About CSB & SJU

Institutional Learning Goals

At the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, learning happens in classrooms, in labs, across campus and around the world. Drawn from our missions and our Catholic and Benedictine values and traditions, the Institutional Learning Goals are our pledge to students. We are dedicated to ensuring students achieve these learning and developmental outcomes by the time they graduate.

Think Deeply

Think critically, creatively and with complexity when addressing significant questions.

What does that look like?

Our students will demonstrate critical thinking and manage cognitive complexity. These skills include the ability to approach problems in integrative ways from multiple perspectives, as well as to ethically acquire, evaluate and apply information and communicate in multiple formats.

How will CSB/SJU make that happen?
  • You’ll learn a lot in class. But any decent college can say that.
  • You’re going to be confronted with ideas you hadn’t considered and opinions you may not share.
  • Places like the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy & Civic Engagement create spaces for approaching those differences and learning to talk to each other, rather than at each other.
  • That’s the way we will all move forward.
What’s the result?
  • You’ll look at issues and opinions beyond face value. You’ll want to uncover how and why they came about; what, if any, biases contributed to their creation; and how different perspectives change their essence.
  • You’ll invite intellectual and philosophical debates to help you hone your thinking and communication skills.
  • Armed with intellect and imagination, you will work at overcoming or outmaneuvering obstacles that seem unbeatable at first glance.

Embrace Difference

Observe life from multiple perspectives.

What does that look like?

Our students will demonstrate identity awareness, including power and privilege, and practice inclusivity and cultural agility. These skills include an ability to learn from, respect and work with people whose identity and perspective are different from their own. Students will engage the world through the lens of gender, with an appreciation of human differences.

How will CSB/SJU make that happen?
  • You’ll get opportunities to reflect on your own cultural identity, engage diverse points of view and learn to respect cultures/values different from your own.
  • Every fall our campuses are transformed by a whole new group of students – each coming from a different place and a different set of circumstances – merging together and learning to live away from home.
  • We put conditions in place across campus to broaden the spectrum of perspectives in the community. (But it’s one thing to be exposed to diverse voices and perspectives. It’s another thing to hear those voices.)
What’s the result?
  • You’ll understand the importance of considering how a person’s gender, ethnicity, cultural background, religious beliefs and sexual identity may affect their human experience, including the impacts of power and privilege.
  • You’ll set out with the intent to learn from, respect and value people whose identity and perspectives are different from your own. You’ll practice inclusivity and work to ensure that every voice and perspective is heard.
  • Developing a live-and-let-live attitude will give others the benefit of the doubt and support their right to their own point of view.

Engage Globally

Embark on a journey of discovery and take part in the world.

What does that look like?

Our students will commit to global engagement, civic engagement and citizenship. These skills include an understanding of justice and the common good, awareness of social responsibility and knowledge of world systems and their points of intersection/divergence.

How will CSB/SJU make that happen?
  • You’re going to find opportunities to reflect on your place in the world, experience different cultures and practice social responsibility both locally and globally.
    • For over half of our students, that will mean studying abroad.*
    • International students on campus represent over 20 countries.
    • Lucy Dornbach ’19 (gender studies) observed that, “In my Gender and Peace class, I was able to explore Liberia and its tumultuous history of civil war and peace building. My Sex and Gender in a Global Perspective class took me to Afghanistan, India and throughout the United States – all through literature and discussion. … I’ve seen the world, but I didn’t always have to leave campus to do so.”

*We’re consistently ranked among the nation’s leaders for both mid-length study abroad and total number of students who study abroad, according to annual Open Doors reports.

What’s the result?
  • Your geographical and cultural lens is going to get widened by exploring new places across the street or around the world.
    • Bennies and Johnnies look for opportunities to get involved in programs and organizations that benefit the greater good.
    • You’ll take your responsibilities as a global citizen seriously and know your decisions and behaviors impact others.
    • You’ll find yourself looking to expand your knowledge of world systems and their points of intersection and divergence.

Serve Graciously

Discover a meaningful life of purpose through service and leadership.

What does that look like?

Our students will commit to personal reflection, personal development, service and leadership. Grounded in our Benedictine heritage, these skills include an understanding of spirituality as an important aspect of identity, a commitment to community and principled leadership, and the ability to live a purposeful professional and personal life.

How will CSB/SJU make that happen?
  • You will find opportunities here to learn through service.
  • The process will challenge your perceptions and preconceptions and make you consciously examine how you’re growing.
  • Engaged courses enhance students’ academic engagement, sense of belonging and motivation for learning – and can have a positive relationship with GPA, retention and graduation rates.*
  • The core of our campus cultures is built around Benedictine values like hospitality, justice, respect for persons, stewardship and the dignity of work.

*According to “The Role of Service-Learning on the Retention of First-Year Students to Second Year” in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning

What’s the result?
  • You’ll seek out ways to practice your values.
  • You’ll take time for personal reflection and personal development, knowing that when you’re more grounded on the inside, you’re better equipped to serve others.
  • You’ll understand that spirituality is an important aspect of your identity and work at developing a better understanding of what that means in your life.
  • You’ll carve out time to give back to your community through volunteering and/or principled leadership.

Live Courageously

Embody the skills and attributes of personal and professional success.

What does that look like?

Our students will refine and articulate their educational, career and life goals. These skills include appropriate use of campus resources, resilience in the face of challenges and opportunities, and development of habits for personal success.

How will CSB/SJU make that happen?
  • College should be where big dreams are formed. (For many students from many backgrounds, there’s something inherently courageous in just starting college!) A close-knit residential college community like this offers a training ground for some of life’s big leaps.
  • The CSB/SJU learning experience provides opportunities and resources.
  • Programs like Collegebound get students out rock climbing, canoeing, backpacking, exploring … before they’ve even started college. “This is healthy risk taking,” says Kyle Rauch, the program’s advisor, “and the friendships formed and confidence gained transfer back to campus.”
What’s the result?
  • You can become someone who works continuously at refining and articulating your educational, life and career goals.
  • You’ll find yourself making a point to step outside your comfort zone and test your limits – opening the door to new learning opportunities.
  • You’ll be aware of how your actions impact your personal success, so you’ll consciously develop habits that improve your student/professional life.
  • You’ll value and take advantage of campus/community resources that will promote your success.
Contact the OAAE
Office of Academic Assessment and Effectiveness

Holly K. Christie, M.A.
Assistant Director
320-363-5289
Email hchristie001@csbsju.edu