Last November 25th, the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU), and its six higher education regional networks held the inaugural webinar of the IAJU global project “Best Practices in Jesuit Higher Education”, coordinated by the Kircher Network.
A panel of experts from around the world reflected on the major challenges that the Coronavirus’ disruptions imply for teaching and learning processes and, especially, the pursuit of an integral formation through Jesuit higher education. Michael Garanzini., SJ, (Secretary for Higher Education of the Society of Jesus) and Philip Geister., SJ. (President of the Kircher Network) started the seminar.
The presenters analyzed the lessons that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught our Jesuit universities and colleges. In a short time, our institutions had to move almost all of their classes to an online format. Even though it was not a matter of choice, our institutions have realized the value and potential of online education, but also its many limitations. On the one hand, collaboration may be more attractive and necessary than ever before, stressed the panelists. On the other hand, the impacts on mental health caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the high frequency use of online technology may be significant detractions to learning.
Likewise, the panelists commented that the crisis has shown the need for finding a balance among the learning priorities in education, such as critical thinking, personal growth, social engagement, global citizenship, and the need to provide working skills.
The presenters also discussed how our Jesuit higher education institutions could continue innovating in this new context marked by digital transformation. They all agreed that the changes brought about by the Coronavirus will require Jesuit university leaders to transform and even to rethink their institutions.
Watch the Conference here