FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Loyola Educator Participates in National Symposium on Future of Catholic Education in America
CHICAGO, January 20, 2004 Evanston resident Lorraine Ozar, a nationally known scholar in curriculum and instruction in Catholic schools and director of Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Catholic School Effectiveness, was one of 250 invited participants in a recent symposium to chart the future of Catholic education in the United States. The symposium, held as one of the centennial-year activities of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), met in Washington, D.C. Jan. 8-12.
Participants met in working sessions to discuss three major themes for Catholic education: identity–how to proclaim and continue the Catholic identity of schools and religious education programs; leadership–where to seek and how to train the administrators, teachers and catechetical leaders of tomorrow; and engagement–how Catholic schools and programs interact with other segments of society.
“Participation in this visioning process for Catholic education will help me focus my work as director of the newly established Center for Catholic School Effectiveness at Loyola,” Ozar said. “I expect the center to be a major resource to Catholic educators in implementing many key strategies formulated by the symposium delegates.”
A highlight of the symposium was a visit to the White House. President George W. Bush addressed the delegates in a special session arranged just for the symposium attendees.
“Catholic education in the Unites States has a rich history and tradition that dates l to the earliest settlement of our nation,” said NCEA President Michael Guerra. “This symposium is an opportunity to build on that tradition by creating a vision for Catholic education far into the future. The fact that the president has invited all symposium participants to the White House for his address is testimony to the importance of Catholic education to the nation.” .
Guerra continued, “When we speak of Catholic education broadly defined, we speak of the hundreds of thousands of administrators, teachers, catechists and students involved in schools, parish religious education programs, colleges and seminaries. Symposium delegates represent all of these elements.”
Sister Dale McDonald, a member of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and NCEA’s director of public policy and educational research who coordinated the symposium, said “I was impressed with the depth and candor of the discussions. Leaders of Catholic education wrestle with these issues locally all the time. For the first time in many years they have an opportunity for a nationwide conversation on critical issues for the future. To hear first-hand from the president was especially meaningful.”.
Several activities laid the groundwork for the summer sessions. The association commissioned reflection papers by prominent Catholic educators, who also participated in a panel discussion during the symposium. In 2003, dioceses and regional organizations conducted more than 100 meetings to collect comments. All of this material was available for the January symposium participants.
The strategic plan resulting from the January symposium will be announced during the 2004 NCEA annual convention in Boston in April.
NCEA is the largest private, professional education association in the world, representing more than 200,000 educators serving 7.6 million students in all levels of Catholic education.
About Loyola University Chicago
Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is among the largest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Loyola has a total enrollment of more than 15,000 students, which includes 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s nine schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 69 undergraduate majors, 77 master’s degrees, 36 doctoral degrees, and three professional degree programs. Recognizing Loyola’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the “top national universities” in its annual publications. For more information, please visit our web site at www.luc.edu.