Megan M. Kalina
Student Formation to Faith Leader
What can we as educators, of a Catholic Institution, do to support the formation of Faith Leaders? We can look towards curriculum, assignments, campus opportunities, liberal arts, etc. How can we better incorporate Christian Values into our teaching, advising and programs? We have an opportunity, or is it a responsibility, to embrace Catholic Social Teaching as fundamental to all our work. We strive to do what we can to encourage our students to go forth and “set the world on fire.” CST can be a powerful tool in preparing students to go and do this in the professional working environment. As we begin to reflect on these questions, it may be helpful to study business leaders that are integrating their faith with work, or more accurately, effectively living their Catholic faith in all they do. Being their authentic self and not checking that at the professional door. The Catholic Spirit, which is the Official Publication of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, recognizes 7 to 17 individuals every year with a Leading With Faith Award. This award honors individuals whose actions in the workplace reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ. The awards started in 2002, are based on nomination and continue today. To date, The Catholic Spirit has recognized 172 individuals with this award. For this paper and research, the profiles or interviews of the 172 recipients were read, searching for insight and commonality into their leadership. Four in-depth personal interviews were held with award recipients seeking a deeper understanding of what leading with faith means to them. The interviews were also completed to gather suggestions for what they felt business educators, at a Catholic University, could do within the curriculum and business programs to support leadership based on the lens of CST. Rich, helpful information was obtained in all of the interviews. Some of the interviewees have already become engaged with Universities in innovative ways to support faculty in integrating faith into University business programs. This short paper presentation will focus on themes that came out of the interviews from the award recipients on what drives them to lead with faith, what I learned from them that can be transferred to the classroom and innovative ideas on how to do this. Some examples of when Jesus walked with them in making decisions will be shared. This paper speaks directly to the conference topic of “what do business practices informed and guided by faith look like?” Discussion questions: 1. What are your thoughts about the ideas presented by the faith leaders to encourage students to lead with their faith as a foundation? 2. What are some insights you have received from faith-based business leaders that can be used in the formation and education of students? 3. How do we empower students to embrace business practices guided by faith?