MEETING OF THE MARIANIST EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATES
February 11, 2010 7 pm – 8:07 pm, Marianist Hall
Members Present: Bro. Jerry Bommer, Barb Belle, Grissel Benitez-Hodge, Dave Coleman, Val Coleman, Mike Fassiotto, Peggy Friedman, Patti Lee-Robinson, Sharon LePage, Larry Osborne, Kapono Ryan, Kay Stone, Curtis Washburn
Guests: Bro. Tom Giardino, Joe Allen, Henry Gomes
Adjunct Orientation: Mike Fassiotto reported that the Adjunct Orientation will be on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at Mystical Rose Oratory from 9 am – 11:30 am. MEAs will talk about the characteristics of Marianist Education and how it relates to their jobs, followed by discussion.
- Marianists and charism: Bro. Jerry
- Education for formation in faith: Mike will ask Dave C.
- Quality education: Peggy
- Family spirit: Curtis
- Education for service, peace and justice: Sharon
- Education for adaptation and change: Larry
- Volunteers will also be needed for set up and clean up.
Bro. Tom Giardino:
MEAs were emailed Bro. Tom’s powerpoint presentation that he will give to the Board of Regents this weekend.
Bro. Tom sent greetings from the University of Dayton MEAs; Fr. Dave Fleming is on campus as a Visiting Professor and meets with the MEAs for conversation.
Based on Bro. Tom’s powerpoint, there was conversation around mission informed decisions.
- How might MEAs continue to stimulate and sustain mission focused decisions around campus? Images from the powerpoint included creating the environment, change and taking risks, change doesn’t come without difficulty, and growing into being a Catholic, Marianist institution.
- Bro. Tom shared the story of his godchild being named Joel because his parents wanted him to grow into his name. The MEAs should also keep growing into their name.
- Correction to the powerpoint: use BOR for Board of Regents instead of BOT (Board of Trustees).
- Dayton MEAs have brown bag discussions where they share what it means to be MEAs. Bro. Tom told us the story of Ken Soucy in Purchasing who reported workers making comments about women to the vendor, who then removed the workers. And Amy Lopez, Director of Kennedy Union, who asked students where t-shirts bought for fundraising were bought.
- Grissel commented that the BOR Mission and Identity Committee has good energy and enthusiasm and perhaps needs concrete examples.
- Larry added that socially responsible investing was accepted by the Board of Regents.
- Bro. Tom said that mission and identity activities are both ends and means. Fundraising campaigns should be based on the Strategic Plan (e.g., scholarships for access) and also how you go about the campaign. What is done if the donor wants to make a specific donation that doesn’t fit?
- Associations from the powerpoint included how to envision student, faculty and staff, and the university.
- Mike F. commented that there has been a major change in the last 15 years in how the university carries out its mission; was it due to President Sue?
- Bro. Tom said the mission is too rich for bullet points.
- Henry has been at Chaminade since 1969 when there were many Marianists on campus. Students were taught to “think on your own” and it was very family oriented. Henry believes that the university became very secular in the 1980’s with faculty wanting to be professional, weak leadership and less Marianists. The magic is the commitment of the Marianists.
- Bro. Tom quoted an article from Fast Company, “Why America is Addicted to Olive Garden” (Chuck Salter, Jul/Aug 2009, p. 102-121):
“The OliveGarden brand is built around the notion that guests are treated like family, but Pickens knows that isn't likely to happen unless employees feel like family too. Employees, he says, need to believe that serving meals and cleaning tables and cooking pasta in a hot kitchen is meaningful. ‘It's very difficult for the experience of the guests to exceed the experience of the staff.’”
- Bro. Tom changed this to “It’s very difficult for the experience of the students to exceed the experience of faculty, staff, administration.” When we do what we do well, the MEA commitment is to stimulate and sustain that experience. It also makes a difference when things get difficult.
- Kapono gave the example of George Kanahele and the hotel industry; he created the idea of a sense of place, that hotel employees understood their mission and what aloha and ohana means. We need a sense of place for Chaminade and anchors/rocks (e.g., Sue and Fr. Mackey). We work with a sense of joy because of our sense of mission; it is a spiritual mission; it is a good place to make good things happen. It is a “gladness trip” with a sense of joy, perpetuated because God says it is to be perpetuated.
- Larry believes that there is a difference between fantasy and reality; in the early 90s, the university was engaging in fantasy in trying to be something it wasn’t, and Sue and Bernie brought the reality of being a Catholic and Marianist university back.
- Bro. Tom said we can be seduced by the culture. Can we find the rocks/pillars that ground us? A leader helps us to be our best selves. We need big and appropriate vision.
- Curtis said that Fr. George Cerniglia’s talk earlier today about the Erma Bombeck story of the importance of listening happened to him. A student walked in to withdraw from class and it became a two hour conversation on what is going on in the student’s life. It is what makes Chaminade different.
- Peggy said that we will remember the stories that we share.
- Joe puts faith in the people he works with in terms of dealing with students. He believes that we’ve all bought into the mission.
- Br. Tom added that we need energy and relationships among a critical mass of people to notice something different (metaphor of the electric field). Mission informed decisions have to happen everywhere. MEAs experience the calling and create the magnetic field that others enter into and know there’s something different. Alumni don’t remember what was taught in their classes, they remember faculty.
- Sharon said that all of the library staff trains its student workers. The students learn the mission of the university and how what they do is relevant to the mission. The library welcomes their student workers as family.
- Grissel talked about recruiting at risk students and that the university has to be able to provide support for these students to be successful.
- Bro. Tom said that conversation is important to MEA life, whether informal or formal. He believes the mission will be sustained by the MEAs. He thanked the MEAs for being “on ground” and helping to sustain the BOR.
- Bro. Jerry quoted from the powerpoint that Fr. Chaminade said, “Do not worry about the troublesome or disconcerting things which you will experience.” Do not get discouraged when it isn’t perfect.
- Patti said that communication at all levels is much better.