Mercy Mondays: The McAuley Institute for Mercy Education
What constitutes a Mercy education? What does it mean to be an institution grounded in the ethos of the Sisters of Mercy? The McAuley Institute for Mercy Education, which began this year at Salve Regina under the Office of Mission Integration, seeks to advance the vocation of Salve Regina through the development of interdepartmental research, teaching and University initiatives that foster an ethic of dialogue and action around the tradition and critical concerns of mercy and contribute to the development of Mercy, Catholic higher education into the 21st century.
The Mercy Interdisciplinary Faculty Collaboratives
One of the first initiatives created by the McAuley Institute was the development of the Mercy Interdisiplinary Faculty Collaboratives. These collaboratives bring together faculty from across academic departments to mutually advance teaching, research and University initiatives related to the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy.
Two faculty collaboratives have now been convened: one focused on the critical concern of earth and one focused on the critical concern of race. Each collaborative is comprised of six faculty McAuley Scholars who receive a small grant to underwrite their work and are encouraged to dedicate a portion of their grant funds to engage one or more student research assistants in their project.
In the first year of the collaboratives, McAuley Scholars have convened monthly in shared seminars to develop, present and engage one another’s work, with student researchers invited to participate in related collaborative seminars. These seminars have continued throughout the spring and fall in an online modality. In the spring of 2021, each collaborative will develop a public offering for the campus community to share their work and advance community dialogue and action around the critical concerns of Mercy.
Highlights of McAuley Scholar initiatives include: “Translating Climate Research for Social Impact through Art and Story” by Dr. Heather Axen, ”Environmental Justice through Civic Engagement” by Dr. Craig Condella, “Biophilia” by Jodie Mim Goodnough, “Africanist Aesthetics and Equity in Jazz Dance” by Lindsay Guarino, “A Cross-Cultural Content Analysis of Cover Models in Nigerian and Kenyan Women’s Magazines” by Dr. Oyenike Balogun-Mwangi, “Developing an Undergraduate Course on the Intersections of Religion and Race in American history” by Dr. Timothy Neary. A full listing of all McAuley Scholar projects can be found here.
The Mercy Leadership Colloquium
The McAuley Institute also sponsors the Mercy Leadership Colloquium. The colloquium is a four-part mission integration series for Salve Regina administrators and staff to engage resources from the Mercy, Catholic tradition, vocationally reflect on their lived experiences, and cultivate practices of mercy leadership across our campus community. Two cohorts of administrators and staff have already participated in the colloquium, and a third cohort is planned for this spring.
“The Mercy Leadership Colloquium was a wonderful opportunity to share conversations surrounding our shared mission with colleagues from across the campus community,” one participating staff member reflected. “I looked forward each month to gathering, talking, learning and discovering more about mercy, the Catholic tradition and the many perspectives that make Salve a place where students truly become part of something bigger.”
Looking to the future
The McAuley Institute will also be launchig the Mercy Faculty Forum this academic year for new full-time faculty members. This mission integration series for each cohort of new faculty provides an opportunity to engage resources from the Mercy, Catholic tradition and reflect together on their vocations as teaching-scholars within the landscape of Mercy Higher Education at the start of their Salve Regina careers.
The current initiatives of the McAuley Institute have been underwritten by small grants from the Lilly Fellows Program and the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), as well as the generous support of a Kathleen B. Walgreen, who is a committed Salve Regina University trustee. As the work of the McAuley Institute continues to develop, plans are in the works for a quarterly lecture series and projects such as the Voices of Mercy. For more information, please visit the McAuley Institute’s website.
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.