The Educational Policies Committee and Saint Vincent College faculty approved a Benedictine Leadership Studies Certificate on Nov. 14, according to Michael Krom, professor of philosophy and chair of the department. The certificate will expand the academic aspect of the Benedictine Leadership Studies (BLS) program.
“It was always the intention when BLS was created six years ago that there would be a strong academic content to the program,” Krom said. “We saw BLS reach a maturity in terms of extracurricular programming these past two years such that it was time to add the coursework component.”
Under the new certificate, students will complete courses on subjects such as the ethical theory behind the ten Benedictine hallmarks, the history of Benedictine thought and the relationship between American civic ideals and the Catholic understanding of the human person.
The goal of the BLS program is to teach students how to be leaders using the Benedictine hallmarks. But the program provides other benefits as well.
Paul Gnatowski, senior philosophy and politics major, explained that the BLS program has helped him build friendships and grow in self-awareness.
“Through various seminars, off-campus excursions and the Reflected Best Self exercise, I have grown in self-knowledge and have a better understanding of my gifts and talents,” Gnatowski said. “I believe such an awareness is important for discerning one's future and growing in virtue.”
Mary Anand, sophomore biochemistry major, has had a similar experience in BLS so far.
“BLS has enriched my understanding of leadership and enhanced my ability to apply the Benedictine values to my life,” Anand said.
According to Anand, program activities have included listening to a talk on the history of Benedictine spirituality, writing and discussing a reflective Best Self paper describing who the writer aspires to be, and a group weekend at Powdermill Nature Reserve to foster team-building.
To participate in the BLS program, students apply before freshman year.
Krom stated that students’ previous academic, service, and leadership activities influence whether they are accepted into the program.
“Due to budget limitations and demands, [..] students [at present] can only join BLS as incoming freshmen,” Krom said. “We are looking into ways of admitting students during the freshman year and of allowing other students to be involved with BLS academic offerings.”