Two recent faculty retreats on campus had as their focus ongoing efforts to assess the effectiveness of current Holy Cross degree programs, to consider new offerings, and to strengthen ties between the College and the School of Theology.
First, the Holy Cross faculty gathered for the fourth annual day-long Faculty Assessment Retreat to review data on student learning outcomes. This year’s gathering also provided the opportunity to discuss a larger project, already underway, of reviewing and revising the three academic degree programs offered by Holy Cross: the Master of Divinity, the Master of Theological Studies, and the Master of Theology. In addition to the review of its academic programs, Holy Cross faculty, in collaboration with the administration and the academic affairs committee of the Board of Trustees, are considering the possibility of new degree programs for the School of Theology.
The retreat opened with a brief morning prayer service in Holy Cross Chapel, led by Rev. Dr. Philip Zymaris, Assistant Professor of Liturgics. The faculty then welcomed Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos, DMin, President of HCHC, who shared with them his vision for priestly formation. Fr. Christopher emphasized the critical role that Holy Cross plays in the life of the Orthodox Church both in the United States and abroad. He stressed the importance of theological and priestly formation within the educational curriculum of the MDiv program, and the need for Church leaders to be courageous and confident in delivering the saving message of Jesus Christ to the Church and the world. He further emphasized the importance of humanity, spirituality, and discernment in those who would serve the Church. After a lively discussion with the President regarding this vision, the faculty affirmed with him their commitment to work together to implement positive changes in the overall curricular offerings at Holy Cross. The retreat continued into the afternoon with faculty reviewing assessment data on student learning outcomes.
The faculties of both Holy Cross and Hellenic College subsequently convened for a second retreat connected with the review and assessment of academic offerings at Holy Cross. Under a grant from the Association of Theological Schools, which accredits Holy Cross, both faculties, along with the administration, are involved in a one-year project to assess and strengthen HCHC’s academic shared governance procedures, and to revise the Faculty Handbook accordingly. Rev. Peter Vaccari, Rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, led the retreat, sharing valuable insights from his many years of experience as the chief executive and academic officer of a Roman Catholic seminary.