One Common Future: Global Partnerships Seek Global Harmony, Sustainability

Creighton University is taking steps to be a leader in addressing worldwide environmental degradation and social injustice. Two initiatives in the Global Partnerships strategic plan theme are the Institute for Global Studies and the Common Home Project, both of which seek to foster global harmony and sustainability.

Goal steward Tom Kelly, PhD, theology professor and director of academic service-learning, along with Lucy Hancock, coordinator of international student and scholar services, presented on these ideas at Thursday’s strategic planning campus forum.

“As a Jesuit and Catholic university, we care about the world we live in,” Kelly said.

“Our goal is to be instilled with hope,” Hancock said. “There is still a way to chip away at the damage that has been done. We can put into practice things that can combat the damage, to lead to future global harmony.”

Institute for Global Studies

The Institute for Global Studies at Creighton will be a hub for collaboration, research and scholarship related to global and humanitarian issues. The Institute will work with partners locally and globally.

“It takes part of our tradition that is very important (Catholic Social Teaching) and puts it together with international development,” Kelly said.

It will bridge the worlds of practitioners and thinkers, bringing them together to better respond to problems facing the world, Kelly said. This involves interdisciplinary scholarship for a whole-institutional approach.

The hope is to develop an institute of research fellows at various levels who will submit grants and publications in areas that integrate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

A highlight of the Institute is the development of a Master of Science in Sustainable Integral Development, which looks to launch four years into the program.

The Common Home Project

A nod to Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, the Common Home Project is an interconnected continuum of high-impact programs dedicated to the development of a globally conversant campus. The goal is to create a program for undergraduate students throughout their four years at Creighton, challenging them to think of our common home and care for creation.

Themes of this project are diversity, sustainable and civic engagement, and academic and social transformation – all of which seek to inform students on how to be global citizens and address the world’s most pressing issues.

“We are trying to challenge our students to go beyond what they are learning in the classroom,” Hancock said. “Getting them to develop and analyze their actions in the way they are living in the world.”

The project will develop a four-year continuum in which freshman students are engaged in a modified version of the already-established Global Ambassadors Program. Sophomore year, the students would join the Cortina Community, a longstanding residential community at Creighton that looks at causes of injustice in our world.

The students would then go on a Faculty-Led Program Abroad (FLPA) the summer after their sophomore or junior year. The FLPA would focus on biodiversity in the Amazon region of Ecuador, the most biodiverse place in the world.

Juniors and seniors would participate in sustainability projects – giving them the hands-on tools to be agents of change in the world.

The program would be open to undergraduate students regardless of their major. They need simply to have an interest in the ecological perspective of global responsibility.

Kelly said they hope to appoint directors for both projects soon and are awaiting budget approvals to take the next steps.

The next forum session will be held Tuesday, April 16, with an update on the Arizona Health Education Alliance and Health Sciences Campus Vision. RSVP for upcoming forums and watch past sessions here.