February Personal Care
- President's Post
- 2019 JASPA Conference Registration and Hotel Details
- JASPA Conference Roundtable Facilitators
- Annual Award Nominations
- Innovation Grant Applications
- February Blog: Niecy Riley, Loyola Marymount University
In this winter season, we focus our newsletter on the value of Cura Personalis – one of the most central, and most frequently over-simplified, tenets of Jesuit education. While all the intentions are positive, I too often hear Cura Personalis defined simply as “care for the whole person”, as if it’s just a Latin synonym for that concept. As I have learned from several Jesuit colleagues, there is a bit more to the story than that.
The origins of Cura Personalis are found in guidance for how Jesuit superiors should engage with the novices and the newer Jesuits under their care. It has been adapted from there, and is now widely used to describe the approach we should strive for with our students in Jesuit educational settings. There is a strong emphasis on considering the particular circumstances and gifts and challenges of each person. Many of us know that Ignatian pedagogy begins with careful attention to context, and that can be viewed as analogous to Cura Personalis. Both concepts call us to consider the particular, rather than relying on generalizations. Both also emphasize the unique ways God is calling us to use our gifts and to care for each other.
What does this mean for our practice? Ignatian writers like Howard Gray, SJ urge us to begin with attention – to really look and listen, and to take each individual person and situation seriously. The necessary precondition for truly caring for a person is being attentive and taking that person seriously. Each of us is presented with this opportunity on a daily basis. When talking with an upset parent, do we begin with a focus on winning the argument, or do we start by truly listening to their experiences, their emotions, and their intentions? In addressing a heated conflict between students, do we start by insisting on an outcome, or rather by taking each student seriously, and attending to their motivations, their needs, and their hopes. In coaching a colleague who is struggling with motivation, do we launch into a general pep talk,or begin with an openness to what that colleague is experiencing right now?
As we prepared to gather in Los Angeles for our annual conference, I want to thank you for all the thoughtful and individualized care you provide to students, to colleagues, to your institution, and to JASPA. I wish you discernment, enthusiasm, and peace as you move through the heart of this academic year, and into the springtime that is waiting for us!
I am grateful to my Georgetown Jesuit colleagues Mark Bosco, SJ; Matthew Carnes, SJ; and Greg Schenden, SJ for their thoughts and guidance in developing this essay.
Gray, Howard, SJ. The experience of Ignatius Loyola: Background to Jesuit education. In The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum: 400th anniversary perspectives. (2000)
Todd Olson, PhD
2019 JASPA Conference Registration, Hotel and Transportation Details
2019 JASPA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
A Place for All
Join your colleagues on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Loyola Marymount University for the 2019 Annual Conference and Awards Banquet.
JASPA Conference Roundtable Facilitators
The planning committee for the conference at LMU is seeking facilitators for break-out sessions or round-table discussions at the annual conference. The registration form requested suggestions for “the hot topics on your campus, in your region, in Jesuit higher education, or higher education in general that you would like to see covered in break-out sessions?” Our membership has provided us with the following broad areas as suggestions:
- Cultural competence, Diversity, Inclusive Excellence
- Proposed DOE Title IX regulation
- Supporting LGBTQ student populations at Jesuit Higher Education
- Staying ahead of the digital times: what is everyone using
- Church sex abuse crisis and impact on Jesuit Higher Education
If you've presented a session at another conference or on your campus and would like to repeat it for JASPA, that would be great! If you're willing to facilitate / guide a discussion on one of the topics, let us know. The JASPA Planning Committee is willing to generate topical discussion questions for you if desired. Simply complete this form.
Each session is slated for 75 minutes. Please let us know by Monday, February 4th.
Annual Award Nominations: LAST CHANCE, DUE TONIGHT!
How to Submit
All award descriptions, requirements, and nomination forms are available on our website. To submit, you much sign in using a Google account or create a new Google account using your work email address. Annual award nominations are due TONIGHT by 11:59pm PST.
All JASPA award recipients will be announced at the JASPA Meeting in March, and listed on the JASPA website. If you have questions about any of the awards or the submission process, please contact Aris Mosier, the Chair of the JASPA Recognition & Awards Selection Committee at email@example.com or 310.338.7620.
Innovation Grant Applications
Each year, JASPA will award a limited number of grants for the purpose of applying current research to address pressing issues in Jesuit student affairs. While proposals for all projects/programs that address the goals and values of JASPA are welcome, special emphasis will be placed on those that are focused on efforts promoting diversity and inclusion.
Between $8,000 and $10,000 will be available to fund these initiatives each year. Proposals will be accepted until all funding is dispersed; however, priority will be given to proposals received by Monday, April 1st, 2019. Decisions will be made in June, and grants will be awarded in the new fiscal year. More information and the application can be found here .
Please contact Shannon Howes at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, and/or if you are interested in serving on a committee to review grant applications. The committee commitment will be limited in time, with most of the work taking place over the course of a few weeks in April, 2019.
Let's Address It: Cura Personalis
Cura personalis: the hallmark of Ignatian spirituality. Care for the whole person. But what is care, and how do we show it appropriately? Universities across the nation, Jesuit schools especially, are grappling with this concept of resiliency. We form task forces and committees around the topic. We ensure the subject is a bullet point on our agendas. We wrack our brains to figure out how we can best support our students so that they can have grit, persevere through challenge, and become…resilient. We take pride in the fact that we’re high touch and provide a top notch level of attention to our students. We have structures in place to ensure that when our students fall, they never hit the ground. Instead, they fall ever so nicely in our carefully grasped hands and soft hearts. After all, that’s how we show the love that God has shown us. That’s the true embodiment of cura personalis… right?
College is transformative. It is filled with exploration, knowledge, creativity, and trial. It’s a place where you find belonging, fall in love, and make friends! College is also the place where you experience pain, walk through sadness, and at times feel like the world is against you. College is the introduction to true adulthood. As student affairs professionals, our job is to guide our students through their college years and help them gain the skills necessary to thrive upon graduation. And yes, one of those skills is resiliency.
But resiliency isn’t taught, it’s learned. It’s learned by falling on their faces while those who love them provide them the tools to get back up without actually lending their hand. Resiliency is learned by being rejected and having to muster up enough self-love to keep their heads held high. It’s learned by failing to uphold the standards of their community and having to face the consequences of their actions. Resiliency is learned by sitting in sorrow and pain and disappointment. Yes, cura personalis is being a support system for our students in their times of need. But that doesn’t mean we lessen the blow. It means we ensure that they know their resources and we allow them to figure it out on their own.
Let's keep it 100: How many times have we asked God to sit at the end of our bed and just tell us what to do? How many times have we asked God to take our pain and hurt away? How many times have we asked God to do the work for us? In my experience, more times than I can remember. And each time God reminds me that I have to do the work. He reminds me that he’s always here to protect me from forces unseen, including myself. He is sure to explain to me that he’s already made a way, I just need to have faith in the skills he’s equipped me with. He allows me to scrape my knee, cry rivers, and be in my feelings. He waits patiently until I get it together in my own time. He watches as I sit in the damage because he knows the structure he’s laid out for me and the resources he’s given me. This is cura personalis.
This is the model we should be following. It’s not up to us to hold our students hands through their journeys. It’s our jobs to properly equip them and allow life to educate them. Resiliency is learned, not given. Of course we can protect them at times, it’s in our nature! But we also must be sure to let life hit them (sometimes hard). Part of caring for the whole person is allowing them to experience… life. Consider this the next time a student doesn’t get accepted into the organization they wanted, or doesn’t get the RA job they interviewed for, or got a conduct sanction that drastically changed the course of their college career. It’s not the end of their world. If given time, they’ll also realize this.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Niecy Riley, Loyola Marymount University
Originally from Chicago, IL, Niecy serves as the Assistant Director of Staffing & Upper Division in the Student Housing Office at Loyola Marymount University. Niecy primarily oversees selection, training, and development of student and professional staff. LMU is Niecy's second Jesuit institution as she previously worked as a Resident Director at Loyola University Chicago.