The vision of the Reinert Center is the formation and transformation of teachers, learners, and learning environments, through the advancement of reflective, innovative, evidence-based pedagogies that meet the needs of diverse learners in the 21st Century and embody the values of the Jesuit educational tradition.
The mission of the Reinert Center is to develop, encourage, and sustain Saint Louis University faculty and graduate students so that they can better serve the intellectual, spiritual, and socio-cultural needs of all learners. To fulfill this mission, the Center:
A Vision of Ignatian Pedagogy for the 21st Century
The mission of the Paul C. Reinert, S.J. Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (Reinert Center) is to develop, encourage, and sustain Saint Louis University faculty and graduate students as they strive to "find their own direction, meaning, and pedagogical style in the context of Jesuit traditions of education," so that they can better serve the needs of all learners. The first element of the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm focuses on the importance of understanding the context in which learning takes place, and in the 21st Century, that context is shifting rapidly. Therefore, we must combine the values of a traditional Jesuit education with emerging pedagogical and technological innovations, in order to design rich, transformative experiences that help students learn, discern, and prepare to contribute meaningfully to their world.
Today's world is driven by rapidly changing technological innovations and increasing global connections. The accelerating pace of change - in terms of technology, quantity of information, and globalization of society - has led to challenges that are increasingly more complex in scope than those experienced by earlier generations. Interdisciplinary fields are increasing, while constraints on when and where learning occurs are dissolving. Technology has always been essential in the lives of today's students and, increasingly, in the new generation of faculty. While many view technology as merely a tool, this generation views technology as integral to all they do. Current research on how learners in the 21st Century learn indicates a preference for discovery-based learning experiences constructed around real-world problems. This context challenges institutions of higher education and their faculty to reflect on how best to help students gain knowledge, experiences, and skills that can best prepare them for solving complex problems and making positive contributions to the world around them.
Challenges also provide opportunities. By taking advantage of emerging technologies and global initiatives, Saint Louis University can position itself at the forefront of designing and implementing innovative pedagogies to meet the educational needs of future generations of students. In response to this opportunity, the Reinert Center proposes to provide leadership in this initiative by expanding its programming to provide scalable support and resources designed to assist faculty in creatively addressing the educational needs of future generations of learners. With a continual eye on emerging technologies, future global initiatives, and new research on learning, Center staff work in collaboration with faculty and students to build rich, transformative (virtual and face-to-face) learning environments and experiences that address the educational challenges of providing transformative learning opportunities to current and future generations of learners. Ground-breaking teaching and learning studios, in which faculty design and experiment with innovative learning environments that meaningfully integrate cutting-edge technologies and global initiatives, will serve as incubators for this expanded focus, as well as promote research on evolving pedagogical innovations. The Reinert Center will assist faculty and students in documenting and publicizing pedagogical innovations and environments, and their impact on transformative learning.
When viewed through the lens of the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm (context, experience, reflection, action, evaluation), these innovations become more than simply a way to respond to the educational challenges of the present moment. Indeed, they become the catalyst that will position Saint Louis University as a global leader in higher education, preparing future generations of self-directed learners to pursue deeper, more engaged and transformative educational experiences for the sake of transforming their own world.