Centers and Institutes in Catholic Higher Education: Places of Innovation, Scholarship, and Service

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Centers and institutes are innovative venues at which colleges and universities organize and facilitate research, service, and scholarly exploration. The purpose of this article is to highlight the center and institute phenomenon in the context of Catholic higher education and identify ways in which these entities work to strengthen Catholic mission through academic pursuits on Catholic college / university campuses. Data collection from this national study has resulted in responses from 91 colleges / universities (91/195 = 46.6% response rate) of which the data identifi ed more than 450 centers and institutes. To date 128 center / institute directors have completed the online survey. This article reports on the findings, to date, of the size, scope, and range of academic centers and institutes across Catholic higher education. When completed, the study will be used to create a national database of centers to be housed on the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) website. Such a source of information, which does not currently exist, will help policy-makers, researchers, journalists, funders, and others to locate services and experts relevant to their interests. In addition to demographic responses from a ten-item survey of centers directors, several descriptive themes about the centers and institutes emerged from this research. Implications for practice in the context of Catholic higher education are offered.

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