Fordham Notes: Fordham Hosts Seventh Annual AJCU Conference

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fordham Hosts Seventh Annual AJCU Conference

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) held its seventh annual honors conference at Rose Hill on Feb. 17th and 18th.

The two-day conference drew participants from thirteen schools, 37 out of the 54 attendees being from other universities such as Boston College, Loyola University New Orleans, and Rockhurst University.

In its seventh year, the AJCU honors conference has continued to foster meaningful discussions and emphasize the Ignatian identity amongst members of the honors program in a Jesuit community.

“We have forged a number of important relationships with wonderful colleagues and fellow students who share a similar vision of the intellectual life in the service of Ignatian ideals,” said Harry Nasuti, Ph.D., (pictured above) professor of theology and director of the Honors Program at Fordham College at Rose Hill.

The honors conference is a major outlet for the exchange of ideas, presentations, challenges, and goals for the integration of honors programs with Jesuit principles, said Kevin McKenna, administrator of the honors program at Rose Hill.

“It’s great to learn what other Jesuit honors programs have done and how they do things differently from us,” he said. “We get to see the many ways of approaching a task.”

In a problem-solving session on Feb. 17, participants divided up into three groups, each of which discussed different issues regarding advising, mentoring, admission, and retention in the honors programs.

“It was interesting to hear the struggles and successes of the different participating institutions from the perspectives of both the directors and students,” said Gloria Larson, a sophomore honors student at Creighton University.

Other panels were tailored to specific concerns such as new technology, strengthening the honors thesis, and incorporating the Jesuit mission into the program.

The Fordham honors curriculum focuses on an integrated study in art, history, literature, music, philosophy and religion in the freshman and sophomore years. Subsequent classes focus on a social or ethical issues in the modern world, and the senior thesis is the culmination of the student’s work.

For Xavier Montecel, FCRH ’12, the Fordham honors curriculum has helped him to define his future after Fordham.

“Through my experiences in the classroom and with Dr. Nasuti, I came to a deep understanding of the Ignatian educational vision,” said Montecel.

McKenna added that honors students are also exposed to being men and women for others.

“We have a strong tradition of service within the program, and connect our students with service opportunities in the Bronx community,” he said.

The first annual AJCU honors conference was held in February 2006 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Since then, conferences have been held at Regis University, Santa Clara University, Marquette University, Rockhurst University and twice at Fordham.

“Our hosting it again this year was a great opportunity to bring people back to share ideas and topics,” said McKenna.

Added Nasuti: “This is a community where we listen to each other, learn from each other, care for each other, and grow together.” (photo by Tom Stoelker)

--Angie Chen

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