Spring Hill is a personal place, a place where relationships matter and where faculty and staff take seriously their obligation to practice what Jesuits call cura personalis, the care of the whole person.

Cura Personalis describes a way of relating to others that recognizes each person as an individual with their own uniqueness, dignity, and needs. In the context of a college, cura personalis describes a way of teaching that takes into account not only the student’s intellectual development, but their moral and spiritual development as well. 

At Spring Hill, our teaching relies on three foundations: Ignatian Pedagogy (which incorporates cura personalis), Social Justice, and Resilient Teaching.

Ignatian Pedagogy

Ignatian Pedagogy is a way of teaching inspired by the experiences of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. It is a model of education in which faculty guide students as they encounter new ideas and experiences and build a foundation for acting on that knowledge. Faculty begin with the understanding that students come to them as whole persons with both individual histories and ties to family, communities, and cultures that have shaped what they know and how they learn. As students encounter new ideas and experiences, faculty guide them in relating what they are learning with what they know, identifying gaps and contradictions in their knowledge, and taking action to address them. Reflection as a way of learning is not limited to individual academic subject: it enables students to seek connections between and across academic subjects and other types of human knowledge. Through this process of enlarging one’s understanding, the Jesuits believe the learner is moved to act. Faculty guide students in identifying a form and direction for that action with the goal of helping students to become responsible leaders in service to others.

Selected resources

Jesuit Education and Ignatian Pedagogy (a 2-page Desktop Primer by Dr. Debra Mooney)

Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach (pdf)

Characteristics of Jesuit Education (pdf)

Best Practices in Jesuit Education and Online Learning

Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU)

Social Justice

As teachers, scholars, professionals, and active members of the community that is Spring Hill College, the faculty respect diversity and strive for equity and inclusion in their teaching and scholarship. The founding principle of Spring Hill’s Core Curriculum, “Education for the Common Good of the Global Community,” emphasizes our attention to social justice in the classroom, while faculty participation in service immersion trips sponsored by Campus Ministry, community engagement projects through the Foley Center, individual service-learning classes, and justice-oriented scholarly projects extend that attention into the communities beyond the campus. 

Faculty work with student groups, such as the Diversity and Inclusion Action Team, serve on Sexual Assault Response Teams, provide Safe Spaces for students needing to discuss important and pressing personal issues, and participate in Ignatian Days of Service. Through these and other activities, faculty link their teaching to the pursuit of social justice.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources

Equity Unbound (Resources for online community building and social justice in academia)

Design for Equity in Higher Education (Pullias Center for Higher Education, USC)

The College Transition Collaborative (research and resources for equitable learning environments)

Inclusive Teaching Practices (Amherst College)

Resilient Teaching

Resilient Teaching is a framework for designing courses that support student achievement of learning outcomes in any instructional format. Within this framework, the course structure has three components: Purpose (the specific learning goals of the course as well as the goal of the course within a curriculum); Elements (the learning materials, including, readings, lectures, activities, etc.); and Interconnections (the interactions between students and the material, students and other students, students and faculty.) The vehicles for these interactions include class discussion, communication outside the class, activities, assignments, and exams. The purpose and elements of the course will stay the same no matter the instructional format. The interconnections and interactions are the most important part of the course design since they create the social dimension of the course so essential to learning. They are also the component that will change the most when the course format changes.

The course elements are created and stored in a single location that can be accessed easily no matter the format of the class. Students’ possible interactions with those materials are multiple and built into the original design. To support these options, designers incorporate flexible support structures for course interaction that can be changed when the course format changes, provide alternative interactions for different formats, and allow for the addition or expansion of existing elements in order to strengthen and support the existing interactions. 

This framework for intentional course design makes transitioning between instructional formats easier for teachers and students. More importantly, it places student learning at the center of the design and provides multiple means of engagement, action and expression, and representation in line with the principles of Universal Design for Learning

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