2015 President's Award Finalists Announced
Monday, April 20, 2015
The President’s Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior of Ave Maria University to recognize academic accomplishments, involvement in the life of the University, service to others, and exemplification of AMU’s highest Catholic ideals. The finalists for the 2015 President’s Award are (listed in alphabetical order):
The winner will be announced at the President’s Dinner on Friday, May 8th following the Baccalaureate Mass.
President Jim Towey interviewed on religious liberty by nationally-syndicated radio show host Laura Ingraham
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
AMU President Jim Towey was interviewed this morning by Laura Ingraham on religious liberty. Ingraham, a radio talk show host, best-selling author, and conservative political commentator, hosts a nationally syndicated talk show, The Laura Ingraham Show, which airs throughout the United States and online.
To listen to today's show, follow this link.
The Acton Institute names Dr. Catherine Pakaluk the 2015 Novak Award winner
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 16, 2015 – Esteemed educator and zealous researcher of multiple disciplines in the area of advanced social studies and social thought, Catherine Pakaluk has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Novak Award by the Acton Institute in recognition of her early promise as a scholar.
Catherine Ruth Pakaluk is Assistant Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University and Founder-Director of the Stein Center for Social Research at Ave Maria University. This center is an interdisciplinary institute for advanced studies in social science and social thought. She currently works in the areas of demography, family studies, the economics of education and religion, and the interpretation of Catholic social thought.
Pakaluk earned her doctorate in economics at Harvard University (2010), where her dissertation under Caroline Hoxby examined the relationship between religion and educational outcomes. Her mentors have included F. Russell Hittinger, Michael Novak, and Steven A. Long.
Pakaluk is also a widely-admired writer and sought-after speaker on matters of culture, religion, gender, the social science of the family, the vocation of women, Catholic social thought, and the work of Edith Stein. She lives in Ave Maria, Florida with her husband Michael and seven children.
Named after distinguished American theologian and social philosopher Michael Novak, the Novak Award recognizes new outstanding research by scholars early in their academic careers who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing the understanding of theology's connection to human dignity, the importance of limited government, religious liberty, and economic freedom. Recipients of the Novak Award make a formal presentation on such questions at an annual public forum known as the Calihan Lecture. The Novak Award comes with a $10,000 prize.
The Novak Award forms part of a range of scholarships, travel grants, and awards available from the Acton Institute that support future religious and intellectual leaders who wish to study the essential relationship between theology, the free market, economic liberty, and the importance of the rule of law. Details of these scholarships may be found at www.acton.org/scholarships.
President Towey agrees to extend contract to 2020
Monday, March 2, 2015
Members of the Ave Maria University community:
I am pleased to announce that on Friday, February 20, 2015, at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University, we unanimously voted to extend President Jim Towey's contract through June 30, 2020. President Towey has agreed to these terms and our founder, Tom Monaghan, is delighted that the work that he and the many of you began in 2003, will remain in good hands.
In less than four years and with the help of a team of distinguished faculty, talented administrators, and dedicated staff, President Towey has dramatically increased the University's enrollment, nearly tripled the number of majors offered, transitioned the University from dependence upon our founder's financial support for operations, raised tens of millions of dollars in donor support, refinanced the University's debt, closed the Nicaragua and IPT programs that had lost millions of dollars, and most important, shepherded Ave Maria's Catholic mission, identity and outreach, particularly through the Mother Teresa Project.
There are many opportunities and challenges facing the University in the years ahead. The Board of Trustees is confident in President Towey's leadership and committed to his success as your president. Your support, trust, and prayers will help make these next years prosperous and filled with grace.
Please join me in congratulating President Towey on this important milestone in his career.
Michael T.O. Timmis
Chairman of the Board
Ave Maria University
AMU introduces sophomore success program: “Preparing Leaders for the Third Millennium”
Monday, February 23, 2015
Ave Maria University is introducing a newly developed Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), “Sophomore Success: Preparing Leaders for the Third Millennium.” The Sophomore Success QEP forms an integral part of the University’s reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The new sophomore-experience program focuses on the growth and formation of students during their sophomore year at college. The so-called “sophomore slump” is a well-documented phenomenon. During orientation, freshmen are equipped with the materials to begin their journey through college. Juniors and seniors are thinking hard about the future, focusing on excelling in their field of study, gaining experience and developing a strong resume. Sophomores have moved beyond the uncertainties of their first year in college, but they have yet to reach the goal-driven intensity of their junior and senior years. Sophomores sometimes find themselves, so to speak, in limbo.
The Sophomore Success plan is designed to help sophomores turn this “limbo” into a year of personal growth and flourishing. Sophomores at Ave Maria University will confidently commit themselves to their education and begin to transition from students to professionals and leaders in a wide range of fields.
The goals of the program are twofold: (i) enhanced student integration with the liberal arts tradition, and (ii) proactive career development facilitated by growth in self-knowledge. Each of these goals can be broken down into two concrete outcomes.
First, students will understand and be able to articulate the nature and value of a liberal arts education within the Catholic intellectual tradition. How can a student be expected to commit to his or her studies without understanding the reasoning behind and the value of a liberal arts education? The Sophomore Success program proposes to help students embrace the value of their education, beginning with a specially devised sophomore orientation and followed by additional readings and discussions in Nature and Person (PHIL 205). With guidance from their professors, students will come to know the benefits of a liberal arts education within the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Second, sophomores will work on building oral skills, mastering the tools necessary for clear and effective communication. A study of great American political speeches will be integrated into the required sophomore year American Civilization course (POLT 203), culminating in a presentation that demonstrates a grasp of the conceptual and rhetorical elements of oral communication. Students completing their sophomore year at Ave Maria will be better prepared to articulate the understanding they’ve gained of and through their liberal arts education. Armed with the tools for effective communication, they will be ready to inspire others and be leaders in the 21st century.
A third outcome is that students will spend time identifying their talents and strengths. During sophomore orientation, students will become acquainted with the process of identifying their strengths and weaknesses through the Clifton StrengthsFinder questionnaire. Faculty members will be trained to mentor sophomores in light of the questionnaire, guiding students as they make choices about their course of study and future career. Dr. Keith Houde, Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the QEP Development Committee, said: “The Ave Maria University Quality Enhancement Plan reflects our ongoing commitment to improve the learning of our students.” Increased self-knowledge is a concrete way in which students at Ave Maria will be able to maximize the gains of their education.
The third outcome leads directly into the fourth and final outcome: Students will evaluate their goals, both academic and career-related, in light of their talents and strengths. Building on the knowledge gained in the discussions of the nature and benefits of a liberal arts education, the study of great speeches, the completion of the StrengthsFinder questionnaire, and in the meetings and discussions with faculty mentors, sophomores will begin looking towards the future. Working with Ave Maria’s Career Services, each sophomore will start to build a strong resume that reflects his or her unique strengths and moves the student forward on the path after college. As John Henry Newman writes, “[When] the Church founds a University, she is not cherishing talent, genius, or knowledge, for their own sake, but for the sake of her children, with a view to their spiritual welfare and their religious influence and usefulness, with the object of training them to fill their respective posts in life better, and of making them more intelligent, capable, active members of society” (Newman, Idea of a University, p. xxxix).
The goal of the Sophomore Success program, and ultimately, of a university education, is to form individuals ready to enter the world as responsible citizens and confident leaders. “Although it is focused on sophomores,” Houde remarked, “it is expected that the gains acquired during the sophomore year will be carried into the junior and senior years and beyond. We hope that the love of learning, eloquence in speaking, knowledge of self, and career preparation acquired here will translate into lives well-lived in the service of others.”