May Newsletter: Reflection
- President's Post
- Summer Recommended Reading List
- Mission Moment
- 2020 JASPA Summer Institute: Save the Date!
- Network News
- March Blog: Madeline Vitek Memenza, Georgetown University
Our theme for this month is reflection, and it is perhaps the most common Ignatian principle we rely on in Jesuit education. There are many sources of inspiration about reflection, but I will start in a rather odd place – my iPhone. On my phone, I have more than 2000 photos and 25 or 30 videos stored – with many from this past academic year. These photos capture moments of connection, of celebration, of ceremony, and of transition. Whether the photo portrays a tree in bloom or a group of students smiling after a team victory, that photo can transport us back to that time and place.
This photo captures a small part of our 50th Anniversary Celebration last Fall of our Community Scholars Program, which has been providing enhanced educational opportunity for a multicultural cohort of first-generation college students across all those decades.
One key element of the Spiritual Exercises is the idea of “composition of place” – an encouragement to an individual who is reflecting to imagine a specific setting, with its colors and smells and sounds. This argues that our imagination and our reflection are fueled by the particular – by the details of our days, our places, and even our photos. My encouragement to you, as we wrap up another academic year, is to look back at your own “particular” – the afternoons and late nights and familiar places and new acquaintances who have composed your year. You may even find some of these in your photo library. Those digital images may be a spark for reflection – leading you to gratitude, to restlessness, to a new understanding or a fresh resolve.
As you pose with graduates or departing colleagues in the next few weeks, and as you snap images of all that’s happening around you, remember that the tools for reflection and for composition of place may be right there – just a click away behind your Photos icon. Sometimes we look to the great thinkers of our tradition for inspiration as we reflect. Sometimes we seek our own quiet center as a starting point. At some other times, this simple gift of modern technology can invite us to reflect in powerful and fruitful ways.
So, in this season of transitions, I wish you festive images to carry with you, and the grace to see what those images might mean for your inner life.
Todd Olson, Phd
Summer Reading List - call for recommendations!
Please contact Shannon Howes at firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend books, articles, or other readings related to our mission-based work in Jesuit colleges and universities. Shannon will compile a list of readings that may be of interest to JASPA colleagues.
Please send suggestions by June 14th so Shannon can share this information in the July edition of the JASPA Newsletter as a list of recommended reading for the summer months.
The theme for the May newsletter is reflection. A common form of reflection on our campuses is the Ignatian practice of the Daily Examen. As the academic year winds to a close, I am drawn to Paul Brian Campbell, S.J.’s adaptation of the Ignatian Examen for Managers that is available through IgnatianSpirituality.com
Whether or not you are a manager, of people or things, I encourage you to find time in your busy day to consider Fr. Campbell’s invitation to this practice.
Review of the Day for Managers
By Paul Brian Campbell, SJ
Imagine you’re at home at the end of another busy day at work. You plop down in front of the TV and, instead of some dumb quiz show, you’re looking at yourself going through the day at work.
Some leaders like to simply watch the day unfold like a movie and then reflect on certain aspects of it; others prefer to pause the “movie” at certain points to think about what just happened.
Some questions you might ask yourself:
From your perspective as a manager, what was the high point of the day?
- Can you discern a pattern in what constitutes high points?
- What can you do to increase the number and duration of these high points?
The low point of the day”…Again, look for reasons and patterns.
- What would you do differently if you were given the chance for a “do over”?
- How can you decrease the likelihood of repeating the same kinds of low points?
When were you working at your best during the day?
- Recall as many details as you can. What made it your best work?
- Were you working alone? With others?
- Who brings out the best (and worst) in you? Why?
When did you struggle to stay focused and engaged?
- What were you doing that challenged your focus?
- Was this an isolated incident, or is this something you deal with a lot of the time?
How hectic was the day?
- Do you prefer to be busy and on-the-go all the time, or would you rather have more time to pause and reflect? Why?
Think about each of your direct reports. Imagine how he/she might have pictured interacting with you.
- Do you think there might be a disconnect between his/her perceptions and reality? Why?
- What concrete things could you do to improve communication between you and your direct reports?
Look toward tomorrow.
- Are you going to make any changes in your demeanor, communication styles, and attitudes?
- What are you going to do to help your direct reports work more effectively and with greater satisfaction?
For me, one of the most important aspects of the Daily Examen is gratitude. So, as you consider for what and for whom you are grateful, please recognize the important gift that your work is to your own campus and to our collective work as members of JASPA.
Santa Clara University
Past President, JASPA
2020 JASPA Summer Institute: Save the Date!
As the 2018-19 academic year comes to a close and summer plans are in the works, next summer is already on our minds! Be sure to save the date for our 2020 JASPA Summer Institute at Loyola University Chicago! Stay tuned for more details as the Institute committees meet up this summer to plan what will be an incredible opportunity to learn and engage with colleagues within our Jesuit network.
JASPA 2020 Summer Institute Promo Video
May Blog: Logging On
My entry into Jesuit higher education began twelve years ago, when I attended my first JASPA conference in Orlando. I was a wide-eyed junior at Seattle University, exploring a potential career in student affairs.
At that 2007 conference I had no idea that our speaker, the late Rev. Howard Gray, S.J., would be my Vice President (for Mission) one day. All I knew was that he played a part in inspiring my vocational call to this Ignatian enterprise – a community of professionals charged to “create a group of individuals who will know where they are, understand their talents and energies, and be able to leave an imprint for good on this world, in which we walk only once."
And what a time to be engaged in this work. We are grappling with the Society’s history of enslavement, ongoing impacts of the clergy abuse crisis, unimaginable attacks on religious communities, uncertainty for our undocumented (with or without DACA) learners and their families – the list goes on. It is at this time we are called to draw upon the deep resources of our Ignatian charism - to develop our students, challenge harmful systems, and work toward a more just and humane world.
Over the last nine years at Georgetown in a variety of roles ranging from hall director to retreat director, I always felt pulled to engage more fully with JASPA beyond regular conference attendance, but the right connection point never seemed apparent until this spring. I am grateful to the Executive Board for giving me this opportunity, and grateful to Marci Walton for all she's done in the role.
I hope to spend the next few years working with the Social Media and Communications Committee to highlight and elevate the voices of our profession - particularly at the schools we don't always hear from. I look forward to hearing your stories, to meeting as many of you as possible (#ENFP), and hopefully connecting all of us more closely to our shared Ignatian tradition, embodied uniquely by each of our 28 (soon to be 27) institutions. More to come!
Madeline Vitek Memenza (she/her/hers) is an Associate Director in Georgetown University’s Office of Campus Ministry and JASPA's incoming Social Media and Communications Committee Chair. Infrequent/awkward tweets: @MadelineVitek