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College of Education Faculty Launch Catholic School Microcredential Collaboration

Dr. Donna Kiel, Director of the Office of Innovative and Professional Learning (OIPL) and faculty member Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, former superintendent of Catholic schools for the Chicago Archdiocese, have collaborated to create two microcredentials that partner DePaul University with the Office of Catholic Schools. These two microcredentials offer Catholic schools, teachers, and students the opportunity to gain competency in the areas of Catholic identity, with this year’s emphasis on justice, and social and emotional learning (SEL).

Faculty members working with the archdiocese
In this program, Sister Mary Paul McCaughey encourages teachers at local schools to examine their own social and emotional development in order to build better connections with students, which is especially important in the time of remote learning. With the help of the Counseling Department at DePaul, Sister McCaughey ensures the program is trauma-informed so teachers have the resources to recognize and help students who have experienced trauma before or during the pandemic. The self-paced, research-backed SEL microcredential offers a digital badge upon completion, which can be displayed on social media or websites. Readers can click or hover over the badge icon and learn what participants accomplished in the program. Schools engaging in the SEL microcredential program include: St. Matthias; St. William; St. Ferdinand; St. Malachy; Our Lady of Tepeyac; Alphonsus Academy Center for Arts; Infant Jesus of Prague, Flossmoor; and Christ Our Savior, South Holland; St. Paul of the Cross, Park Ridge, and St. Sylvester plan to start in January.

While the SEL microcredential was designed for individuals, the Catholic Identity program was created for learning communities. The Catholic Identity program consists of eight modules and also offers a badge upon completion. This year, the value of justice was chosen to be the central theme and is apropos of recent historical events. In one module, students learn about champions of justice in history and discuss ways to incorporate this central value into their own lives. The Catholic Identity microcredential is being piloted this year at Christ Our Savior, South Holland; Infant Jesus of Prague, Flossmoor; St. Benedict, Blue Island; St. Ann; and St. Ailbe.