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College of Arts and Sciences

Seton Hall and Catholic Studies Director to Lead International Scholarly Working Group  

Image of Ines Murzaku As part of its membership in the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) network, Seton Hall University will oversee an intercontinental working group focused on exploring how the Catholic Intellectual Tradition can be integrated into curriculum for all disciplines.

Led by Director of Catholic Studies Ines Murzaku, Ph.D., the group will bring together scholars from IFCU affiliated universities from around the world to collaboratively engage in ongoing "think-tank" style discussions on how to infuse the Catholic Intellectual Tradition into each university's curriculum.

Educating on the integration of the Church's dialogue with disciplines such as history, philosophy, diplomacy, the sciences and more is key component behind the curriculum of the interdisciplinary program in Catholic Studies – a critical reason around why the University was selected to guide this partnership among IFCU affiliated universities.

"The IFCU working group intends to build on Seton Hall's strengths in study and practice – to open conversation on the theoretical and practical applications of studying faith and reason," commented Murzaku. "The group will benefit from dialogue and shared experiences of international scholars and educators. It is a unique initiative that will bring together a series of experts from different backgrounds around a much-awaited common cause, a crucial one for all Catholic universities. We are sure that the group's work will inspire many Catholic institutions across the world."

Specifically, Murzaku hopes the group will lead to creative innovations and inspirations for Catholic institutions across the world, as well as encourage partners to leverage the model and framework used by the University's Catholic Studies Program.

Leading the international group is closely in line with the University's strategic plan Harvest Our Treasures – which provides a strong emphasis on developing and promoting the Catholic identity of the University – and the newly convened Committee on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

"The partnership with the IFCU puts our university, and the creative ways of applying mission, in a leadership position among Catholic universities. I hope Seton Hall's model of innovative interdisciplinarity, the expertise of our faculty and our flagship programs will have long-lasting impact on Catholic higher education," added Katia Passerini, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice President.

IFCU's Secretary General François Mabille commented on the University's central role in this working group: "The Catholic world is one and diverse; and Catholic universities are very representative of this situation. The partnership between Seton Hall and the IFCU is essential, since it involves relying on the experience and expertise of Seton Hall to create an international working group around the theme of Catholic Studies… [a theme] so essential for the identity of our universities."

Participation in this new initiative also underscores the University's international recognition as a leader in putting Catholic mission into action. Father Colin Kay, President of Mission and Ministry, noted, "This is a great honor for Seton Hall and our Catholic mission and identity. Leading the working group puts Seton Hall on the vanguard of Catholic education where mission is lived and connected to every school and discipline. This is what I call mission in action and interaction, reaching students right where they are and just how they are in the midst of their lives in progress – as Pope Francis wrote in his message to the Pontifical Mission Societies."

The practical living out of shared values, through service, is a focus and goal of the IFCU's Catholic Studies working group. Dr. Montserrat Alom, Director of the International Centre for Research and Decision Support, IFCU, explained, "This international group will contribute to actively promoting the application of the rich learnings provided by the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to everyday life issues."

Georita M. Frierson, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology, emphasized the milestone allows the University to serve at the forefront of leading the Catholic Intellectual Tradition around the world. "The new working group supports the mission of College of Arts and Sciences which fosters a value-centered, technologically enhanced education that enables the personal and professional development of its community of learners," said Frierson.

The University joined the IFCU in June 2021, becoming part of a diverse, collective federation that includes more than 200 Catholic universities and higher education worldwide. As part of the membership, Seton Hall continues to establish international partnerships to facilitate global collaboration including those with the University of South Sudan, the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (Mexico) and other Catholic universities.

Categories: Faith and Service