The Master of Arts in Catholic Studies (CSMA) Online program will launch this fall with the goal of reaching a new generation and creating more flexible learning opportunities for nontraditional students. The launch follows the University of St. Thomas launch of STELAR, a state-of-the-art technology center that is working closely with Catholic Studies faculty to develop a heavily interactive online program designed to foster strong faculty/student engagement and community.

“We’re excited to be able to meet the needs of our graduate-level students in a new way, and we also recognize that the distinctive integrated learning experience of St. Thomas Catholic Studies – one that integrates the intellectual, spiritual and social life – cannot be lost as we grow,” said program director Erika Kidd, PhD. “This consideration has been at the forefront of how faculty are designing the courses, which will emphasize robust dialogue and personal engagement with students.”

The fall 2018 course offerings are History of Western Education with Michael Naughton PhD in a blended learning format, and Catholic Thought and Culture I with John Boyle PhD.

“The deep educational roots of the Catholic tradition creates a rich, eye-opening and accessible historical narrative, which is why I think the History of Western Education course has been a perennial favorite of our graduate students,” said Naughton, Koch Chair in Catholic Studies. “I’m looking forward to taking this course online. We’re developing a blended learning structure that makes the course material more accessible, without losing the human community that comes from the intimacy of classroom conversation.”

While online offerings will include courses that have long been popular with the variety of students the Catholic Studies graduate program attracts, the program has also developed a blended learning two-course sequence of study in the Mission and Culture of Catholic Schools, which is specifically tailored to meet the needs of Catholic school educators. The study sequence was developed in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Office for the Mission of Catholic Education, and is being offered at a special educator rate through the support of the College of Arts and Sciences and St. Thomas benefactors.

“The history of the first thousand years of the encounter of faith and culture is a dramatic one,” said Boyle, chair of the Department of Catholic Studies. “I look forward to bringing this alive for students in new ways through the opportunities afforded by online learning.”

The application deadline for online Catholic Studies graduate courses and the Mission and Culture Two-Course Study for Catholic School Educators is Aug. 1.

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