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Statement of Educational Effectiveness

Statement of Educational Effectiveness.

The Seminary of the Immaculate Conception is committed to effectively implementing its various degree programs which include:  Master of Arts in Theology, Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies, Master of Arts in Catholic Philosophical Studies, and the Master of Divinity.


Program Completion Rate:

Over the last 10 years the two primary groups of students, seminarians and lay students (including those studying to be ordained as permanent deacons) have enjoyed the following program completion rates:


Seminarians:                                                 88%

Lay-students/Deacon Candidates:           84%


Program Scheduling Dynamism:

One of the reasons for the effectiveness of the programs is that each program is designed to include people young and old, experienced and amateur, professional and academic, full- and part-time, cleric and lay.  This dynamism increases the appeal and the effect of the seminary and its mission to form priests, deacons and laity after the heart and mind of the church, by making graduate level studies available to a large number of students.


For example:


The MA in Catholic Philosophical Studies is offered uniquely at the Campus in Douglaston for the pre-theologians; those men who have a degree in in a field other than philosophy or theology, yet who lack the requisite philosophical background required for studying theology at the graduate level in the major seminary.


The MA in Pastoral Studies for the deacon candidates is offered over the course of 4 years on Saturdays at the campus in Huntington in order to accommodate the deacon candidates’ professional lives.  These courses are also made available to lay students who find it challenging to come to class during the weekdays.


Courses for the MA in Pastoral Studies and the MA in Theology are offered weekdays and weekends; during the day and evening.  This accommodates the lives of most of our lay students, who are also professionals in other fields and must fit their studies into their complex schedules.


The seminary also offers online and hybrid course for all students, but in particular for those who might find that travelling to the campus is not possible during a particular semester.


This flexibility of scheduling enables many of our students to complete the degrees over several years, and gives each program an internal capacity to fit to the life of an individual student.


These tangible aspects of the program are ways in which the seminary effects the more theoretical goals of a liberal arts education, which have been best articulated by the Catholic educator, John Henry Cardinal Newman:


. . . a University training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society, at cultivating the public mind, at purifying the national taste, at supplying true principles to popular enthusiasm and fixed aims to popular aspiration, at giving enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of the age, at facilitating the exercise of political power, and refining the intercourse of private life.  It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them.  It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant.  It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any subject with facility.  It shows him how to accommodate himself to others, how to throw himself into their state of mind, how to bring before them his own, how to influence them, how to come to an understanding with them, how to bear with them.  He is at home in any society, he has common ground with every class; he knows when to speak and when to be silent; he is able to converse, he is able to listen; he can ask a question pertinently, and gain a lesson seasonably, when he has nothing to impart himself; he is ever ready, yet never in the way; he is a pleasant companion, and a comrade you can depend upon; he knows when to be serious and when to trifle, and he has a sure tact which enables him to trifle with gracefulness and to be serious with effect.  He has the repose of a mind which lives in itself, while it lives in the world, and which has resources for its happiness at home when it cannot go abroad.  He has a gift which serves him in public and supports him in retirement, without which good fortune is but vulgar, and with which failure and disappointment have a charm.  The art which tends to make a man all this, is in the object which it pursues as useful as the art of wealth or the art of health, though it is less susceptible of method, and less tangible, less certain, less complete in its result.


-John Henry Cardinal Newman, “The Idea of a University” Discourse VII, Section 10.