Thriving Partnerships: Catholic Higher Education and P-12 Catholic Schools

In March 2013, Susan Ferguson, Director of the UD Center for Catholic Education, wrote a brief article in NCEA Notes about partnerships between Catholic colleges and universities and P-12 Catholic education.  The UD Center for Catholic Education has promoted such partnerships since its inception. 

More recently, during their November 2014 meeting, one topic the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) intended to discuss was Catholic elementary and secondary education.  Prior to the meeting, Sister John Mary Fleming, Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the USCCB, asked CHESCS (Catholic Higher Education Supporting Catholic Schools ) to create a report that would demonstrate their willingness and capacity to serve as a resource for P-12 Catholic education.  As the Catholic Higher Education component of the National Catholic Educational Association, CHESCS strives to provide elementary and secondary Catholic educators with resources and professional development along with leadership development programs.  CHESCS welcomed the opportunity to share their work.

Under the leadership of Dr. Lorraine Ozar, then Director and currently the Endowed Chair of the Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education at Loyola University, a national task force was created to gather and report information pertaining to programs implemented by Catholic institutions of higher education that support Catholic elementary and secondary schools.  The task force formulated survey questions to correspond to the four domains in the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools: Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Operational Vitality.  Survey categories included centers and institutes, professional development, alternative licensure, Catholic school colloquia, non-degree courses, field experience, scholarship opportunities, and grants to name a few.

Every Catholic university and college listed with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities was invited to complete the survey, and an unprecedented 129 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States responded.  The data was compiled to show that Catholic institutions of higher education were, indeed, working very hard to support P-12 Catholic schools and ensure their continued success.

Our very own Susan Ferguson, Director of the UD Center for Catholic Education, was a member of the national task force that created and disseminated the survey.