Editors' Comments

By Nuzzi, Ronald J.; Hunt, Thomas C. | Journal of Catholic Education, March 2008 | Go to article overview

Editors' Comments


Nuzzi, Ronald J., Hunt, Thomas C., Journal of Catholic Education


Catholic colleges and universities have long been engaged in supporting K-12 Catholic schools and especially in offering professional, academic preparation programs for teachers and principals. There is an intrinsic and familial connection between Catholic higher education and K-12 Catholic schools. First, many undergraduates in Catholic universities come from Catholic schools, explicitly desiring to continue their education in an environment animated by faith. Having experienced the rigorous academic formation and personal faith formation found in the typical Catholic school, young adults of college age feel most at home at a university where prayer and worship are a part of daily life, where theology is studied seriously, and social justice is lived intently. While there are certainly major developmental differences in the curriculum and milieu of Catholic universities and Catholic schools, the transition to Catholic higher education from Catholic high school is remarkably comfortable and seamless for most students. The same is true for the movement from the Catholic elementary school to the Catholic high school. Students find the school culture welcoming and familiar.

Second, and more importantly, both Catholic schools and Catholic universities share in the overall educational mission of the Church and contribute to the synthesis of faith and culture called for by a Catholic educational philosophy. There should be a connection between these different levels of education because they are a part of the same Church and share a similar mission. Although operationalized differently and in ways age-appropriate to their respective students, Catholic schools and Catholic universities aim at similar educational goals and use similar methods to advance those goals.

Two university-inspired efforts provide evidence of this intrinsic connection between Catholic universities and Catholic schools. One is a consortium, the second an association. The University Consortium for Catholic Education (UCCE) is a group of 14 institutions, all offering programs for the professional preparation of teachers for under-resourced Catholic schools. UCCE programs together place over 400 teachers in 32 states, and do so every year (http://www.ucceconnect.com). Additionally, this remarkable organization supports undergraduates in discerning a career in Catholic education and has experienced steady growth in participation. UCCE fosters the development of educational professionals who will become lifelong advocates for Catholic schools.

The Association for Catholic Leadership Programs (ACLP) is a group of 30 institutions which offer degree and licensure programs for those preparing for service as Catholic school principals. ACLP members include Catholic colleges and universities from coast-to-coast, all of whom operate with the conviction that Catholic school leadership is distinct from public school administration, and requires a unique blending of the knowledge base of educational administration with the rich theological traditions of Catholicism. …

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