Seton Hall University

08/10/2022 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/10/2022 11:48

SHU’s Interdisciplinarity Receives International Attention

Ines Murzaku, Ph.D., Director of Catholic Studies recently presented Seton Hall's model of interdisciplinary academic integration at the IFCU General Assembly in Boston.

Seton Hall University's cutting-edge research and practice in the area of interdisciplinarity in light of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT) was the focus of a talk by Ines Murzaku, Ph.D., Director of Catholic Studies, at the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) General Assembly at Boston College in August. Speaking on a panel that included university leaders from Belgium, Italy, France, and the United States, Dr. Murzaku addressed the theme of local voices and global design in her presentation on Seton Hall's model of interdisciplinary academic integration and the hands-on application of the CIT in all disciplines, and in particular, in the Catholic Social Thought in Action Academy.

"It was very exciting to be part of this significant international meeting of the IFCU and to present to an international audience some of the best practices we have developed at Seton Hall" said Dr. Murzaku. "I also learned a great deal from our international collaborators, and I am eager to share their perspectives with my colleagues on campus."

Dr. Murzaku's talk, which will be published by the IFCU, was titled "Catholic Universities and the New Frontiers of Research." In it, she focused on the complementarity of faculty research and teaching, of interdisciplinarity and expertise, and ultimately of faith and reason and of knowledge and practice. She highlighted the work that the Catholic Social Thought in Action Academy, established in November 2021 through the Provost's Office and the Office of Grants and Research Services Innovation Challenge Grant, has been doing to make connections between Social Work and Catholic Studies, uniquely preparing students for careers in Social Work with the application of the principles of Social Justice in mind.

As Dr. Murzaku explained in her talk, the combined efforts of expert faculty across the University have produced unique opportunities for students and have demonstrated the relevance of interdisciplinary integration as a new frontier of research, based on Newman's model, in the 21st century. Dr. Murzaku shared, "Our lived experience at Seton Hall is somewhat counter-cultural in the realm of the 'traditional wisdom' that universities can be strong in either teaching or research, but not both. Our faculty's interdisciplinary efforts lead to a holistic education for all of our students, across all disciplines."

In June 2021, Seton Hall joined the IFCU, the world's largest and most diverse international network of Catholic universities. This world-renowned higher education organization, created in 1924 and based in Paris, is marked by both its geographical extensiveness and its cultural richness. Although a new member of this organization, Seton Hall is established as a productive contributor to the work of IFCU through the development of broad-based partnerships with the Catholic University of South Sudan and the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP) in Mexico. Additionally, under the direction of Dr. Murzaku, Seton Hall is overseeing a new intercontinental IFCU working group focused on exploring how the Catholic Intellectual Tradition can be integrated into curriculum for all disciplines.

In January, Seton Hall's Catholic Studies Program was presented as a model of an integrated educational approach at a seminar sponsored by the IFCU, featuring Dr. Murzaku and Reverend Gerald Buonopane, Ph.D., Minister to the Priest Community. They shared the mission-driven and intellectual principles that underpin Seton Hall's infusion of the CIT into all disciplines, as well as best practices in implementing an interdisciplinary Catholic Studies program. Also, through this working group, Dr. Murzaku, along with Justin Anderson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Moral Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, recently led an international discussion on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, based on Dr. Anderson's research on St. Thomas Aquinas' philosophy of diversity.

"The work Seton Hall has been doing for years-through Catholic Studies, the University Core, and now through initiatives such as the Innovation Challenge Grant-have helped to make our university an international leader in interdisciplinary integration," said Dr. Murzaku. "We have shown in research, teaching, and practical application how collaboration among the disciplines and shared value placed on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition can lead to innovations in higher education".