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The West Wing: Ignatian Leadership and Civic Service

Upperclassmen Integrated Learning Communities

The West Wing: Integrated Learning Community for Ignatian Leadership and Civic Service at Fordham University strives to provide a co-curricular living-learning experience for students enrolled in both Fordham College at Rose Hill and the Gabelli School of Business. Recognizing the value of interdisciplinary study between the colleges, the West Wing will connect such topics as international affairs, government policy, public relations, ethical business practices, and effective leadership, in order to inspire well-rounded students who are confident in their abilities to affect change both at Fordham University and in the world.

The West Wing is located on the 3rd floor of O’Hare Hall Residential College and is available to Sophomore and Junior students.

To be a member of the West Wing, all residents will be enrolled in the West Wing Course (a 1-credit class) each semester, and required to attend all West Wing events. Unless otherwise noted, events will take place in the O’Keefe Commons on Tuesday evenings between 7:00pm and 8:30pm for both the fall and spring semesters.

Unexcused absences may result in a failing grade for the course and removal from the West Wing ILC.

Efforts for this Integrated Learning Community are coordinated by:

Dr. Robert Hume: Faculty Director of the West Wing rhume@fordham.edu
Dean Robert Parmach: Dean's Office Liaison to the West Wing parmach@fordham.edu

Please be sure to prepare the following essays to include in your application:

 
  1. Write a 150 word essay explaining what makes you a unique candidate for the West Wing. In your response, please indicate why you are interested in the West Wing, what you hope to gain from participating in the West Wing, and how you plan to contribute to the community.
  2. Describe 2 or 3 programming ideas that you would like to see take place in the West Wing.

West Wing Spring 2020 Syllabus

WEST WING SCHOLARS PROGRAM

ILC FOR IGNATIAN LEADERSHIP & CIVIC SERVICE

SYMP 0010-R01;   Spring 2020;   Tuesday 7:00-8:15pm

Dr. Hume, Dean Parmach, RA & Intern Devin D’agostino

ILC Classroom, 3rd Floor, O’Hare Hall Residential College

West Wing (WW) at Fordham University provides an Ignatian leadership and service integrated learning community for sophomores and juniors of Fordham College at Rose Hill and the Gabelli School of Business. Recognizing the value of interdisciplinary study, WW connects such topics as government policy-making, public service, social justice, and effective leadership in the Eloquentia Perfecta Jesuit tradition, in order to inspire exemplary and well-rounded scholars confident in their abilities to effect change both at Fordham University and in the world.

Module Structure: WW is a year-long sequence of two 1-credit Pass/Fail seminars which addresses four academic and service learning modules (two in fall semester, two in spring semester).

Module #3: “Ethics & Public Service Today”

In this module, we reflect on what it means to be an ethical servant. Often, there is tension between advocating for values and maintaining civility, particularly in today’s polarized political climate. A goal of this module is to learn how to maintain civility in public discourse. How can we do a better job of reaching out to those who disagree with us and to learn better from one another? How can we find common ground as contributing members of the Bronx community?

1/14:    Organizational Meeting and Dinner, Selection of Community Board 6 Action Problem

1/21:     Current Events #9

Interactive Workshop: What makes an effective public policy? Dr. Hume facilitates a program on the science of sound sustainable policymaking drawing upon insights from past public policy literature.   

1/28:    Current Events

Theory-in-Action: Applying Kingdon’s framework for effective public policies to CB6-WW Program.

2/4:      EP-in-action: RA Devin and Dean Parmach co-facilitate this session about EP techniques and participatory student scenarios focused on our action problem solutions

2/12:   (Meet at 5:30pm outside O’Hare this week on Wednesday

Take public transportation to Bronx Community Board 6 Meeting (Location: Bronx Charter School for Excellence, 1946 Bathgate Avenue. During this session, we observe how board member collaboration occurs at the action level

2/18:    No Class – Monday academic schedule – President’s Day

Module #4: “Responsibility, Leadership, and Civility”

As we graduate from the West Wing ILC, we reflect on what our responsibilities are to the Fordham community, the global world of business and industry, and the society in which we live. How can we aspire to positions of leadership while embodying the scrappy Ignatian ideal of being “men and women for others”?

2/25:  Current Events #11

Check-in #1: Progress Report on Implementing Policy Proposal

3/3:  Current Events #12

Super Tuesday Discussion

3/10:  Common Ground: Fordham students of The Political Union collaborate with WW students regarding how best to engage in civility discourse.

3/17:  No Class – University closed

3/24:  Fostering a Culture of Caring for the Whole Person: Workshop led by representatives of Fordham student      committee on sexual misconduct to end campus sexual assault

3/31:  Current Events #13

Check-in #2: Progress Report on Implementing Policy Proposal

4/7:   No Class

4/14:  Local Bronx artist Annie Legnini, FCRH ’16 discusses the intersection of Bronx history, on-the-ground leadership, and creating art from recycled materials,           Kindness Through Creation- artistic creations for Queens Nursing Home residents

4/21: Lessons Learned: Reflection with Mr. John Sanchez about realities of on-the-ground policy implementation

4/28:  End of Year Celebration               

Program Attendance & Service Learning Participation

In addition to our weekly class sessions, WW scholars participate in service-learning programs that highlight and develop the Ignatian skills of learning, sharing, serving, and reflecting.

Scholars participate in TWO service-learning programs: one with entire class, one on their own.

Entire Class Program:

Community Board 6 Collaborative Event: Bronx Youth Paid Internship & Job Fair (Saturday in April)

Examples of Programs On Your Own:

Murray-Weigel Hall Jesuit Infirmary                                       

Fordham CEL, Campus Ministry, Student Organization sponsored events                                                                                               Tutoring & Mentoring: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Grammar School                                                             Food Pantry & Meal Serving: Part of the Solution (POTS) community outreach                                           Or a program you complete with your WW small group           

West Wing ILC Team

Robert J. Hume, Ph.D., is Faculty Director of WW. Dr. Hume is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Fordham University with degrees from the College of the Holy Cross (B.A.) and the University of Virginia (M.A., Ph.D.), and has research interests in constitutional law and judicial politics. An accomplished scholar, teacher, and academic advisor, Professor Hume is in his 15th year of service to Fordham University and is an integral member of our WW-ILC team.

(Contact: rhume@fordham.edu, (718) 817-3964, Faber 669)

Robert J. Parmach, Ph.D., is Dean's Office liaison to the WW-ILC. Dr. Parmach is the Freshman Dean of FCRH, Faculty Director of the Manresa Scholars Program, and he teaches Philosophy and Theology. Dean Parmach holds degrees from Fairfield University (AB with Classics Distinction) and Fordham University (M.A., Ph.D.) and his teaching and academic scholarship includes philosophical and religious hermeneutics, ethics for young adults, and Jesuit education. Dean Parmach is in his 22st year of service to Fordham University.

(Contact: parmach@fordham.edu, (718) 817-5720, Keating 302)

Devin D’Agostino, FCRH ’20 is a senior in FCRH double majoring in Integrative Neuroscience and Philosophy with a minor in History. He is a member of the FCRH Honors Program and has served as a resident assistant for the past two years, last year for the Manresa-Loyola ILC. Devin is a volunteer with the South Bronx Educational Foundation’s Crotona Achievement Program, conducts research at the Fordham Memory and Aging Lab, and was a USG Senator, where he served on committees concerning sustainability, club operations, and sexual misconduct. He has interned with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Fordham University collaborative social science research study and youth development program, Project TRUE, acted as a research assistant in the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University, and served as a science educator at the Museum of Natural History. Devin is excited to help facilitate and contribute to this year's West Wing community. (Contact: ddagostino5@fordham.edu, (631) 603-1890, O'Hare Room 375)

 

Difficult Lessons That Make a Difference: Socrates with a Hint of Ignatius

By Robert J. Parmach, Fordham University

A hallmark of good philosophy is to make “distinctions that make a difference.” When developing, defending, and even derailing arguments, it’s essential to have a valid point to make – one guided by informed criticism, discernable purpose, and tact – not rash demolition or domination tactics alone. Senseless distinctions are just that – senseless. Maybe that’s why philosophy done poorly often gets (and deserves) a bad rep.

Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates (469–399 BCE) highlighted three types of thinking: ignorant, arrogant, and wise. (1) The ignorant person does not know that she does not know. At first glance, we pity her. But, we don’t let her get away with being ignorant for very long. We hold that she should learn soon enough and not use ignorance as an excuse for action or inaction. (2) The arrogant person thinks he knows but really does not know (and he’s usually pretentious and annoying). Claiming his supposed omniscience, he turns a deaf ear to learning from others. His is a lonely existence. (3) The wise person knows the limits of her knowledge; she recognizes that she does not know everything. She listens to self and others. Her receptive and humble ears are attuned to the world in action. The wise person is the humble person.

Though a difficult kind of conversation to have because it exposes error, self-criticism, and vulnerability, this lesson in humility is an essential part of Jesuit education. It works to move our students and faculty from clueless speculation to reasoned explanation, from ignorant and arrogant prejudice to discerned wisdom, false entitlement to receptive humility, and from groundless doubt to critical belief. It also teaches us a great deal about how self-knowledge, grace, and foul-ups are interlaced. St. Ignatius of Loyola encouraged us to embrace this daily labor of love – teaching self and others to become educated adults who patiently work hard, ask insightful questions, reflect deeply, and bring beauty, humor, and grit to life. But, what exactly do these humility conversations look like in everyday life? 

Consider the network of people in your Jesuit school (professor, classmate, administrator, coach, RA, counselor, resident minister, public safety officer, work study supervisor, academic advisor, Jesuit) who take the time to have those difficult, sometimes awkward, conversations that make a difference. These conversations not only challenge our ignorant and arrogant way of thinking and behaving, but they also say something about the character of the people surfacing these delicate themes. They tell you what you need to hear, not simply what you want to hear. They make distinctions for a reason: to build and transform, not berate and destroy. Consider the conversation between a professor and student after the student’s 3rd lateness to class and failed quiz in one week. The professor explains how a work ethic of punctuality and focus can help the student perform better in class. But, maybe the professor was ignorant of, or arrogantly dismissed, the commuter student’s competing responsibilities of job, financial hardship, and care of his younger siblings, which the student now admits candidly. After understanding these factors, the professor and student can both do some reflection about discerned priorities. Then, the professor can discuss why the student might need to have his own difficult conversation with his parents who, in turn, might not realize that these family responsibilities negatively affect his college academics even though he was always able to juggle them in high school. These conversations and distinctions really do matter for student, professor, and family alike. That’s humble care of the whole person.

Think about the uncomfortable conversation between a soccer coach and student player about why teammates don’t respect this player anymore because of her pompous attitude and false sense of entitlement on and off the field. This can be followed by an honest non-preachy explanation of how this situation is bad for team spirit as well as the player’s moral development. Or, consider the conversation that a student worker has with his work study supervisor to explain why he feels pressure to work uncompensated overtime and how this is causing awkwardness and animosity in the office.

Think of the many important conversations that challenge our myopic views. What does pop-culture idolize and demonize, and where do we stand in the spectrum as critically educated? At Jesuit schools, we’re called to work on this daily mission of decreasing ignorance and arrogance in the classroom, in clubs, in the gym, and in our spiritual lives. When we do this, we take a humble step closer to wisdom. Then, we can more clearly find God animated in our lives and world. As Ignatius reminds us, “he who wishes to reform the world must begin with himself, or else he loses his labor.” So, let’s not forget to do our homework: take some time for daily self-inventory and have those difficult conversations that transform. They hallmark our Jesuit education and really make a difference. My Fordham students and colleagues continue to teach me that wisdom lesson everyday.

West Wing Fall 2019 Syllabus

WEST WING SCHOLARS PROGRAM:

ILC FOR IGNATIAN LEADERSHIP & CIVIC SERVICE

SYMP 0010-R01;   Fall 2019;   Tuesday 7:00-8:15pm

Dr. Hume, Dean Parmach, RA & Intern Devin Dagostino

ILC Classroom 364, O’Hare Hall Residential College

West Wing (WW) at Fordham University provides an Ignatian leadership and service integrated learning community for sophomores and juniors of Fordham College at Rose Hill and the Gabelli School of Business. Recognizing the value of interdisciplinary study, WW connects such topics as government policy-making, public service, social justice, and effective leadership in the Jesuit tradition, in order to inspire exemplary and well-rounded scholars confident in their abilities to effect change both at Fordham University and in the world.

Module Structure: WW is a year-long sequence of two 1-credit Pass/Fail seminars which addresses four academic and community engaged learning modules (two in fall semester, two in spring semester).

Module #1: “Ignatian Vocation, Empowerment, & Public Service Today”

In this module, we reflect on what one’s vocation (calling) in life means and linkages to public service as members of Fordham and its neighboring communities. We then identify concrete public policy problems that need action, and consider our response and service as contributing members of the Bronx community.

9/3: Welcome Dinner & Introduction to Course Objectives; Visit by representatives from Crotona Achievement Program and Rosedale Achievement Program

9/10: Current Events #1

Introduction to Action Problems: Dr. Hume and RA & Intern Devin facilitate a discussion on the value of public service, with a special focus on action problems for our Fordham campus and neighboring communities

Reading: selection from Andrew Sullivan on the problem of polarization in America today & Blackboard post

9/17: Current Events #2

Interactive Workshop: Dean Parmach and RA & Intern Devin facilitate a conversation with students about 3 specific public policy issues requiring action

Complete the Blackboard Post

9/24: Current Events #3

Critical Reflection: Dr. Arto Woodley and Vanessa Rotondo from Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning office (CCEL) 

10/1: Current Events #4

Ritchie Torres, councilmember district 15, to speak about on-the-ground civic engagement and understanding local problems at the action level

Reading: brief selections on Blackboard & Blackboard Post

10/8: Current Events #5

Colloquium with Fordham’s Young Alumni Committee: “Jesuit Soft Skills to Develop Right Now” (How eloquentia perfecta, taking initiative, asking discerning questions, and presenting oneself clearly and concisely prepare students for meaningful civically engaged lives)

Reading: selection from Career Services literature

10/15: No WW class due to University Midterm Exam Period -- Proposals sent to WW Team via email

Module #2: “Accountability, Serving Others, & Ignatian Leadership”

Fordham’s Core Curriculum Mission Statement asserts that our transforming Ignatian education involves a deep commitment to service. It states: “The humanistically educated do not stand by as idle spectators of suffering and strife, but attempt to serve others and the communities to which they belong, that is, their families, their neighborhoods, their countries, and the world.”

What qualities and leadership models do we expect from government leaders? How can we be effective Fordham student leaders who serve the public good? To what extent should we be held accountable as leaders in our community? Such questions frame the context of this second module.

10/22: Current Events #6

Theory-in-Action: John Sanchez, CB6 district manager

10/29: Current Events #7

Colloquium on Democratic Primary Elections: Dr. Hume leads this interactive discussion

Reading: selection on primary elections

11/5: Current Events #8

7:30pm Start Tonight - Ignatian Yoga Night: Carol Gibney, Dean Parmach and RA & Intern Devin lead this session

Reading: selection on Ignatian mindfulness and spiritual well-being

11/12: Current Events #9

Interactive EP Workshop: WW Team facilitates this session

Blackboard preparatory exercise

11/19: Current Events #10

Student Presentations: In groups, all students present individual 1-minute Elevator Pitches

Blackboard submission of Elevator Pitches

11/26: Thanksgiving Week: No WW Class 

12/3: Current Events #11

Student Presentations: Selection of Final 2 Proposals

Group Presentation

EP Presentation:

On 11/19, each student delivers a 1-minute Elevator Pitch that argues why your public policy problem requires action, particularly at the Fordham community level. (Fall semester focus is on identifying problems, not solutions)

On 12/3, WW students are organized into groups presenting more developed versions of two final proposals.  

Program Attendance & Community Engaged Learning

In addition to our weekly class sessions, WW scholars participate in community engaged learning programs that highlight and develop the Ignatian skills of learning, sharing, serving, and reflecting.

Scholars participate in THREE programs: one with entire class, two of your choice with fellow WW members.

Entire Class Program:

Drew Gardens, Bronx Community Partner Clean-Up, 9/14, 10am-2pm                                                                                                                                                                   

Examples of Programs with other WW members:

Murray-Weigel Hall Jesuit Infirmary                                       

Fordham Ignatian Week sponsored events                                                                                                Tutoring & Mentoring: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Grammar School                                                          Belmont Community Public Library youth reading program                                                                      Food Pantry & Meal Serving: Part of the Solution (POTS) community outreach          

St. Francis Xavier Welcome Table Food Pantry Ministry, Chelsea NY, 10am-4pm                                        

Community Board 6 toy drive and Christmas Celebration with children

Habitat for Humanity/NY Cares

*Or others approved by WW Team                 

                                                                                                   

West Wing ILC Team

Robert J. Hume, Ph.D., is Faculty Director of WW. Dr. Hume is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Fordham University with degrees from the College of the Holy Cross (B.A.) and the University of Virginia (M.A., Ph.D.), and has research interests in constitutional law and judicial politics. An accomplished scholar, teacher, and academic advisor, Professor Hume is in his 15th year of service to Fordham University and is an integral member of our WW-ILC team.

(Contact: rhume@fordham.edu, (718) 817-3964, Faber 669)

Robert J. Parmach, Ph.D., is Dean's Office liaison to the WW-ILC. Dr. Parmach is the Freshman Dean of FCRH, Faculty Director of the Manresa Scholars Program, and he teaches Philosophy and Theology. Dean Parmach holds degrees from Fairfield University (AB with Classics Distinction) and Fordham University (M.A., Ph.D.) and his teaching and academic scholarship includes philosophical and religious hermeneutics, ethics for young adults, and Jesuit education. Dean Parmach is in his 22st year of service to Fordham University.

(Contact: parmach@fordham.edu, (718) 817-5720, Keating 302)

Devin D’Agostino, FCRH ’20 is a senior in FCRH double majoring in Integrative Neuroscience and Philosophy with a minor in History. He is a member of the FCRH Honors Program and has served as a resident assistant for the past two years, last year for the Manresa-Loyola ILC. Devin is a volunteer with the South Bronx Educational Foundation’s Crotona Achievement Program, conducts research at the Fordham Memory and Aging Lab, and was a USG Senator, where he served on committees concerning sustainability, club operations, and sexual misconduct. He has interned with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Fordham University collaborative social science research study and youth development program, Project TRUE, acted as a research assistant in the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University, and served as a science educator at the Museum of Natural History. Devin is excited to help facilitate and contribute to this year's West Wing community. (Contact: ddagostino5@fordham.edu, (631) 603-1890, O'Hare Room 375

 

 

Super Brief Sketch of Ignatius of Loyola

By Robert J. Parmach, Fordham University

 

Íñigo López de Loyola (1491-1556) was born into an aristocratic family in the Basque region of Northern Spain. As a vain young man, he was captivated by military prowess, honor, chivalry, and the pursuit of material wealth. Known to brawl and sword fight (usually after a night of drinking), the hot headed Íñigo was no stranger to sexual conquest as he worked to arrange a cozy life of pleasure, privilege, and power. When he was 24, a criminal charge of “nocturnal misdemeanors” was on his police record which landed him and his brother, Pedro, in prison. Íñigo was an experienced sinner before an inexperienced saint.

An unexpected shift quickly occurred. While fighting as a military officer against the French in the Battle at Pamplona in 1521, a cannonball shattered Íñigo’s right knee and severely wounded his left. In two seconds, these two injuries marked the beginning of two subsequent realities: a noticeable lifelong limp for the vain courtier, and a huge roadblock in his executive fast track strategy. After a long and painful year of convalescence, sheer boredom (remember, there was no Instagram), and troubling spiritual doubts and awakenings, Íñigo did some soul searching by way of critical self-inventory and prayer. And it profoundly affected him psychologically, socially, ethically, and spiritually.

Íñigo was indeed changing and decided that he simply could not keep living as planned. His body was healing, but his soul was starving. The soldier surrendered and recast himself as a different type of warrior – a scrappy soldier for Christ. He would take the name of Ignatius (presumably given his devotion to Ignatius of Antioch) and begin a lifelong labor of love in which he, along with his college roommates Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, would build one of the world’s largest and most respected religious orders and educational philosophies called Jesuit. It would have one simple yet challenging goal: transforming one soul at a time. This Jesuit care of the whole person (body, mind, spirit) educational approach continues to shape millions of students throughout the centuries. In addition, Ignatius’ best known spiritual legacy is the workbook he wrote called The Spiritual Exercises in which meditation, prayer, and imagination guide one along the path of transformation through the lens of intellect, faith, and engaged questioning.

Throughout his life, Ignatius continued to wrestle with fears, doubts, and desires. He worked to unpack his faith, the world, and the God he served. He worked to hone skills of patience, critical scrutiny, and gratitude, and by uniting in word and deed what he truly desired – to see God in all things. Ignatius’ journey was arduous, not effortless or instantaneous. And like so many things that are meaningful, Ignatius’ own story teaches us that we need quality time in our WW community to question, tackle, doubt, discern, absorb, and energize as we care for the development of the whole person as intellectual, ethical, and spiritual young adults who are civically engaged in the world today.