positive. The students enjoyed listening to the evolution of each [professional] woman’s career, especially when there were twists and turns and career changes along the way. One outcome that surprised me was the explicit help that our guests offered to provide the players moving forward. For example, they offered to connect individual students with professionals for job shadowing opportunities; help them find summer jobs and obtain information interviews; and keep mentoring the players on an individual basis, including help with resumé writing. It was truly gratifying to see how engaged and enthusiastic both the student-athletes and our guests were!”

Sonja Martin Poole is a Professor of Marketing at the University of San Francisco (USF). She partnered with two other ICP colleagues at USF, Lester Deanes and Shannon Gary, to apply for a grant from USF’s Jesuit Foundation to fund a new program called “ICP at USF.” With support from the foundation, ICP at USF is scheduled to launch this August with a cohort of ten faculty and staff who are new to Jesuit higher education; past ICP participants from USF will serve as “faculty” for the program.

According to Poole and her colleagues, “Over the course of a year, participants will reflect on assigned materials about our institution’s Jesuit, Catholic identity, engage in facilitated discussions, encounter the humanity of the San Francisco Tenderloin, participate in a weekend silent retreat, and prepare a capstone project. The entire experience is designed to encourage application of a set of values of living and working that promote the full dignity of the human person.”

Samit Shah is Dean of the School of Pharmacy at Regis University. He was inspired by Manresa, the University’s orientation program for new faculty, to create a similar program for incoming healthcare graduate professional students at Regis, with a tentative launch date of August 2024. He explains, “Many of the current students are aware of Jesuit values and do realize there is something ‘special’ about the University, but because of the many pressures of graduate education are unable to dive deeper into learning about Jesuit education. A short program early in their graduate training can help orient these students to the many resources available to them and to help them make the most of their time at Regis.”

Two administrators were among the Cohort 15 members who are now working to support their colleagues back on campus through their Mission Projects. Megan Novell is the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Compliance Specialist at the University of Detroit Mercy, where she also serves as Co-Director of the University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Her project, “Understanding Discrimination and Harassment Through Mission,” was designed to incorporate the University’s Jesuit and Mercy traditions into Title IX training sessions for professional development, as well as new faculty and staff orientation sessions.

Novell explained, “One of the good things about what I do as Title IX Coordinator is that what is morally and ethically necessary, and what our Jesuit values compel us to do, overlaps pretty significantly with what we are required to do to remain in compliance with federal antidiscrimination regulations. Not everyone is going to agree or be thrilled about it — that’s part of why there had to be federal regulations put into place in the first place! But focusing less on a minority of objectors and more on the far larger population of students, employees, alumni, and other members of our community and how these conversations around mission help them feel a greater sense of investment and purpose in what we all do here, has been very helpful for me in shaping my approach [to leading these sessions].”

Teresa Krafcisin, Senior Associate Vice President and Controller at Loyola University Chicago, was motivated by the importance of reflection in Ignatian pedagogy to create “The Controller’s Examen” as a guiding exercise for members of her team at Loyola. Krafcisin said, “The ICP experience provides an opportunity to more fully appreciate and live the areas foundational to the Jesuit and Catholic tradition of higher education and offers the framework to continually integrate Jesuit charism into my work and the work of my team. I am most appreciative of the connections and relationships built with my Cohort 15 colleagues over these past 18 months. Our shared experiences, beginning with the Orientation, through the Mission Encounter, the Magis Retreat, and the Capstone, are cherished.”

To learn more about each ICP participant’s mission projects, please visit ICPDirectory.org.

By Deanna Howes Spiro, Vice President of Communications, AJCU