“If we look at the statistics, we just won’t have the Congregation of the Mission in place as presidents forever. As leaders within their institutions, we hope VMI participants will serve as role models who can effectively pass down the history, tradition and culture unique to each institution,” says Georgianna Torres-Reyes, assistant vice president, de Paul University Mission and Values. “We hope they also will collaborate with community members in developing strategic visions informed by our rich Catholic and Vincentian heritage.”
The Vincentian Mission Institute (VMI), which began in 2007 as a collaboration between DePaul, St. John’s University and Niagara University to develop successive generations of lay leaders to support their institutions, is adding some changes to its second cohort, which began this fall.
“We learned a lot from our first cohort. It was a success; however, we thought it was more practical to shorten it to a two-year rather than a three-year experience,” explains Georgianna Torres-Reyes, assistant vice president, University Mission and Values.
“Pulling our leaders out so frequently was problematic, and we also wanted to be good stewards of our dollars,” Torres-Reyes says. “We also changed our paradigm with regard to adult learning. We were delivering much of the content in person, in a lecture style. That doesn’t work for adult learners. We’ve moved to a model that’s more engaging, and much of the content will be delivered online via Desire2Learn, DePaul’s online course management system.”
Although the time has been shortened to two years, members will actually see each other more often, according to Torres-Reyes. Each Wednesday, everybody, no matter their institution, will gather virtually via webcast along with facilitators who will lead discussion.
DePaul has 10 participants in this cohort who were selected based on their leadership and interest while a diverse mix of faculty and staff from throughout the institution was maintained. Each institution chooses its participants differently, and each has a chance to host participants throughout the two-year program.
DePaul hosted the opening retreat in October, and the cohort will present case studies at St. John’s in 2012. The program will end at Niagara in 2013, where participants will present their capstone projects. All participants will participate in the Vincentian heritage trip to France next spring.
“If we look at the statistics, we just won’t have the Congregation of the Mission in place as presidents forever. As leaders within their institutions, we hope VMI participants will serve as role models who can effectively pass down the history, tradition and culture unique to each institution,” says Torres-Reyes. “We hope they also will collaborate with community members in developing strategic visions informed by our rich Catholic and Vincentian heritage.”
Cohort member Emily Opalski, director of Institutional Compliance, says maintaining the university’s identity as a Catholic, Vincentian institution is critical to advancing the mission of St. Vincent de Paul.
“I welcome the chance to be involved in that to the extent that I can. I believe that every opportunity I have to contribute to the mission at DePaul will enhance my commitment to the university and to the community which we serve,” she says of the opportunity. “The Vincentian Mission Institute experience is an invitation to grow by learning about the ways in which to best contribute to the mission of DePaul, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Click here for more information about the VMI.
Members of the 2011-2013 Cohort:
– Marisa Alicea, dean, School for New Learning
– Jay Braatz, senior executive for planning and presidential administration
– John Culbert, dean, The Theatre School
– Liz Friedman, assistant dean of Student Services, College of Computing and Digital Media
– Mark Hawkins, controller
– Emily Opalski, director of Institutional Compliance
– Rosa Perez, associate vice president for benefits and compensation
– Barbara Schaffer, assistant vice president in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity
– Kathryn Statz, associate director of Athletics
– Chris Worthman, associate dean, College of Education