August 17, 2018

New partnership between archdiocese, Marian offers scholarships for future Catholic school teachers

By John Shaughnessy

Hoping to provide a model for Catholic education in the United States, the archdiocese and Marian University in Indianapolis have formed a new partnership to recruit and retain educators dedicated to transforming the lives of students in Catholic schools.

A key part of the new effort is to provide up to $40,000 in scholarships to any high school graduate from the archdiocese who is accepted into the Klipsch Educators College at Marian and who agrees to teach in an archdiocesan Catholic school upon graduation.

Students in the program will also receive classroom experience in archdiocesan schools beginning in their freshman year, and they will participate in a yearlong, paid residency at an archdiocesan school under the direction of a master teacher.

Another defining element of the program is that the students will study abroad in a country recognized for the high educational performance of its students, including Finland, Singapore and South Korea.

“Some of the very best talent that exists in our communities can be found in our Catholic high schools,” says Gina Fleming, superintendent of Catholic schools for the archdiocese. “The future grads of our Catholic high schools who are mission-driven, highly motivated and graced with skills and knowledge that can be passed down to future generations are the very people for whom this program is designed.”

Fleming notes that teachers in Catholic schools have a calling to “transform the world”—a sentiment echoed by Kenith Britt, the dean of the Klipsch Educators College at Marian.

“Our goal for the program is to make sure we have graduates who improve the lives of young people, not just academically but spiritually, and from a standpoint of character and values,” Britt says. “This is our obligation and duty as Catholic institutions.”

On one level, the program is a response to the reality that “fewer students are entering the field of education in many states, including our own,” Fleming says, citing significant college debt as a deterrent to entering the teaching profession.

“While many have the heart and passion for teaching in our Catholic schools, they do not believe they can afford to do so,” she notes. “The archdiocese and Marian University agree that we need the best talent leading and teaching in our Catholic schools. If we can partner to keep educational costs reasonable, limiting student debt upon graduation, we are confident that more active, practicing Catholics will want to teach in our Catholic schools.”

On a deeper level, the latest educational partnership between the archdiocese and Marian reflects their mutual commitment to the mission of Catholic education and the Catholic faith—“to share the Good News of God’s love and light each and every day,” Fleming says.

Britt notes that this latest partnership with the archdiocese started through the influence of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin when he served as the spiritual leader of the Church in central and southern Indiana. He also says that the collaboration has received the full support of Archbishop Charles C. Thompson.

“The archdiocese has been clear that the young people of our Church are critical to our future, and we cannot be anything but intentional about how we form our educators in the faith—with a greater depth of intellect and content knowledge, and with more experiences that allow them to better understand how to teach,” Britt says.

He notes that there will be 82 students entering Marian this school year who will participate in the program.

Another part of that mutual effort will focus on the recruitment, development and formation of Catholic school leaders.

According to the agreement between the archdiocese and Marian, the program will provide scholarships to “full‑time, aspiring school leaders from the archdiocese in the amount of one‑third of the total cost of tuition to obtain a master’s degree in educational leadership from Marian University [equivalent to $6,000 per candidate].”

The agreement also calls for the development of a program that will enhance the capabilities of educators who have been in leadership positions in a Catholic school for at least four years.

Fleming and Britt hope the partnership and the program will become a model for Catholic education in the country.

“It is not enough to provide either quality education or formation,” Fleming says. “Rather, both must be deeply integrated in ways that elevate the capacity of all we serve, and allow each to come to know, love and serve God fully. It is through leaders and teachers that such integrated education and formation occur, so their formation is critical to the mission of our Church.”

Britt adds, “We could become a national leader to carve a new era to make Jesus known and loved by more people.”
 

(For more information about the program, visit the website, www.marian.edu/klipschcollege.)

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