ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Feb. 5, 2007 – St. Bonaventure University President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., will lead a workshop Thursday, Feb. 22, in San Francisco during the first day of a national conference titled Uncovering the Heart of Higher Education: Integrative Learning for Compassionate Action in an Interconnected World.
The conference, made possible by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and several other organizations in collaboration with the Fetzer Institute, runs until Sunday, Feb. 25.
Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F.Sr. Margaret was invited to speak at the conference this past summer following her participation in a Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission seminar sponsored by the CIC and funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc.
“The purpose of the seminar was to help college presidents talk about how their personal sense of calling helps them to be more effective as a CEO of a college,” Sr. Margaret said.
Sr. Margaret’s session at the conference, one of five pre-conference workshops, is on The Heart of Leadership: Vocation and Values. The workshop will be an opportunity to consider the relationship between individual and institutional values. Participants will be invited to discover their own gifts and ways to give voice and recognition to others, all through the lens of vocation.
Sr. Margaret will be joined by other workshop leaders, including David Pollick, president of Birmingham-Southern College; Larry Braskamp, former chief academic officer at Loyola University of Chicago; and Jon Wergin, author of several books for department chairs.
Plenary speakers at the conference include novelist Alice Walker, author and speaker Parker Palmer, researchers Alexander and Helen Astin, Wellesley College president Diana Chapman Walsh, psychologist Robert Kegan and South African scholar Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.
“It’s going to be an honor and tremendously interesting to actually meet these people, engage them in conversation and help shape the agenda of this conference with them,” Sr. Margaret said.
Sr. Margaret will share advice on how to find the inner and outer resources needed to stay in touch with a sense of mission, especially during times of crisis.
“When people have an opportunity to see what this University has tried to achieve in the past couple of years, it is more than just an interesting story. It has value to other institutions,” Sr. Margaret said. “It gives them wisdom and knowledge that they can take away. … In so many experiences of life people need examples of how people overcome.”
The conference is open to faculty members, administrators, student life professionals and chaplains. One aim of the conference is to draw together and articulate teaching perspectives from around the world that are theoretical, pedagogical and relational. The conference as a whole will address several issues of particular concern to independent colleges and universities. Participants will explore whether the current education efforts address the whole human being — mind, heart and spirit. They will also look at steps to make colleges and universities places that awaken the full potential of students, faculty and staff.
In particular, the conference will address the relationships between: curriculum and values; intellectual, aesthetic and moral intelligences; technical competency and compassionate action; critical reasoning and contemplative inquiry; and vocation and life purpose.
“The Fetzer Foundation is very interested in topics of how one integrates emotional, spiritual affective engagement with management executive roles in education, in health care and in social sciences.” Sr. Margaret said.
The mission of the nonprofit Fetzer Institute, according to its Web site, “is to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness through research, education and service programs.” Current work includes research on altruistic love, compassionate love and forgiveness; recovering the “heart” of various professions; and exploring the nature of forgiveness, compassion and love.
More information about the conference can be found at www.heartofeducation.org.