What’s So Different About a Jesuit Education? Seeking Something Greater.

Healy Hall

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning in the United States.  

While this is a statement that we express with pride at Georgetown, it deserves more exploration. What are the Jesuit values that animate Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS)? And for prospective SCS students, especially those who might be curious about Georgetown’s religious heritage and character, what do you need to know about entering a learning community inspired by the Jesuit tradition of education?

There are many ways to describe the unique emphases of Jesuit education, a tradition that originates with St. Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th Century Spaniard who founded the Jesuits, a religious order in the Catholic Church. In modern times, Jesuits have become known for their commitments to social justice, practical spirituality, and academic excellence. For the last five centuries, the Jesuits have run schools of every kind across the globe. Today there are nearly 200 colleges and universities throughout the world with 28 in the American network.

Our approach to infusing education at SCS with Jesuit principles is always done in an inclusive and invitational way, respecting a plurality of religious traditions. Regardless of a student’s profession of faith, Jesuit mission comes alive at Georgetown through a variety of academic, service, and spiritual opportunities. At SCS, our faculty and staff make this inclusive approach to Jesuit values possible because they are intentionally encouraged and supported to more deeply integrate Jesuit values into their work.

The best way to understand Jesuit education is by spending some time with the Spirit of Georgetown. The university captures the distinctive qualities of a Jesuit education by naming 10 unique values, like “Contemplatives in Action,” “Faith that Does Justice,” and “Interreligious Understanding.” We bring these values to life at SCS in our unique learning context to deliver a world-class, values-based education to a diverse array of communities and individuals throughout their academic and professional careers. Here are some of the signature ways that Jesuit values are integrated into the SCS learning experience:

  • Care of the Whole Person: Education is about more than the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom. To educate the whole person is to pay attention to the many dimensions of ourselves that make us human: the emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, and physical. Faculty and staff at SCS attend to the whole-person education of students by encouraging opportunities for deeper personal development, including spiritual formation programs like retreats and a diversity of options for growing in meaning, belonging, and purpose through the Office of Mission and Ministry.
  • People for Others: To be educated in the Jesuit tradition is to be moved to service with and for others. This means that learning is never for its own sake but for deepening in a commitment to justice and the common good. All programs at SCS, regardless of the industry or content, can shape students to use their gifts and talents for the good of society. We encourage service and commitment to others through dedicated service opportunities; coursework that engages community-based partners serving marginalized persons and communities; and extra-curricular programs, like opportunities for entrepreneurship, that enable students to apply their skills to solve social problems.
  • Academic Excellence: A rigorous and high-quality education is necessary in order to achieve the personal and social goals that students bring with them to Georgetown. At SCS, we have developed innovative, flexible, and demanding academic experiences that challenge our students to become reflective and effective professionals. We also utilize technology, demonstrated by a robust array of online programs, to enhance student learning outcomes. Grounded in the Jesuit tradition of education, SCS designs programs to meet contemporary social and economic challenges, helping students address the world’s greatest needs. This is evident in our global commitments, dedicated programs in leadership development, and contributions to professional and academic communities.

We like to capture the spirit of this Jesuit education at SCS with #SeekSomethingGreater. All of us are invited to seek something greater in our work and study by making these Jesuit values a meaningful part of our learning experience at Georgetown SCS.

What are you seeking? What educational and career goals motivate your journey to Georgetown? How do you want to serve others?

Want to learn more about Jesuit values at SCS? Consider signing up for Mission in Motion, a blog that explores the many diverse ways that Jesuit mission and values come alive at the school.