ASACCU Recognizes Innovative Assumption’s Program to Assist RAs in Developing Mission-based Programming

Aug. 8, 2019
Office of Communications
Chapel of the Holy Spirit

The Association of Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASACCU) has awarded Assumption College’s Office of Residential Life with a mission integration award for its efforts to infuse the institution’s Catholic identity into student affairs programming.

“At the direction of President Cesareo, our office was tasked with enhancing resident assistants’ education surrounding Catholic faith tradition,” shared Ted Zito, interim dean of students. “The goal of the program is to instruct RAs on different concepts and teachings within the Roman Catholic Church. By extension, the RAs gain a deeper understanding of the mission of the College. We are proud that ASACCU recognized this innovative program that seeks to empower students with a greater understanding of our Catholic mission.”

Senior residential life staff developed a yearlong training series focused on introducing resident assistants to the moral and ethical teachings of the Catholic Church. This in-service training series was coined “Foundation Fridays.” The initial program sessions were developed around Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Robert E. Barron’s CATHOLICISM series. Sessions were developed and facilitated by staff in the Office of Residential Life and Campus Ministry, and by the College’s vice president for Mission. 

During these sessions, resident assistants gathered to view video content that was then addressed in group discussions. They then shared critical feedback through follow-up meetings that guided future Foundation Friday sessions. During the 2017-18 academic year, those sessions explored four of the seven Cardinal Virtues of the Catholic Church: Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice. A formal assessment was also introduced to measure how and if the series had enhanced residential assistants’ faith journeys or understanding of the College’s Catholic mission. According to assessment results from surveys and focus groups used to measure the effectiveness of the program, data emerged that proved helpful in determining the achievement of success with the learning outcomes.  Resident assistants consistently rated themselves in the areas of their faith development with probing and convictional commitment, as well as being able to articulate and relate the Principles of Student Engagement in the Assumptionist Tradition.

According to ASACCU, the organization presents the Best Practices in Mission Integration awards to highlight best practices in a range of student affairs areas. ASACCU shares that the programs recognized intentionally articulate Catholic identity as an integral part of a student affairs program. ASACCU sponsors the annual awards to foster an environment of information sharing to “deepen our members’ understanding of the interplay between Catholic identity and the ever-changing complexity of contemporary circumstances and student experiences on our campuses.”