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Certificate in Catholic School Leadership

The Certificate in Catholic School Leadership is a graduate-level certificate that provides the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to form effective leaders of Catholic schools. Through its integration of the foundational realities of the Catholic faith and the competencies to run complex, non-profit institutions in the twenty-first century, the certificate program prepares individuals to be inspirational leaders in schools tasked with the formation and education of the next generation of faithful disciples.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the delivery of academic programming at the University of St. Thomas and The Saint Paul Seminary, the start of the next cohort for the Certificate in Catholic School Leadership will be deferred until the Summer of 2021. The completion of studies for the inaugural (2019) cohort will occur via online instruction. Any other events or activities will be communicated via email from the program director directly to students who are currently enrolled.

The Certificate in Catholic School Leadership consists of a 14-month program of study that spans two consecutive summers and the intervening school year. Summer courses (two per summer) are delivered in a traditional format, utilizing in-person instruction within a classroom context over a two-week session in June and another in two-week session in July. Courses during the academic year (one each in the fall and spring semesters) are delivered online, and accompanied by a supervised mentoring experience to develop and improve the leadership skills of current and future Catholic school leaders.

Seven required courses, totaling 19 credit hours, are offered sequentially in a cohort model:

  • DVDT 510: Fundamentals of the Catholic Faith for Catholic School Leaders (3 credits) 
  • DVPT 575: Catholic School Leadership I (3 credits)
  • DVHS 620: The History, Philosophy, and Mission of the Catholic School (3 credits)
  • DVPT 670: Applied Catholic School Leadership (2 credits)
  • DVPT 609: Catholic Schools and School Law (3 credits)
  • DVPT 607: Non-Profit Leadership for Catholic School Leaders (2 credits)
  • DVPT 675: Catholic School Leadership II (3 credits)

Full Catholic School Leadership Course Descriptions (PDF)

As a specialized ministry of the Church, leadership of Catholic schools is entrusted to those who have been adequately and thoroughly formed in the faith.  Formation for ministry attends to the whole human person, focusing on the development of the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral attributes necessary for effective ministry that gives authentic witness to the transformative power and love of Christ.

The Certificate in Catholic School Leadership is much more than an academic program.  Co-curricular components provide opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, and the development of the practical skills needed to realize the vision and mission of Catholic education.  An opening retreat, Saturday mornings of reflection, times for private and communal prayer, the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and daily Mass, along with opportunities for spiritual direction and theological reflection are essential elements of an integrated and holistic formation program that prepares participants to become the catechetical and spiritual leaders of their local schools.  Striving to respond faithfully to the universal call to holiness, Catholic school leaders endeavor to conform their hearts and minds to the will of God, so that they might be more credible witnesses of the faith as they manifest and model the love of Christ for their students, faculty colleagues, and the families and communities they serve.

Participants in the certificate program form a community of disciples in which they learn from and support one another, both during their time of study and throughout the subsequent years of their professional lives.  Summers in residence at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity nurture the bonds of community through shared meals, communal worship, time for socializing and recreation, and ample occasions to collaborate with colleagues on course assignments and projects. The program’s cohort model forges and strengthens the personal relationships and professional networks that school leaders often rely on to weather the challenges and difficulties of their careers.

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