Praxis Program of the Advanced Seminar on Mission
Center for Vocation and Servant Leadership

Mentoring For Mission – An Interdisciplinary Practicum

Praxis Program of the Advanced Seminar on MissionIn Spring 2013, the Center for Vocation and Servant Leadership (CVSL) initiated the Praxis Pilot of the Advanced Seminar on Mission, co-sponsored with the Center for Catholic Studies (CCS), the Bernard J. Lonergan Institute. Its purpose is to engage faculty and administrators in a process of peer mentoring and curricular/co-curricular support designed to apply the mission of the University to their respective disciplines and departments, through a method which connects the disciplines to each other, to an integrated understanding of knowledge, and to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

The method chosen fulfills the purposes stated above. It is the Generalized Empirical Method (GEM) of Bernard J. F. Lonergan, S.J., a Jesuit philosopher and theologian. He described his method as follows:

In brief, underpinning special methods there is what I have named generalized empirical method (GEM). Its operations are the operations we can verify each in his own consciousness. And the normative pattern that relates these operations to one another is the conscious dynamism of sensitive spontaneity, of intelligence raising questions and demanding satisfactory answers, of reasonableness insisting on sufficient evidence before it can assent yet compelled to assent when sufficient evidence is forthcoming, of conscience presiding over all and revealing to the subject his authenticity or his unauthenticity as he observes or violates the immanent norms of his own sensitivity, his own intelligence, his own reasonableness, his own freedom and responsibility.

Bernard Lonergan, A Third Collection, Papers by Bernard Lonergan, SJ, ed. Frederick E. Crowe (New York: Paulist, 1985) 150.

The point of the GEM is to highlight the general method of the human spirit as it gives rise to the specialized methods of the sciences and scholarly disciplines as well as opens out to questions of meaning, community, progress and decline in history, religion and revelation. Such a method acknowledges the proper autonomy of the sciences and scholarly disciplines, but it is also able to "sublate" them within the higher viewpoint of faith.

Background and Rationale

In 2008, the CVSL developed and implemented The University Seminar on Mission in response to the need for a tangible increase in identification with Seton Hall’s Catholic mission by the faculty and administrators. In response to the request of the alumni of the University Seminar on Mission for a program to deepen their understanding and dedication to the Catholic mission, The Advanced Seminar on Mission was offered by the CVSL in 2011. The seminar’s success prompted the program alumni to request additional mentoring on the application of the mission to their disciplines and administrative departments.

The Program

In response, in Spring 2013, the CVSL offered the Praxis Pilot of the Advanced Seminar on Mission, co-sponsored with the CCS, aimed at the practical application of mission to the disciplines, utilizing GEM and a cohort/peer mentoring approach. It was facilitated by Msgr. Richard Liddy, Director of the Center for Catholic Studies. Thirteen faculty and administrators participated as the first cohort of GEM Fellows. The majority implemented their ATMs (Application of The (GEM) Method) in their classes and administrative positions in the 2013-14 academic year.


In Spring 2014, a second cohort participated and implemented their ATMs in the 2014-2015 academic year.


In Spring 2015, a third cohort of the Praxis Program will be open to alumni of The Advanced Seminar on Mission. Six sessions will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays: January 23; February 6 and 20; March 6 and March 20; April 10. Faculty participants will receive a stipend of $500. Please click here to see the syllabus »

Spring 2014 GEM Fellows ATMs:

Justin Anderson, Theology: "Setting Inner Conditions Aright: An Exploration in the Inner Conditions for Insight into the Truths of Catholic Moral Theology"

Beth Bloom, Library: "Hierarchical Research in Time and Place"

Mary John Bosco E. Amakwe, Communications:  "Exposition of Lonergan’s Notion of Cognitional Self-Appropriation in the Field of Communication"

Alan Delozier, Library: "Archival Science & Historical Method Toward Quest For Insight"

Irene DeMasi, PT: "A Pathway to Insight: Infusing Generalized Empirical Method (GEM) into Service Learning to Guide Professional Development"

Donna Ho-Shing, Nursing: "A Workshop for Promoting Nursing Students’ Success: The Utility of the Generalized Empirical Method"

Walter P. Kennedy, MICAH Program: "Cognitional Theory and Leadership – GEM in the Stillman School"

Anthony Lee, Library: "The Reference Interview Through the Prism of the Generalized Empirical Method"

Thomas Mernar, OT: "Reinforcing Occupation-based Approaches through Lonergan’s Generalized Empirical Method"

David Opderbeck, Law School: "Interpreting Statutes with Lonergan"

Melinda Papaccio, English: "Writing Into Our Authentic Selves: Using Elements of Lonergan’s Generalized Empirical Method in Freshman Composition"

Anthony Sciglitano, Religious Studies: "The Heart of the Core"

Doreen Stiskal-Galisewski, Department of Physical Therapy:  "The Application of GEM to Measure Physical Therapy Student Outcomes: A Capstone Experience"

Todd Stockdale, Core: "Lonergan's Cognitional Process and the Encounter Between Text, Teacher, and Student"

Spring 2013 GEM Fellows ATMs:

Kate Asselin, University Advancement: “The Application of Generalized Empirical Method to Administration.”

Theresa Bartollota, Speech Therapy, SHMS: “Generalized Empirical Method and the Profession of Speech-Language Pathology.”

Josephine DeVito, School of Nursing: “Generalized Empirical Method Applied to Maternal Child Nursing Theory and Clinical NUTC 3914.”

Nancy Enright, Department of English: “The Application of Generalized Empirical Method in English Literature and Writing.”

Robert Faraci, Occupational Therapy, SHMS: “Generalized Empirical Method in Occupational Therapy”

Marion Glenn, Department of Biology: “Generalized Empirical Method Applied to the Study of the Natural Sciences.”

Tara Hart, Director, Housing and Residence Life: “Generalized Empirical Method in Training Student Life Professionals.”

Anthony Haynor, Department of Sociology: “Mapping the Social Matrix in Introductory Sociology.”

Jose Lopez, Physics Department: “Answers Instead of Questions: The Dangers of Unchallenged Authority in Science.”

Joseph Maloy, Department of Chemistry: Article as part of course on “Science and the Church:” “In Search of Authenticity in Scientific Methodology.” A critique of positivist science and inauthenticity in scientific methodology.

Brian Sheppard, Seton Hall Law School: “Seeking the Higher Viewpoint: Legal Education and Generalized Empirical Method.”

Lisa-Rose Wiles, University Libraries: “Applying Generalized Empirical Method to Library Instruction”

Genevieve Pinto Zipp, Graduate Programs in Health Sciences: “Mentoring the Mentors: Generalized Empirical Method in Doctoral Health Education”

Sponsored by the Office for Mission and Ministry and the Center for Vocation and Servant Leadership.

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