To ensure that the mission permeates every aspect of the University, the president has established three distinguished chairs whose function is to articulate, promote, and make manifest St. Catherine's tripartite mission — Catholic, women, and liberal arts — throughout the curriculum and co-curriculum. The Archbishop Harry Flynn Distinguished Chair in Catholic Identity; the Sister Alberta Huber Distinguished Chair in the Liberal Arts; and the Andrea McGough chair in Women's Education are or will be half-time, three-year renewable faculty terms. Each Distinguished Chair is supported by endowed funds for the Chair as well as by a program endowment, currently, the Myser Initiative in Catholic Identity, the Evaleen Neufeld Initiative in the Liberal Arts, and a yet unnamed program initiative for Women's Education. Endowments will total 7.5 million dollars, with funds for the three chairs nearing completion and program funds for Catholic Identity and the liberal arts so substantially raised.
The distinguished chairs will initiate, plan, and oversee faculty and staff development programming; fund faculty and staff work focused on integrating the mission into syllabi, program requirements, and co-curricular activities; and purchase relevant library holdings and other resources. They will also serve as resource persons, especially for faculty, visiting classes, recruiting speakers, and planning workshops. Most importantly, the distinguished chairs will work as a team to help the University achieve its highest goals of integrating the there elements of the St. Catherine Mission.
In September 2011, the Archbishop Harry Flynn Distinguished Chair in Catholic Identity was the first chair to be established and serves as a model for the other chairs. Its programmatic component, the Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity, has been in palce since 2005 and was established to:
- devise an orientation program to help new faculty understand the meaning of faculty work at a Catholic institution;
- bring highly acclaimed Catholic intellectual leaders to campus;
- offer an annual summer institute to help faculty revise and improve their courses to more explicitly reflect the Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic social teaching;
- offer an anual retreat program for faculty and Student affairs staff;
- facilitate participation in Collegium, a national initiative for faculty of Catholic colleges
- assist staff to reflect on St. Catherine's Catholic identity as it applies to their specific responsibilities; and to
- develop a program to serve as a model for other Catholic colleges and universities.
In short, the Archbishop Flynn distinguished Chair in Catholic Identity and the Myser Initiative have been quite active and highly visible in generating awareness and conversation relating St. Catherine's Catholic roots to its institutional identity and mission.
As chairs for women's education and for the liberal arts become fully active, a similar array of programs and events will help faculty and students better understand each element of the mission, as well as how all three mission elements integrate to become facets of a single whole. Taken together, these three Distinguished Chairs in Mission constitute St. Catherine's signature effort in imbuing the St. Catherine educational experience with a deep understanding of Catholic thought, liberal learning, and their integrated role in educating women to lead and influence.