Franciscan launches leadership program

STEUBENVILLE — In a move to further support orthodox Catholic leadership around the world, Franciscan University of Steubenville will launch an online Master of Catholic Leadership program, beginning in May.

According to university officials, it’s the result of a two-year, grassroots effort from members of various Franciscan University departments. The new program is an entirely online, 36-credit program that will bring a unique Catholic dimension to leadership.

“We offer something that other programs do not,” Tiffany Boury, MCL program director, said. “Our courses are taught with the vision of multiple faculty perspectives including philosophy, theology, psychology, business, catechetics, and education, plus we draw upon the expertise of subject experts and alumni.

“The overall focus is the application of Catholic doctrine to guide decision making and all the daily tasks in the work environment. In addition, this program focuses on personal vocation and cultivating it in those you lead. In our world today, we need to be able to build teams of the laity to serve the Church with purpose and resources.”

The MCL program will feature foundational leadership courses with specialized tracks for particular careers, beginning with the Catholic Educational Leader Track in May. More tracks targeting areas such as health care and non-profit work will be announced in the future.

“The Catholic Educational Leader Track is for anyone in a Catholic educational setting,” Boury said. “We want participants to come away with an experience they can share with other Catholic schools and parish religion programs to develop their own professional learning communities to work for the betterment of all Catholic education.”

Courses include Catholic Understanding of the Human Person, Strategic Finance for Leaders, and Innovation and Change in Catholic School Environments.

To make the program as effective as possible, it will follow a cohort model with a maximum of 20 students per year, according to information provided by the university. The MCL can be completed in 23 months.

“It’s not just about teaching leadership skills but about cultivating the whole person,” Matthew Breuninger, Franciscan University psychology professor and MCL faculty member, said. “Through the different dimensions of the program, we will be shaping the individual to participate in what we call ‘vocational leadership.'”

Marita O’Brien, Franciscan University psychology professor and MCL faculty member, said, “These students will be with each other throughout the program, allowing them to learn from their different experiences and the unique characteristics of the dioceses they come from.”

Those interested in the program can attend two upcoming MCL-sponsored events: A Catholic Schools Leaders’ Summit, co-hosted by the University of Notre Dame (Sydney, Australia) on July 15 at Franciscan University and a Summer Leadership Fellowship from July 20-27 led by MCL faculty to develop leadership skills through hands-on outdoor opportunities in Wyoming.

University officials said information on the Master of Catholic Leadership program and an application to apply are available on the www.franciscan.edu/mcl website or via e-mail at online@franciscan.edu.

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