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Explore Saint Louis University's Core in Images and Words

Ignite: Teaching and Learning at Saint Louis University

What makes teaching and learning at Saint Louis University distinctive and transformative? At the heart of a SLU undergraduate education is the University Core.

This integrated educational experience invites both students and faculty to explore the ideas and questions that inspire them as learners and teachers. The Core begins with the Ignite First-Year Seminar. Ignite Seminars make visible for students the rich interplay of intellect and identity, wonder and certainty, rigor and play that characterizes academic inquiry rooted in the Ignatian ideal of care for the whole person (cura personalis).

In these small, discussion-based learning experiences, SLU faculty members’ own distinguished and diverse areas of expertise provide the lens through which first-year students practice the Ignatian learning process—an personal approach to learning rooted in context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation.

The Core is animated by four key values: Discovery, Integrity, Courage and Connection. By illuminating these values in a student’s first year, the Ignite Seminar begins a journey. Students are inspired to approach all future courses–both in the Core and in their majors–with this same spirit of curious, open inquiry.

SLU graduates pursue careers rooted in both their own personal interests and convictions and also in SLU’s mission: “the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity."

Inside Core Classes

Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm

Two students in masks sitting at a classroom table

St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, did not create the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP). But when the International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education published Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach in 1993, the Commission drew upon the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and the lived experience of Jesuit education as reflected in the Ratio Studiorum, a way of studies that has shaped Jesuit education since the late 16th century.

The dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises is essentially that of relationship – the relationship between God and the retreatant and the relationship between the retreatant and the spiritual director. As schools emerged as a essential element of mission for the Jesuits, Ignatius and his companions drew upon their studies at the University of Paris that emphasized the classics of ancient literature, the study of Latin and Greek, philosophy and theology , grammar and rhetoric—all in service to the creation of eloquent, compelling and moral graduates capable of exceptional service to their cities, their leaders, and their church.

The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm distills all of this into a contemporary practice of Jesuit education. The IPP encourages a classroom of active engagement that builds upon experience as well as dreams and aspirations. Here at Saint Louis University, the IPP shapes and upholds Saint Louis University’s mission to “care for the whole person” – in mind, body and spirit – cura personalis.

— Fr. David Suwalsky, Vice President for SLU Mission and Identity