In the Catholic tradition, teaching is a vocation and a ministry, as well as a gift of the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:20; Eph. 4:11, 1 Cor. 12:28). As an Augustinian university, Villanova looks to the model of St. Augustine, who exercised his ministry to the church as an educator.
Embodying the integration of heart and mind, Augustine realized the pivotal relationship between his faith and pedagogy (Confessions, I; The Teacher, XII). With love as the criterion of excellent teaching (On Christian Teaching, I), he cultivated a community of learners intent on seeking the truth together in friendship.
The Department of Theology and Religious Studies recognizes the need for educational leaders committed to the common good who can teach effectively in various contexts, including schools, colleges, and universities, as well as parishes, congregations, and parachurch and community organizations.
Higher education today demonstrates increasing concern for pedagogy, with the recognition that how people learn affects what they learn - and who they become. Moreover, as a discipline that integrates theory and practice, theology calls for educators who critically reflect on the mutual mediation of subject matter and pedagogy.
In light of our Augustinian identity, graduate student formation in theology at Villanova prioritizes an apprenticeship-in-community model of education as students transition from “senior learners” to “junior colleagues.” Therefore, The Heart of Teaching provides graduate students with instruction, supervision, and mentorship in pedagogical theory and practice, as well as mentoring in professional and leadership competencies. This apprenticeship occurs within the context of a peer community.