October 18, 2012
Location: Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters, Columbus, OhioMeeting with the Leadership Group of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the Director of Founded Ministries
President Julia M. McNamara
6 Participants, including Dominican Sisters Margaret Ormond, Prioress; Gene Poore, Therese Leckert, Gemma Doll, Joan Scanlon; and Maria Ciriello
The meeting, requested by Dr. McNamara as part of the Collaborative Strategic Planning effort now in process at Albertus Magnus College, was called to order by Sr. Margaret Ormond and began with prayer. Dr. McNamara gave an overview of the five phases of the Collaborative Strategic Planning (CSP) work that is now in its seventh month at the College. She explained that this particular meeting is an important part of the data gathering work that is now underway. She said that her assignment for this meeting is (1) to present overview information about the CSP and (2) to ask the Leadership Group members for their input regarding a number of specific and key questions about the College and about expectations, hopes for its future endeavors as an academic institution. She reported to the group that today’s session is essential because of the sponsorship relationship which the College enjoys with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. She also noted that other members of the Congregation who have been connected with the College have also been contacted for their input regarding these and similar reflection questions which relate to the development of strategies for future consideration and possible action.
During the session, the following comments, responses and suggestions were mentioned during a conversation that lasted for about 45 minutes:
1. The Sisters are very positive about their relationships with their educational ministries and view their commitment to the sponsorship of the three higher education institutions which were each originally founded by one of their predecessor congregations as important and vibrant aspects of their service in the Church;
2. It is clear that the Dominican Sisters of Peace place great value on the contemporary and updated mission of Albertus Magnus College (the search for truth in all of its dimensions; and the provision of an education that is practical in its application); the importance which the Sisters place on the College’s commitment to the Catholic and Dominican mission and purposes cannot be overstated here. The conversation focused on the academic aspects of the College as this relates to the Catholic and Dominican intellectual tradition. The recent efforts at Albertus to place special emphasis on the relationship of the College to the overall mission of the Dominican Order have been noticed and appreciated by the Sisters. We discussed that fact that since there are fewer Sisters who serve at Albertus at present, it is imperative that alternative ways of stressing the real relationship with the Dominican tradition and history are key components of maintaining the mission and vision (“Contemplata aliis tradere” and “VERITAS”) now and in future.
3. It was pointed out that the meetings for Board Chairs and Presidents of the Founded Ministries which would take place on October 18—19, 2012 are an important way to focus annually on the link between the sponsorship relationship between the Sisters and the institutions themselves.
4. Regarding Albertus Magnus College, it was noted that the College has, since its founding, consistently served “underserved” populations. The College’s fidelity to this aspect of its mission is reflected in the fact that Albertus serves significant numbers of persons who are part of minority communities in Connecticut and neighboring States (approximately 37% of the 2012—2013 enrollment). It was pointed out that this type of service is also a major commitment for the Dominican Sisters whose mission is oriented towards service to the poor of this world.
5. The Leadership Group appreciates the fact that the College has placed new emphasis on the relationship to its Founders and that this creates a stronger link with the sponsoring congregation.
6. There was brief consideration about “Albertus 5 or 10 years from now”: What would the College look like going forward? Given the economic situation nationally, how will small colleges fare financially? There was agreement that these issues need to be confronted in a straightforward manner always recognizing that the core mission and purposes of this educational institution cannot be compromised; and that attention must also be paid to the “signs of the times” and to the realities of the marketplace (costs; competition; the effects of information technology on academic life in the U.S., etc.) in higher education today. There were suggestions regarding (a) prospective fundraising and development activities, and (b) the use of social media outlets to promote enrollment growth at the College.
7. Finally, the Sisters discussed the actual relationships with the educational ministries which they sponsor, specifically, in this case, Albertus Magnus College: while the relationship has changed over the past 15—20 years, especially since there are few Dominican Sisters of Peace in place at the College, it is essential that all of those who serve at the College in leadership roles, maintain a clear link with the Congregation and that this link be made explicit and continue to be celebrated within the College Community.
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