Goals of Loyola University

The following statement represents many months of work by faculty, administrators and students at Loyola. It was mandated by the Council on Academic Planning, approved by the Standing Council for Academic Planning and approved in July 1971 by the Board of Trustees. Revisions proposed by the Standing Council for Academic Planning and approved by the Board of Trustees in July 1973, January 1977, and May 1983 are incorporated in this edition of the Goals Statement.

Loyola University is a Catholic institution

Loyola, as a Jesuit university, is committed to the belief that Christianity presents a world view which is meaningful in any age. Although the message of Christianity is not wedded to any given philosophy, science, art, or politics, it is still not compatible with every point of view.

The person is central in a Catholic university. Its task is to equip its students to know themselves, their world, their potential and their Creator. To perform this function properly, it must strive to be one academic community composed of administrators, faculty, and students, both laypersons and clerics. This community must be composed in a manner fitting to our pluralistic society and ecumenical age. It can, therefore, be made up of many whose modes of commitment to university aims differ: of those who have dedicated their lives to the Christian faith commitment, of those who live non-Christian faith commitments, and of some who live no formal faith commitment at all. Religious and non-religious, Christian and non-Christian, all will dedicate themselves to the mission of this Catholic university, each in his or her own way. All will cooperate in the search for truth, either by exploring the inner dynamism of Christianity and its implications for the present or by provoking the quest for truth in others. All are bound together by a common search for knowledge. All are dedicated to the discovery and promulgation of truth.

The community in quest of truth has a reverence for creation, not only the creations of God and the creations of people, but for life itself as a fountain of creativity. Reverence for creation fosters universal concern and dedication. All who are concerned for and dedicated to the truth are welcome in the Loyola community. Only those who condemn the commitments of those who seek the truth will not find a home here.

The Catholic university must foster among its students, its faculty, and the larger community a critical sense. To think critically one must have a place to stand. Criticism must be based upon agreement on basic values and principles. Without this there can be no meaningful disagreement. Loyola stands on its Catholic commitment. This commitment is not the end of a search, but the beginning of an inquiry into other traditions, other regions, other religions. Loyola seeks to hand down a heritage even as it learns and teaches methods of thinking which will revivify the heritage and breach new frontiers of knowledge.

Because Loyola is committed to the Christian tradition, it should support excellence in theological instruction and scholarship as well as recognize the pre-eminent place of theology among the disciplines of higher learning. Catholic teaching should be presented in some structured way to aid the student to form her or his own world view.

Rapid change is a feature of contemporary life. Education should equip students to meet the rapid developments they will encounter and should enable them to make sound judgments as values undergo constant scrutiny. It is the tradition of the Society of Jesus to discern what is good and true in the movements of history. Loyola pledges itself to educate its students to meet change with equanimity, good judgment and constructive leadership. Innovations in the direction of a more Christian and just structure for society are expected of the Loyola University community, its alumni and its friends.

Loyola is committed to a serious examination of those conscious and unconscious assumptions of contemporary American civilization that tend to perpetuate societal inequities and institutional injustices. In this endeavor it is particularly concerned with those prevalent economic, judicial and educational attitudes which are inconsistent with the social teachings of the Church.

Loyola concentrates on liberal education

Loyola intends to achieve its goal of integrating the vision of faith with the remainder of human knowledge by concentrating on the liberal education of its students. While Loyola emphasizes studies in the liberal arts, it is also committed to professional study. Liberal studies assist a student to broaden and deepen convictions; professional studies assist a student to actualize convictions. Planning and efforts, therefore, are to be centered on the achievement of excellence in liberal and professional education.

Loyola is aware of the need for innovation in undergraduate education. Because of its size and independent status, Loyola is in a unique position to explore new programs and approaches in education. Loyola should experiment with the full realization that lack of change often implies more risk than change itself.

Loyola’s spiritual and material resources will be dedicated to the support of graduate programs if they fulfill one or both of the following criteria:

(a) they are necessary for strengthening undergraduate programs;

(b) they fulfill serious community needs.

Loyola recognizes its community responsibilities

Loyola looks forward to its place in the community of the future. The American university of the future will be more involved in community service than the university of earlier decades. Loyola stands ready to do whatever is in its power as an independent Catholic university to solve the problems of American society today.

Loyola should make a serious effort to probe and uncover the latent unity of the Southern people so that together they may build a richer future for their children. Loyola should make conscious efforts to prepare the educationally underprivileged for college life and to make a college education available to them. In particular, Loyola recognizes its obligation to provide such educational opportunities to the Black community, which historically has been deprived of this advantage.

Within the limits of available resources, institutes and programs will be created, developed or discontinued as the need arises under the scrutiny of the Standing Council for Academic Planning. Among present programs are those that serve high school students and teachers, the educationally and economically disadvantaged, nurses, law enforcement agencies, and labor.

Loyola is a community of scholars

Loyola aims at developing and maintaining a distinctive community of scholars. The bond of this community is the desire of teachers and students to reach academic excellence in their pursuit, not of knowledge alone, but of truth and Christian wisdom. In such a community, students and faculty are in contact with centuries of accumulated wisdom and should be active in shaping this wisdom for a new day. By reason of their formative life within this community, they should be conscious of the achievements and failures of all of human history, particularly those of their own culture and time. As a result, they should be capable of principled judgment in the face of complexity and ambiguity, and humanely moved or divinely inspired to leave behind them a better world than they found.

Such a mission will best be accomplished in our day by a community drawn from many religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and through firm, vigorous and dynamic programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, and law. It can be accomplished especially well by programs of studies which cross traditional disciplinary lines. Faculty and students are encouraged to collaborate in the formation of interdisciplinary curricula and programs.

The university’s libraries comprise an essential component in the development of a community of scholars. The expansion and improvement of library resources are major objectives of the university. Therefore, Loyola should continue to participate in cooperative efforts among universities designed to reduce unnecessary duplication of library resources and to experiment with innovations such as information retrieval technology.

In sum, Loyola wishes to assist each person in becoming more aware of the problems of society and of his or her ability to correct these problems. Such a person would have a firm moral conviction to live up to his or her obligations to himself or herself to community and to God.

The future of the university

Loyola is potentially strong in three areas that are in some significant way unique: communications, music, and religion. By achieving excellence in these unique areas and sustaining its strong undergraduate departments, Loyola will be a significant force in higher education.

The university should aim at a gradual and studied increase in size of the student body consistent with maintaining quality programs, close student-faculty contact and maximum use of existing resources.

Loyola should increase and make more effective its ties with other colleges and universities in the New Orleans area. The New Orleans Consortium is a good example of how such effective bonds can be forged.

There is an obvious relationship between certain fields of study and the institutions and social movements of the modern city, state, and nation. A portion of studies such as business and the social or behavioral sciences should be done off-campus with students examining and working in institutions and agencies actually practicing in these fields. Such study can be an academic activity. It should be undertaken as part of regular academic programs because it is directly related to the subjects for which Loyola takes educational responsibility.

Priorities involving planning

One of the principal responsibilities of the Standing Council for Academic Planning (SCAP) is to direct an orderly and systematic planning sequence that will ensure that Loyola is prepared for the future. To fulfill this role, SCAP must carefully examine not only all the elements of any new programs but also assess the viability and quality of existing programs. Economic constraints, educational and professional needs and community expectations are necessary considerations in all recommendations.

As an additional responsibility, SCAP should be active in lending its support to the extension and development of the New Orleans Consortium so that fuller use of the combined resources of facilities, faculties, and staff may be made.

Priorities involving students

Loyola recognizes that value-oriented education must occur in the context of total human development and is founded upon an appropriate integration of the religious and intellectual development of the student and the education of the whole person. Loyola students should be provided with a foundation of learning experiences which will enable them to develop further their personal values and life goals. For this reason, Loyola expects students to accept responsibility in determining policies, programs and curricular requirements. The university involves students in the planning of their education and the shaping of their environment and encourages student participation in the deliberations of faculty and administration.

Loyola is committed to the development of a culturally and educationally diverse student body and is pledged to represent this diversity in all programs and services which affect student life. One of Loyola’s greatest assets is a student body which reflects the cultural diversity of metropolitan New Orleans. Loyola will make every effort to attract a sizable percentage of students from outside of Louisiana and the Deep South to increase the cultural, intellectual and demographic diversity of the student body. Special efforts will be made to encourage students to share their differing cultural perspectives in contributing to the campus community and its programs. In order to ensure this diversity and balance in the student body and maintain the quality of admitted students, the Admissions Office will continue a careful evaluation of every applicant. Based upon this commitment to diversify the student body, Loyola balances ability and need in making its financial awards.

In keeping with its commitment to educational excellence, Loyola will continue to enrich the student population with outstanding students who will attract other good students and faculty and stimulate all to greater efforts. In support of this goal, special enrichment programs have been established and will be continued and strengthened. Loyola also maintains a strong commitment to the average and the underachieving student and provides programs to facilitate his or her adjustment to the academic environment.

The university recognizes the importance of providing programs to facilitate the integration of the new student into the university community and to encourage the development of harmonious relationships among the diverse elements of the student body. Loyola provides counseling at every level. Academic counseling should be systematically organized and supervised by the deans, and faculty members should recognize their counseling responsibilities. Personal counseling, growth opportunities and support programs to help the student meet the normal problems associated with making the transition from one life stage to another are provided by the Counseling Center. Loyola will continue to establish programs led by professionally trained personnel to facilitate students’ continuing personal and social growth, to help students to develop the skills necessary to cope with academic demands, and to aid them in identifying and pursuing purposeful career goals and future aspirations. Personal and spiritual counseling should complement one another. Campus Ministry does play a special role in assisting students to adjust both to university life and to understanding the full scope of a Loyola education. Programs which strengthen the student’s social, cultural and academic environment outside the classroom should be supported. Student activities and co-curricular programs which are educational and which prepare students for further leadership will be expanded. Such programs include student government and organizations, prayer groups, organized recreational activities and the Loyola Community Action Program (LUCAP).

Loyola is cognizant that the student body increasingly includes senior citizens, career persons returning for further education, women preparing to re-enter previous careers and other students in non-traditional programs. As part of the education at Loyola, it is important that these students be strongly encouraged to participate in campus life and to see the university as able to make a significant contribution to their lives outside regular classroom experiences. Facilities, programs and services will be developed to support the active participation of such students utilizing professional staff, peer assistance and community referral.

Priorities involving faculty

A university is a community of teachers and learners. The knowledge and teaching ability of the faculty place it in a unique position of leadership. The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, research, faculty status and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. The faculty sets requirements in courses, determines fulfillment of the requirements, and approves degree candidates for presentation to the President and Board of Trustees.1

Within the framework of excellent liberal and professional education, faculty activities should be a studied balance among teaching, research, and community service. These goals can best be realized by a stable, financially secure and professionally active faculty. Faculty participation in university governance reflects its concern with academic excellence through teaching, research, other scholarly activities and the maintenance of an atmosphere of academic freedom and responsibility. It is expected that Loyola faculty will have active professional interests which will contribute to the vitality of its work in the classroom.

Priorities involving curriculum

The university curriculum provides the students, faculty, and administration with a common reference system for the pursuit of academic excellence and scholarship. Loyola is committed to a steady exploration in and experimentation with curriculum design. Curricular reform should be planned and conducted by faculty-student committees working in cooperation with the dean of their college.

So that each undergraduate can achieve a liberalizing education, the curriculum should ensure that instruction be given in the traditional areas of the humanities, sciences, and the fine arts, regardless of the major field of study. This common portion of the contribution reflects Loyola’s commitment to participation in the Judeo-Christian intellectual tradition. To achieve this objective, the curriculum must convey a grasp of religious thought and philosophical discourse which frees from ignorance and from mindless conviction and commitment. Each degree program must fulfill all university and college requirements but remain flexible enough to meet the changing needs of the field of study involved.

Differences in the educational objectives of the undergraduate colleges may result in variations in the extent of their participation in the common curriculum. However, the number of major courses required by each program should not be so great as to produce over-specialization of the student. Periodic reviews of the degree requirements should be conducted.

The development of a high degree of ability in expressing ideas both verbally and in writing should form an essential part of each student’s education. Moreover, the student should be encouraged to develop a basic competence in those languages that best complement his or her own program of study. In keeping with this, Loyola should continue to explore innovations in instruction in both human and machine languages and encourage utilization of presently available technical aids including computer-assisted instruction. Loyola should also explore the possibility of greater inter-university cooperation and specialization in the areas of language, arts and computer science.

Because of its intrinsic importance, education in the physical and life sciences has held an important place at Loyola. Loyola will continue to make every effort to inculcate scientific literacy in all of its students. Many patterns of thought in our time are grounded in the methods employed by the sciences. College students should be exposed to the disciplines of the natural sciences. Thus, Loyola will continue to devote sufficient resources to maintain its excellent program of service courses for undergraduates in other fields and will make every effort to recruit talented majors in these programs.

An ordered society needs men and women trained in the law and business administration. Loyola has produced and will continue to produce leaders in law, government and business administration. Because Loyola is committed to the Christian tradition, it should provide the leaders of tomorrow with those values which strengthen our society.

Law and graduate students should be offered a liberalizing education, and their respective curricula should insure that instruction is given in the areas of ethics, professional responsibility and the humanistic concerns of their respective disciplines. Legal and graduate education at Loyola should also reflect Loyola’s commitment to participation in the Judeo-Christian intellectual tradition.

The School of Law is committed not only to a theoretical and practical understanding of the law, but also to the highest ideals of social justice and professional responsibility. The law school offers a comparative law approach to legal education through its complete common law and civil law programs. It is unique in the community in providing a legal education in the evening.

All Loyola disciplines should provide opportunities for study through seminars, honor courses, discussion courses, independent study, research projects and courses designed by students. Loyola will continue its tradition of close student-faculty contact which has always constituted the basis of quality education.