BY ISN STAFF | September 21, 2018

This summer, the Ignatian Solidarity Network convened twenty-seven staff immersion leaders from twenty Ignatian network colleges and universities for the triennial Immersion Coordinators Summit.

The Summit, held this year in Chicago, provides an opportunity to share best practices and to network to develop ethical and holistic immersion program experiences.

Presentation and dialogue centered around Ignatian pedagogy, sustainable and ethical partnerships with host communities, and post-immersion formation.

Participants including staff from Boston College, Canisius College, the Carribean Social Immersion Program, Creighton University, DePaul University, Fairfield University, Fordham University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Le Moyne College, Loyola Marymount University, Loyoal University Chicago, Loyola University Maryland, Marquette University, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, Spring Hill College, University of San Francisco, University of Scranton, Villanova University, and Wheeling Jesuit University.

2018 Immersion Coordinators Summit Participants

Colleen Ryan Mayrand | Director, Service for Social Action Center at Wheeling Jesuit University

“I came back from the Summit with many new ideas and inspired to deepen the training for our student immersion leaders—with practical skills and with reflection facilitation rooted in Ignatian Spirituality.

Wheeling Jesuit University, located in the heart of Appalachia and home to the Appalachian Institute, also serves as a host community for immersion groups from other institutions. From this perspective, the Summit was an opportunity to hear what schools are looking for, how they prepare their students, and how their students are impacted by their immersion experiences. It gave me the opportunity to build relationships with some of the schools that send students through our programs, and to provide insight into our region and what we hope students learn while with us. We are located in a region with many challenges, but also with a lot to celebrate—we hope students learn that when they come.”

Frankelly Martinez at the 2018 Immersion Coordinators Summit

Frankelly Martinez, Summit Presenter | Director, Caribbean Social Immersion Program (a Jesuit program)

“This was my first time serving as a facilitator at the Immersion Leaders Summit and the first time the Caribbean Immersion Program attended the Summit…we are really privileged to have been there.

I saw engaged staff who want to improve the life of their students during immersion trips. They want to have horizontal relationships with people and organizations during the different immersion exchanges. It was an honor to be there as a representative of a local partner—attendees wanted to hear the local perspective.”

Dialogue around best practices in immersion programs was a key element of the Immersion Coordinators Summit.

Barbara King, Planning Team | Coordinator, International Service Program, University of Scranton

“As a relatively new Immersion Coordinator, learning from my peers through this planning team experience and as a first-time participant truly increased my knowledge base.  I am so grateful for this shared experience because I now have a better sense of the challenges and priorities faced by the majority of our programs. Developing connections with my peers through the Summit will no doubt continue to be important as I grow in my vocation.”

Susan Haarman at the Immersion Coordinators Summit.

Susan Haarman, Summit Presenter | Associate Director for Service Learning, Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Experiential Learning

“This gathering always provides a unique and crucial space for collegiality, collaboration, and learning. When I was still doing immersion work, it was such a gift to be in a space with fellow co-workers in vineyard who understood the unique challenges and gifts of doing this work in an Ignatian context. The relationships made there continue to be some of my highest prized professional bonds. Ongoing formation and spaces like these are essential as we seek to ensure that our programs are responsible, responsive, ethical, and engaging.”

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