The Holy Family Experience
Designing Your Own Path
A vocation is a divine calling to utilize one’s personal gifts and talents in the service of others. This sense of calling is at the heart of Holy Family University's motto, teneor votis, which translates to: “I am bound by my responsibilities” to God, to self, and to society. Knowing just what those responsibilities are, or what they should look like in a student’s own life, can be a challenge. The goal of Holy Family University’s BLUEprint Curriculum is to assist students in designing a path to their vocation.
The Holy Family Experience is focused on guiding students through their academic journey of exploration and self-discovery by providing a wide range of courses and opportunities.
Unlike other core curricula which require students to complete a checklist of courses in their first few semesters, the Holy Family Experience offers students the opportunity to choose courses across all four years that can help guide them in finding and following their true and authentic path. These courses are intended to orient students to their strengths, connect them to their community, and guide them toward their vocation through an individualized pathway.
At Holy Family, our faculty experts have built a robust, four-year plan designed to guide students through a series of critical milestones that contribute to knowledge beyond the classroom and produce graduates who are prepared for careers and prepared for life.
This holistic approach comprises 45 credits which are divided into four tiers.
In addition to standard courses that all students must take, the Core lets students select five courses that are best suited to their area of study. Here are just two courses that a student might choose:
Food Security, Nutrition, and Climate Change
This course will introduce students to major concepts impacting food security including affordability, accessibility, and availability. Population demographics, climate change, and sustainable development will be addressed in the context of the importance of food security. This course will include a relevant community engagement activity.
Art Imitating Life: Psychological Themes on Broadway
This course explores the ways art imitates life by considering how various psychological themes are portrayed in Broadway productions. This course will include a trip to a theater to view a live production of a Broadway play. After the show, we will have a "chat back" with performers in the show to discuss the psychological themes portrayed.
Tier One courses provide students with the foundational knowledge, skills, and values necessary for academic success and employability. There are 18 required credits in Tier One. The Tier One curriculum includes a required course in Writing, Public Speaking, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Science. Tier One also includes three one-credit transaction courses, known as BLUEprint, taken in the first three years of the student’s coursework.
The Tier Two curriculum offers students an opportunity to select courses of their choosing. Students can self-select any five courses (15 credits) from the list of Tier Two offerings. In order to help ensure breadth of academic experience, students may only take two courses within a given discipline (e.g., SPAN I and II or SOCO 101 and SOCO 212).
Tier Three courses offer students the opportunity to participate in integrative learning through a number of course modalities, including interdisciplinary courses, team-taught courses, weekend intensive community integration courses, and travel courses (domestic and abroad) to complete their nine credits in this tier.
Tier Four is composed of the Interdisciplinary Core Seminar. This Core Seminar is the capstone course of the Holy Family Experience which helps students integrate their professional and formative knowledge in order to springboard their lifelong responsibility toward God, self, and society.
Student Learning Outcomes
The Holy Family Experience is a curriculum centered on meeting the following seven Student Learning Outcomes and their subsequent goals.
- Communication and information literacy
- Critical thinking and analytic reasoning
- Theological literacy
- Scientific engagement
- Cultural and global awareness
- Civic engagement and ethical reasoning
- Technological competence
Holy Family has created a four-year plan in which the journey is everything when it comes to student success.
Through a scaffolded approach within the Holy Family Experience curriculum, students of all backgrounds – from first-generation and Generation Z, to transfer, adult learners, and students seeking degree completion set forth on a path to successful degree completion.
The first year enables students to transition to life at Holy Family University; the second-year focus is on persistence with determination toward degree completion; the third year is centered on navigating with confidence through senior year and beyond.
Students entering at various phases of their academic careers will encounter core elements of the curriculum based on a student-centered and personalized approach, meeting students where they are.
Students will gain critical skills including:
- Analyzing metacognition to improve the process of learning and its associated outcomes.
- Evaluating optimal learning opportunities within and beyond the Holy Family community
- Demonstrating student/facilitator engagement and problem-solving
- Examining how Holy Family’s mission and values support diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Applying critical thinking and planning skills to clarify major and career goals
- Evaluating the academic and mental health efficacy of ‘Mindfulness’ and a ‘Growth Mindset’
- Evaluating technological resources as a means of supporting goals and aspirations
- Developing an artifact that demonstrates a carefully constructed reflection on the course learning outcomes related to overcoming challenges
Outcomes by the end of the student’s third year feature:
- Describing the criteria for a viable personal financial plan
- Evaluating post-BA employment and/or graduate school options
- Demonstrating student/facilitator engagement as part of future planning
- Applying critical thinking skills required for designing the Capstone Portfolio
- Examining how the mission and values of Holy Family foster continued lifelong transformation
- Establishing what it means to commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Providing evidence of technology's influences on culture, society, and the environment
- Developing an artifact that demonstrates a carefully constructed reflection on the course learning outcomes related to senior year and life after graduation
The whole of the Holy Family Experience truly is more than the sum of its parts, as students leave armed with the knowledge they need for the jobs of today, and the foresight to navigate the trends of tomorrow so that they remain poised to optimize their skills on behalf of the communities in which they work and live.