Holy Cross Begins New Mission Initiative

Kate McLaughlin ’21

News Editor


In a September 14 letter to the campus community, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president announced the start of the Mission Priority Examen on campus. The Mission Priority Examen is an Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) initiative that seeks to reaffirm the Catholic and Jesuit identity of its 28 member schools.

The AJCU has established a self-study and peer review process that will measure the schools’ identity using seven characteristics: leadership’s commitment to the mission; the academic life; a Catholic, Jesuit campus culture; service; service to the local church; Jesuit presence; and integrity.

Twenty of the 28 AJCU member schools have already participated in the self-study and peer review. The AJCU expects that all of its member schools will have completed the Mission Priority Examen by 2020. The College of the Holy Cross has been scheduled by the AJCU to conduct the study in the 2018-2019 academic year.

Fr. William R. Campbell, S.J., ‘87 will chair the Mission Priority Examen process. He created a seven member Steering Committee consisting of Professor Robert Bellin; James Hayes, S.J., ‘72; Paul Irish, Associate Dean of Students/Student Affairs; Marybeth Kearns-Barrett ‘84, Director of the Office of the College Chaplains; Professor Daniel Klinghard; Michelle Sterk Barrett, Director of the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning; and Amit Taneja, Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer.

The members of the Steering Committee will be assisted by sub-committees consisting of administrators, faculty, staff, students, and trustees. Each sub-committee will study one of the seven characteristics articulated by the AJCU and draft a report on their findings. After the sub-committees conduct their studies, the seven reports will be compiled into a unified document that will constitute Holy Cross’ self-study.

The self-study document will then be given to a team of four colleagues from other AJCU schools who will visit Holy Cross in 2019 and will meet with a cross-section of faculty members, staff members, or students. The team will then write its own report about the school. After the process is complete, Holy Cross will likely be reaffirmed as a Catholic and Jesuit school according to the AJCU’s guidelines.

From September 18 to September 26, four listening sessions took place for the discussion of the Mission Priority Examen. The sessions, led by Fr. Campbell, were open-forum discussions and were attended by members of the Steering Committee and sub-committees, members of the administration, faculty, staff, and students.

The discussion centered on the question: “Given your time at Holy Cross and reflected upon your range of experiences, what has served to deepen your sense of Holy Cross as a Catholic, Jesuit, Liberal Arts college?” Attendees discussed what made their Holy Cross experience unique, what has helped them experience the College’s mission, and the aspects of the College that can be improved.

All members of the Holy Cross campus community are invited to participate in the Mission Priority Examen.
Photo by Hui Li

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