Ignatian Values

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Ignatian Values
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As a Jesuit Institution, it is part of our mission to integrate the Ignatian values into all that we do.  Those values are listed below with brief descriptions of possible ways of integrating them into a class, both online and traditionally.

Magis is the term used most frequently to define the spirit of the Ignatian stance.  It is defined as the "spirit of generous excellence" .  A generous helping of anything is a large or abundant serving of it.  Imagine your class with an abundance of excellence, imagine reviewing each component of your class with the intention of making it the best it can be to serve the students.  Then imagine intentionally reflecting on the purpose of your class to determine what components you may need to develop to further the learning of the students as they reach toward those goals.
Magis must also be incorporated in the work you ask of your students.  The assignments given them must detail the specific goals the work is intended to assist them in mastering.  The depth of the work they hand in must reflect the modeling you give them in demonstrating that excellence. 

Discernment is a value but it is a practice as well.  It is the practice of critically questioning the work we are doing and reflecting on its effectiveness and impact on others.  It is intentionally reviewing our work to ascertain its effectiveness in reaching the goals we have set.
We are asked to teach this practice to our students.  Through  modeling and guidance, we can instill in our students the practice of looking constructively at the work they are doing in an effort at making it the best it can be.

I have in the past stifled a laugh when I see the phrase "men and women for others".  It is the by line for the high school my sons attend.  It seems an impossible claim to state that at an age when students are characteristically self centered and quite concerned about their image in front of others, the instructors will craft in them behaviors to do quite the opposite.  And yet it happens.  There is a component in each class that requires the articulation of ways that the knowledge learned will allow the students to better serve the community.  If they can do this with adolescent boys, what can we expect, what can we draw on for the college student?  Ask yourself what perspective needs to be pointed out so that your students will see what effect your class can have in other realms.  How can they use the material from your class to have an impact on others?  You may be surprised by their answers, and refreshed by the stance of their minds.

Now become a bit more focused.  Use the impact you have found from your class and apply it to a faithful stance, a stance for justice.  How can you offer this possibility to your students?  If your students are working in the area of business, can they use their skills to assist those in lower income areas that are trying to go into business on their own?  If your students are soon to be teachers, is there an inner city school where they could tutor children, or assist the teachers?  The health sciences provide many opportunities in clinics in poor areas.  What bend can your students take that would use the material and skills you have taught them in a way that is beneficial to those who normally can't get such services?

Contemplation in action assumes action.  We often only get that far.  But it is critical to reflect on what is being done, the motives for it, the effect it is having, the sensitivity of the process, the sentiments of those involved.  Contemplation must be carried out in every action to assure that ours is a compassionate stance, that our motives are self-less, that we and our students are learning in all this how better to serve.  It is not the action that we will learn from here, but the contemplation or reflection on that action. 
Writing in a journal facilitates this well.  Journals can be shared with partners, with instructors, with mentors in the field.  They can be personal and private with just a summary statement required every on a regular basis. But however it is done, the articulation of the learning that comes from reflecting on the actions is critical to the growth of the student and the implementation of this value. 

What has occurred so far?  We have questioned, served and reflected on that service.  We have established a relationship with those we have served and that relationship has broadened our experience and enriched us.  What can we recognize in the bond that has formed, in the work we share?  There is a spirit found in companionship, and even more so when coupled with service to each other.  Sensing that spirit gives us cause to look for it in many places, and in that looking, we will see it. 
How can we provide this for our students?  How can we bring them to see this spirit, so that then they will know to look for it in other places?  We can listen to their questions, grant them the opportunities to serve, guide them in their reflections and be present to them.  In doing so, we nurture their growth and find ourselves nurtured as well.