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Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., Launches New Catholic College-Credit Online Program | May 10, 2010 | Ignatius Insight
SAN FRANCISCO, May 10, 2010—Jesuit Father Joseph
Fessioł founder and editor of Ignatius Press, a former student of Pope Benedict
XVI, and longtime leader in Catholic higher education, is launching a
groundbreaking, international college-credit program for Catholic high school
students, homeschoolers, and others.
The program, called the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies
Program (www.liberalstudiesprogram.com), is a joint project of Ignatius Press
and Angelicum Great Books Program, a longstanding provider of homeschooling and
other liberal arts resources. Father Fessio serves as Chancellor of the new
online LSP program, which begins this fall.
The Need for a Solidly Catholic Online College-Credit
"The Liberal Studies Program comes at the perfect time to
address a rapidly growing need and desire of serious Catholic parents and
students," according to Father Fessio, whose previous academic positions
include founding and serving as the first Director of the St. Ignatius
Institute, University of San Francisco, and Provost of Ave Maria University in
"Many of these students attend community colleges for one or
two years, and then transfer to a four-year institution. But how many truly
excellent Catholic colleges are there to transfer into? And at what cost?
Furthermore, it's the first years of a good Catholic college education that are
the most important: the liberal arts foundation."
The Liberal Studies Program (LSP) curriculum combines
distance education, online classes— including a theology course nearing
completion for full online access—and Ignatius Critical Editions Great
Books and Study Guides, to provide Catholic high school students with the
ability to earn college credit, while acquiring the foundations for a Catholic
liberal education and lifelong learning. Participating students are
homeschoolers, students in Catholic high schools, and other serious students
ages fourteen and older.
"Great Books education is central to the
LSP," notes Angelicum Academy President Patrick Carmack. "It takes its
inspiration from the philosopher and renowned educator Dr. Mortimer J. Adler,
the former Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Great Books
of the Western World. Adler called for a reform of American education, which
included providing many high school students college-level education in the
Fidelity to the teaching of the Catholic Church is
fundamental to the LSP program. Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution on
Catholic higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, guides the program's understanding of the LSP's Catholic mission.
LSP is accepted for college-credit at Benedictine College
(Atchinson, Kansas, USA); Campion College, Australia; St. Bede's Hall, Oxford,
UK; Catholic Distance University; and many other colleges and universities.
An Affordable Program
"Many good Catholic families are blessed with talented
children, but the costs of four years of private college are simply beyond
their means," notes Father Fessio. "Or they don't want their children to be
burdened with tens of thousands of dollars of debt when they graduate."
The costs of the LSP are a small fraction of the expense of
traditional college education. A private, four-year college tuition and fees
average $26,273 per year—over $100,000 for a four-year degree. With a
coordinated course of study through LSP and its affiliates in the Universities
of Western Civilization network of cooperating colleges, students can obtain a
bachelor's degree with an accredited college for as little as
$26,600—about a fourth of the cost of four years on campus.
"The LSP solves many of the problems of higher education at
once," insists Father Fessio. "It's inexpensive. It provides up to two years
of college credit. It challenges talented students, introducing them to the
great books of Western civilization and the Catholic intellectual tradition.
It provides the foundation necessary for any professional career. Young people
have another year or two before having to decide on a major. And, not to be
taken for granted: the LSP faculty is composed of talented, experienced
Catholic professors, with at least one PhD in each class."
"And this is just the beginning," Father Fessio continues.
"As the LSP grows, we intend to provide opportunities for students to
complement their on-line studies with week-long, even month-long meetings with
professors and other students. There are already plans for gathering at the
centrally located campus of Benedictine College near Kansas City, and even at
Benedictine's campus in Florence, Italy. Because the cost of the LSP is so modest,
and because students will have much more control over their schedules, many, if
not all, of the students enrolled in the LSP will be able to take part."
Classes for the Ignatius-Angelicum LSP begin the first week
of September, 2010. To register, students should call 1-360-496-0098, text
719-930-7549, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They may also learn more at
Or CLICK HERE for
an online enrollment form. Students must have access to a PC and a phone
line. High-speed internet is helpful but not necessary. Most students
participate from home.
To interview Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., Chancellor of the
Liberal Studies Program, please contact:
Rose Trabbic, Publicist, Ignatius Press, (239) 867-4180 or email@example.com
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