A recent publication by College of Education and Human Services faculty Bryan Meadows. Ph.D., appears in the Journal of Catholic Education, a peer-reviewed journal hosted online by Loyola Marymount University and edited by the University of Notre Dame. According to the website, the journal is "committed to contributing research and encouraging best practice in Catholic elementary, secondary, and higher education".
Professor Meadows's article speaks to undergraduate student engagement in the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching (CST): Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community, and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities; Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; Care for God's Creation. Specifically, the article illustrates the contribution comparative education and study abroad can make to deeper student engagement in the themes.
The article builds an illustrative case study from an undergraduate Core III course, Engaging the World: Comparative Education Studies through Study Abroad which Professor Meadows leads to Tokyo annually during spring semesters. The design of the course is to lead students from declarative knowledge about the seven CST themes into deeper engagement with the themes at the personal and conceptual level. Meadows presents the case study in the classroom artifacts students completed before and following the study abroad portion of the class.
In addition, Meadows refers to student interviews he completed with students following the close of the class. In this way, the case study is formulated in the perspectives and perceptions of the students as they articulated using their own words.
In his conclusions, Meadows underscores the unique contributions comparative education and study abroad can make to student engagement with CST themes in a university setting. With comparative education, students are invited into the universality of the CST themes in the way that they discern CST themes in one public schooling system (i.e., a familiar one) against another (i.e., an unfamiliar one). In addition, the study abroad experience – as a form of experiential learning – provides a platform for students to heighten their personal relationship with the CST themes. In both comparative education and study abroad, students have a unique opportunity to explore CST themes beneath and beyond the level of straight-forward declarative knowledge.