The Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs Professionals in Catholic Colleges and Universities : Principle #2

Principle #2: The effective administrator grounds policies, practices, and decisions in the teachings and living tradition of the Church.  He or she builds and prepares the student affairs staff to make informed contributions to the Catholic mission of the institution.

“In addition to relevant civil law and professional standards of practice and ethics, scripture, tradition, philosophical reflection, and the sustained experience of the Christian community all help to guide policy-formation and decision making in Catholic institutions. Catholic theology continues to be refined, developed, and applied to contemporary circumstances.

As questions arise within the institution about the applicability of official Catholic teaching, it is important that student affairs professionals become familiar with such teaching, consulting other colleagues, Church or pastoral leaders, and theological specialists as appropriate. Senior leaders of student affairs divisions should make a commitment to hire a sufficient cohort of members who are familiar with Catholic teaching, and to provide professional development for all their employees on such matters.”

 Assessing This Principle

1. What does this principle mean for Boston College?

2. How do I apply this principle through programs, policies & practices?

a. To what extent are students engaged so that they understand and respect the Catholic teachings which are the foundation of our policies and practices.

            b. How is the student life staff engaged in professional development activities focused on Catholic identity and mission?

             c. To what extent does the student life staff’s understanding of Catholic Church         teaching inform policies and decision making?

             d. To what extent is the student life staff able to communicate this             understanding to students? 

            e. To what extent does the student life staff collaborate with others (e.g. colleges, church leaders) to assist with staff development?

3. What evidence do I have to judge the effectiveness of my efforts?

4. What does this evidence tell you about your effectiveness?

5. What will I do with the information I have gathered about my effectiveness?


A Catholic Perspective: Tradition, according to the Fathers of the Church, is in fact just the opposite of a burden of the past: it is a vital energy, a propulsive force as much as a protective force, acting within an entire community at the heart of each of the faithful because it is none other than the very Word of God both perpetuating and renewing itself under the action of the Spirit of God; not a biblical letter in the individual hands of critics or thinkers, but the Living Word entrusted to the Church and to those to whom the Church never ceases to give birth; not, moreover, a mere objective doctrine, but the whole mystery of Christ. (Henri de Lubac)


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