On January 24, during our presentation at The Learning Network (a.k.a. TLN), we announced a funding initiative aimed to spur mission-centered action at St. Catherine University. We called it the "Mission Possible Challenge" and invited staff and faculty to propose projects and programming that address our tripartite mission - liberal arts, women, Catholic - with the goal of enhancing our mission-driven educational culture. Many of you applied, and we are pleased to announce that we've funded three innovative and collaborative projects that integrate two or all three of the mission plaits. Financial contributions to the Mission Chair program funds make this possible; we are grateful to the donors for their generosity. Stay tuned for updates on these projects as they are realized in the coming months!
Women’s Mental Health Toolkit for the 21st Century
Susan Hawthorne (Philosophy), Lisa Kiesel (Social Work), Heide Malat (Counseling Center), Michael Peterson (Counseling and Student Development, MPLS), Laurel Bidwell (Social Work), Anne Williams-Wengerd (Psychology) Lynda Szymanski (Psychology), Amy Ihlan (MAOL), Geri Chavis (English), Lindsay Whipple (Student Affairs), Kim Dinsey-Read (Nursing)
The overall purpose of the “Toolkit” project is to bring increased awareness of issues surrounding mental health and illness to campus. Our top priority is to address the fact that many do not prioritize their own mental health, or that of friends, students, or colleagues. Our events will offer reasons and tools to do so. We also want to address roadblocks to success for our community members who have mental health issues; these roadblocks include stigmatization, lack of acceptance, the high prevalence of mental illness in young women, and lack access to or knowledge of care resources. Finally, we want to draw attention to wider social justice issues around mental illness—such as imprisonment, homelessness, and neglect— in which students, faculty, and staff could become involved.
CFA Online Orientation: St. Catherine University Mission Video Module
Cynthia Conley (CACL), Amy Fitzgerald (Academic Advising), Anne Weyandt (Academic Affairs), Kathy Mills (Academic Affairs)
The College for Adults will produce a high quality 3-5 minute video for all new CFA students that will be embedded in a required online orientation, placed on the CFA page within the University website, and potentially used in other marketing and educational venues as appropriate. Our purpose is to connect all new CFA students with St. Kate's mission. This is particularly important for our adult learners who have reduced time on campus and therefore have fewer opportunities to be exposed to the multiple ways the mission is expressed through campus activities.
Troops to Teachers - and Other Careers
David Stricker (Education), Jennifer Seales (Admissions)
This funding will finance travel to at least four local campuses where we can connect with veteran-specific staff/faculty/advisors and articulate how a number of St. Kate’s programs, including – but not limited to teacher education – are already poised to empower a veteran-specific population. In addition, insights will be gathered regarding what St. Kate’s needs in terms of marketing efforts, campus resources, veteran specific connections in the area, and examples of institutions that have been successful at recruiting and retaining female veteran students. Through this work, we will develop an informed and rich perspective regarding higher education best practice service to a female veteran population and determine the viability of establishing St. Kate’s as a veteran friendly campus.