A recent article in the highly regarded publication Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, outlines the success St. John’s University has had in implementing mission-focused programs to advance its Vincentian perspective, through the establishment of the Vincentian Institute for Social Action (VISA).
The article, “Advancing the Vincentian Tradition through Strategic Service and Research,” is authored by Richard Sinatra, Ph.D., Professor of Literacy, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for The School of Education and Chair of the Faculty Consortium of the Vincentian Institute for Social Justice and Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., D.Min., Executive Vice President for Mission and Student Services.
“We are truly making important progress in defining and shaping a uniquely St. John’s Vincentian approach to serving those in need and finding remedies for social inequities,” Dr. Sinatra said.
The article, which described major program initiatives and outcomes, enabled St. John’s to heed the 1986 call of Pope John Paul II to all Vincentian institutions urging them to reinvigorate their mission to serve those most in need. Fr. Maher stated, “It is wonderful to witness how St. John’s as a Vincentian sponsored institution of higher learning has answered the call of Pope John Paul II and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching to seek out the causes of poverty and promote short and long term solutions.”
To meet this calling, St. John’s efforts include an expanded and enriched Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) program; the creation of the Vincentian Institute for Social Action to coordinate student and faculty service and research efforts with community partners; the establishment of a four-year undergraduate Ozanam Scholars program to engage highly qualified students in extensive service and research under faculty mentorship; sustainable collaborations with community partners whose mission focus is compatible with the Vincentian perspective; and a dedicated effort to measure program impact through outcomes-based quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.
Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice is a refereed, open access, online journal that promotes and disseminates scholarship about the purposes, practices and issues in Catholic education at all levels. Its governing board includes 17 major Catholic universities from across the nation.
Commenting on the acceptance of the paper by the prestigious journal, Dr. Sinatra said, “Father Maher and I are delighted to have had the opportunity to explain how St. John’s is fulfilling its Vincentian mission, from undergraduates to the Board of Trustees, in such a widely recognized and respected publication. Writing the article also gave us the opportunity to reflect upon how much we have accomplished in so little time with the help of committed faculty to realize our goals of meaningful impact upon pockets of poverty and measuring the outcomes of our research and service.”