Even though there are obvious differences between our culture and the culture of fourth-century B.C. Athens, cultivating practical wisdom, or what Aristotle called phronesis, remains one of the most important aims of education today.
At the heart of character and virtue education is equipping learners to discover their life’s meaning and potential. Practical wisdom of this sort does not replace or compete with a rigorous intellectual formation, particularly in the context of higher education. But it does necessitate that we aim to educate more than the mind alone. The renewed attention to character and virtue education attempts to bridge the gap between what we know and how we live.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is uniquely positioned to be a leader in character and virtue education. Lasallian education, following the example of Saint John Baptist De La Salle, seeks to teach minds, touch hearts, and transform lives. Currently, faculty of Saint Mary’s University are integrating components of character and virtue across academic disciplines and throughout the curriculum.
While providing our students with a deeper engagement in character and virtue is our initial focus, we also seek to extend this work beyond Saint Mary’s University. In the forthcoming years, our vision includes forming new school partnerships and supporting school leaders, hosting conferences and professional development opportunities for teachers, and contributing to research and scholarship in the field of character and virtue education.
This is an exciting time for Saint Mary’s University, and I am grateful for your interest in our work. As we continue to expand our programming, more resources will become available on this site. If there are ways that we can be of service or collaborate in the area of character and virtue education, I invite you to contact us.
Michael Hahn, Ph.D.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota