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COVID-19 CDU Community Update

Be assured that Catholic Distance University remains fully operational, and there will be no disruption to educational services or contact with our staff or faculty. Until further notice, staff will work remotely. We encourage you to communicate with us by email to ensure a prompt response. Staff will continue to receive phone calls and voicemail, but mail will be checked only occasionally. We pray that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. University officials will continue to post any updates here.

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Registration for the Fall I & II terms is underway. Fall I courses begin on August 24th. View courses here.

FEATURED SPOTLIGHT

July 13, 2020

Online Teaching Course Offered Worldwide

Catholic Distance University and the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) are partnering to offer IFCU faculty members worldwide a course titled Teaching in a Digital World. CDU’s faculty members are eager to share their knowledge with colleagues whose classes have suddenly moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CDU, the only exclusively online Catholic university, has been accredited to offer distance education since 1986 and has delivered online programs for 20 years. Faculty members are well versed in best practices in online teaching and have many years of successful teaching experience in the online environment. The 4-week, 10-hour course features Dr. Marie Nuar, Dr. Peter Brown, Alissa Thorell, and Kathy Vestermark presenting various elements of online teaching. President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount teaches the theory, research, pedagogy, and theology of distance education. Other topics covered include practical techniques of best practices for successful teaching online, course design, use of media, interaction, and student support. During the course, participants can develop a course of their own design on the Canvas learning platform and have many opportunities to dialogue with CDU faculty. The first course was offered in June and included faculty from the following countries and territories: Spain, Philippines, Belgium, Chile, Sierra Leone, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Congo DR, Indonesia, Spain, Italy, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, India, and Mexico. The course will be offered to IFCU members again in July, September, and October and will then be offered to anyone who wishes to enroll. Many faculty members accustomed to classroom teaching find the online environment a challenge both for themselves and for their students. In some cases, students have internet connectivity issues, and both teachers and students have a learning curve with the adaptation to a learning management system. There is a great interest in learning how to humanize and foster a sense of community especially in a Catholic university environment. Some faculty have expressed concerns about a lack of student engagement, the effects of social isolation on students, cultural differences, and potential learning loss. Teaching in a Digital World is designed to give faculty members the expertise and knowledge they need to teach online with confidence while fostering interaction, engagement, and strong learning outcomes for students.
July 6, 2020

MA Grad to Teach Computer Science

Fausto Franco, a graduate of the MA (Theology) program (Graduate School of Theology, 2019), will teach COSCI Introduction to Computing in the Fall II term. In addition to teaching for CDU, Fausto works in Information Technology with a focus on Cyber Security as a business information security officer for state government. He currently resides in Albany, New York, and is a parishioner at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of the Americas. After earning his M.Eng. in Computer Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Fausto felt an interior tug to educate himself in theology as he had prepared for his secular career. “I was in a place at that time where being in a traditional school setting was not ideal for me, and I started researching programs I could attend,” he says. “I do not like going to school at night, which is what I did for my first master’s degree, but was willing to do so if the Lord was placing this desire in my heart. One evening while at home, a Google ad for CDU popped up, and without realizing it, I clicked on the ad and was on the CDU page. Upon reading, I came to realize that the Lord had responded to what I had ‘demanded,’ and now it was on me to do my part. I applied, and the rest is history.” He thoroughly enjoyed the MA (Theology) program. “It was a challenging program, but each course happened at the ‘right’ time for me in my own personal faith journey,” he says. “It turns out that I was applying the material right away in my daily life. At times in ministry, questions or talks on topics would be presented to me that were specifically on the topic that I was currently engaged in. That served for me as a reminder of God's action in my life in responding to that interior tug, and these were moments of consolation on the journey. Those moments helped me to stay in the program,” he says. “In the journey of faith, obstacles are part of the package.” Fausto’s degree has been very helpful in his evangelization work, which has led to travel throughout the United States and internationally. “As I started the program, I was called to be the coordinator of the youth/young adult ministry for the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the Archdiocese of New York. It also was during this time that I served as the national coordinator of the US/Canada for youth/young adults in the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal,” he says. The MA program helped Fausto grow in his understanding of the faith and share it with others in the ministry and those who participated in retreats and events. “In the workplace, as co-workers found out that I was pursuing this degree, it led to many interesting conversations around faith. It allowed me to go deeper and gain more understanding to build my own relationship with God and, in turn, the desire to want to share that with others. It has allowed me to be part of the CDU faculty as well, teaching and allowing students to realize that even in the world of Mathematics and Computing, God is revealing Himself to us there and what the Church teaches us regarding these subjects,” he says. The oldest of four children born to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, Fausto was raised in the Bronx, New York. He has been involved in youth and young adult ministry for many years and is active on the Diocesan Service Committee for the Archdiocese of New York. He was published in the summer 2018 edition of Pentecost Today magazine and spoke at the Golden Jubilee 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in July 2017. Fausto also participated in the V Encuentro of Latino/Hispanic Ministry representing ecclesial movements and is a member of the Locos por Jesus ministry that travels to the Dominican Republic and throughout the United States to evangelize. In his free time, Fausto plays baseball in the Albany Twilight League, one of the oldest amateur baseball leagues in the country, usually as second baseman or shortstop. He played baseball for Siena College as an undergraduate.  
June 4, 2020

ATS GRANTS ACCREDITATION TO GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY

On June 2, 2020, the Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) voted to accredit Catholic Distance University’s Graduate School of Theology for an initial period of 7 years. Founded in 1918, ATS accredits more than 270 graduate schools of theology and most Catholic seminaries in the United States and Canada. CDU is the first exclusively online Catholic university without campus-based programs to achieve ATS accreditation. University Chancellor Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio said, “The Catholic Distance University Community and its Board of Trustees rejoice in the ATS accreditation for the next seven years. This vote of confidence for our Graduate School of Theology is a tribute to very diligent work and academic excellence, as well as a stimulus for increased effort and an ever deeper commitment to faithful theological education.” Archbishop Broglio heads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount said, “This accomplishment is a gift to the CDU Community and to all who will come to CDU in the future. I thank ATS for its commitment to accreditation standards that objectively evaluate schools based on their mission and academic outcomes, not the modality of educational delivery. CDU is honored to join so many highly respected Catholic seminaries and Christian theological institutions in Canada and the United States. We look forward to joining a community of scholars who will help to enhance our work and motivate us even more to make Jesus Christ more present today through our mission to communicate the mind and heart of the Church in a digital world.” Dr. Mount has been with CDU since 1983 and has served as president since 2008. The Graduate School of Theology provides a transformative learning experience in the digital space and develops leaders and teachers for the new evangelization in the 21st century. Its two degree programs and three certificate programs are offered completely online. Ninety percent of Graduate School of Theology alumni serve the Church in some ministry, including as youth ministers, directors of religious education, catechists, school teachers, liturgy directors, professors of theology, parish administrators, religious sisters, and diocesan staff. Others use their education to work in the public, non-profit, or private sectors in a variety of fields including education, healthcare, and business. Collectively, ATS member schools enroll approximately 74,500 students and employ more than 7,200 faculty and administrators. The mission of ATS is to promote the improvement and enhancement of theological schools to the benefit of communities of faith and the broader public. Member schools are committed to the following shared values: diversity, quality and improvement, collegiality, and leadership.
WHAT OUR GRADUATES ARE SAYING ABOUT CDU
Would recommend
CDU
Achieved their
learning goals
Are satisfied with
their studies
As reported in CDU’s 2019 DEAC Annual Report, based on program exit survey data.

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The mission of Catholic Distance University is to communicate the mind and heart of the Church in a digital world. Using distance education, the university educates teachers and learners worldwide in Catholic theology, the liberal arts, and faith development for the growth of faith, ecclesial service, and leadership for the New Evangelization.

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