GSAS Jesuit Pedagogy Seminar

The interdisciplinary colloquium, taught by Michael Baur (Philosophy), Moshe Gold (English) and Christine Firer-Hinze (Theology), offers advanced graduate student teachers an in depth look at Jesuit pedagogy and a chance to explore the characteristics of this nearly 500 year-old tradition.

The seminar meets six times over the course of the spring semester and provides a structure for reading, reflection, discussion and experimentation. As part of the seminar, graduate students are mentored by faculty members who are excellent undergraduate teachers themselves. The mentors are chosen from across the Arts and Sciences, and paired across disciplines. A biologist may be paired with a philosopher, while an economist may be paired with a theologian.

This cross-disciplinary pairing helps to enforce the understanding that Ignatian Pedagogical principles are not limited to just one field or one group such as the humanities. Mentors and graduate students visit each other’s classrooms and exchange syllabi, lesson plans, and grading samples. They then meet to discuss their observations.

The conclusion of the seminar is marked with a public forum in which each participant presents a final project, examining a characteristic of Jesuit Pedagogy and applying it within the framework of the course that he or she is currently teaching. The forum allows mentors and those outside of the seminar to witness the work that has been done by the participant within the smaller meetings, and in addition offers the presenter a chance to reflect upon the project and the context in the larger community.

In their evaluations of the seminar, participants report feeling a stronger connection to the Jesuit tradition, their fellow graduate students in other disciplines and the students they teach. Here are some comments from the students:

  • " strongest course evaluations came from students whom I was teaching at the time that I took this seminar.
  • "I received some of the best final papers I have ever received. This would not have been possible without the broader context and general attitude of thinking holistically about education.
  • "...when I develop things for class now I have a [an] Ignatian cycle in mind: context, experience, reflection, action, evaluation. I also actively work at introducing ideas of justice in the class."

This spring's Jesuit Pedagogy will once again bring graduate student teachers together from the departments as diverse as:

  • Biology
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Theology