The Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs Professionals in Catholic Colleges and Universities : Principle #4

Principle #4: The effective administrator creates opportunities for students to experience, reflect upon, and act from a commitment to justice, mercy, and compassion, and in light of Catholic social teaching to develop respect and responsibility for all, especially those most in need.

Because the framework of the Catholic social tradition is vital to the work of student affairs professionals in Catholic institutions, it is important for these professionals to become familiar with the tradition and to incorporate it into learning opportunities for students. Central to this work is deepening students’ awareness of local, national, and international injustice and grounding this understanding through creative partnering with diverse, underserved communities. Ample opportunities for action and reflection will help all to grow, individually and collectively, in their knowledge and practice of this rich tradition, thereby contributing to the common good and building a more humane and just world.

Assessing This Principle

1. What does this principle mean for Boston College?

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

           a. How is Catholic social teaching used as a framework to approach key campus  issues?

           b. To what extent do service opportunities include reflection that is informed by    Catholic social teaching?

           c. How do these experiences provide opportunities for students to partner with     underserved communities?

          d. To what extent do student affairs staff members in all areas learn about Catholic social teaching and incorporate it into their work?

          e. What activities or programs exist to help students deepen their awareness of    local, national, and international injustice?

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:

“Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5) and then encourages us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20)…. Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God’s family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism. The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God. Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas et Veritate, 2009)


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