Core Values of the CTTL
All of the work we do in the Center is rooted in a set of core values that derive from our deep commitment to serving the teaching community at Saint Louis University, to advancing the adoption of contextually-appropriate teaching practices, and to embodying the principles of Ignatian pedagogy. Therefore, we seek to embed the following core values in all our services and programs.
The Jesuit concept of formation has, at its core, a respect for the individual, and in the Center, we are committed to helping individual faculty and graduate students find their own directions, meaning and pedagogical style in the context of Jesuit traditions of education. Therefore, we are committed to honoring the autonomy and individual teaching styles of all educators.
As befits our Jesuit roots, the Center is first and foremost a service organization, acting as "women and men for others" by providing resources, services, and programs that support the formation and transformation of SLU educators. We do this by providing a wide range of services to individuals, to departments and programs, to SLU colleges and schools, and to the University as a whole.
One important way we serve the University is by providing leadership in the areas of teaching effectiveness, educational quality, assessment of student learning, and effective integration of technology into teaching. We do this by staying current on evidence-based research on teaching and learning and on national trends in higher education and educational technology.
Reflection is crucial to effective teaching, to Ignatian pedagogy, and to deep learning. The Center promotes reflection by integrating reflective activities into our services and programs; by helping faculty design effective reflection activities for students; and by reflecting deeply on our own practices so that we can make continuous improvements.
In order to achieve transformative learning, teachers must go beyond content delivery to engage students in a variety of learning experiences. This approach to teaching requires innovation, and in the Center, we believe innovation looks different for different people. For some, innovation always involves the latest technologies and gadgets, while for others it simply means finding a new way to do something. Our approach to innovation is rooted in the original meanings of the word itself: to innovate simply means to make new, to alter, or to renew.
The Center is committed to meaningful collaboration, which is essential to building a community of scholarly and reflective teachers and to a culture of effective teaching and learning at the University. We honor this commitment by inviting faculty to present and co-present at Center programs and by working closely with faculty partners at all levels, across the whole campus.
Our Commitment to Cura Personalis
Finally, all of these core values derive from a commitment to cura personalis. Meaning "care of the whole person," this Latin phrase is a cornerstone of Jesuit education, and by extension, of our mission. While we focus almost exclusively on teaching, we acknowledge that faculty and graduate students also are engaged in professional research and service, and that they have many other responsibilities and roles outside of their academic work.
Therefore, we strive always to care for the whole teacher by:
- Designing interactive programs intentionally, to make responsible use of time and to offer practical strategies for teaching more effectively and (therefore) more efficiently;
- Creating opportunities for community-building, across disciplines and departments;
- Developing programs and resources that help instructors teach in learner-centered ways that serve the intellectual, spiritual, and developmental needs of all learners;
- Creating a hospitable, welcoming environment in the Center and at all our events; and
- Maintaining confidentiality in all of the work we do with individuals.
Ultimately, we believe that the Center's deep commitment to cura personalis serves as a way to help faculty and graduate students better understand how they can care for the "whole persons" of their students.