Welcome, New Team Members!

We are proud to introduce the new Director of Admissions, Todd Nolan. Todd is a graduate of CDU’s MA (Theology) program. He has 10 years of experience in teaching high school theology, youth ministry leadership experience in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and most recently, expertise as a student success advisor and adjunct faculty member at Ave Maria University. Also, Sherry Shipley joined the staff as Bursar in October. Both Todd and Sherry bring extraordinary experience and talent to our team. Please join us in welcoming them.

We Welcome New Alumni President George Muñoz

New Alumni President George Muñoz brings vast leadership experience to CDU. George is a recent graduate of the MA (Theology) program in addition to being a graduate of the Harvard Law School, the Harvard Public Policy School, DePaul University, and the University of Texas. Currently the principal at Muñoz Banking Group, LLC, and a partner at Tobin and Muñoz Law Firm in Washington, D.C., George has extensive experience in corporate governance. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at the National Geographic Society, Laureate Education, Inc., Walden University, Marriott International, and the Altria Group. He has also served as President of the Chicago Board of Education, President of a federal agency overseas private investment corporation, and as Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. Treasury Department under President Clinton. George lives in McLean, Virginia, and enjoys raising his two sons, Mario and Manuel, with his wife Kathy.

We hope that you will enjoy connecting with George as we work together to ensure a bright future for CDU as a world-renowned Catholic online university

From Our President

While this has been a very challenging year and the future is still unclear, for CDU there have been bright lights, as only those with faith discover that God always brings greater good from suffering.

One obvious effect of the pandemic for CDU has been the recognition of online education as another fully effective form of higher education. While it has not been the standard model in the United States, all institutions have been forced to embrace it, and many more students and parents are discovering the benefits of distance education. While we continue to work hard to improve our marketing and admissions, we are seeing significant growth in new students and enrollments. Our marketing is emphasizing our history as pioneers in this field and our 20 years of experience in online education.

We were approached after Easter by the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) to partner in offering a four-week course to faculty on how to teach effectively online. We are now in our fourth series of classes, working with faculty from five Catholic universities in Lebanon. What a privilege for us to work with highly credentialed faculty who are hungry to improve their teaching effectiveness with distance education. The international faculty show great enthusiasm for distance education and their hope that it can be incorporated into their universities permanently. We all agree that hybrid instructional models are the ideal solution for the future. Without the pandemic, I doubt we would see such growth in the practice and endorsement of distance education.

Another significant endorsement of CDU’s model came in early June when the Association of Theological Schools fully accredited CDU as the first exclusively online university accredited by ATS. More and more ATS-accredited schools are adding distance education, but CDU has now made history with ATS.

The 2020 Gala has turned out to be a very different kind of annual fundraiser. While we were planning to honor Bishop Barron with the Founders Award, the pandemic forced us to cancel the Gala because of restrictions on large gatherings in Washington, D.C. Bishop Barron has graciously agreed to join us in person on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at the St. John Paul II National Shrine. Professor Helen Alvaré has graciously agreed to postpone her service as emcee and mistress of ceremonies until then as well. In the meantime, we need your support for 2020. The Gala is a major fundraising event for the University. Please consider a sacrificial gift this year.

The Pandemic Will Not Stop CDU’s Remarkable Progress

While demand increases for distance learning programs, ministries to the underserved are exploding, and university enrollments continue to grow, CDU has been forced to cancel the 2020 Gala because of safety concerns in Washington, D.C. Though we cannot hold our biggest fundraising event of the year, we cannot cancel the needs of those we serve. We need your help now more than ever to keep this great work going. We aim to raise $200,000 by the end of November through our Overcoming the Pandemic Together Appeal. We also hope you will attend the 2021 Gala, when we honor Bishop Robert Barron.

During the most productive and challenging year in the University’s 37-year history, CDU has made remarkable progress and won new recognition as a pioneer and leader in online education.

CDU’s graduate school was accredited this spring by the Association of Theological Schools. Through a partnership with the International Federation of Catholic Universities based in Paris, CDU is training international faculty to teach online. CDU is also partnering with Father Robert Spitzer, SJ, and the Magis Institute to certify Catholic school teachers in science-based apologetics to help counter secular confusion about God and science. CDU is also partnering with Catholic Faith Technologies to offer affordable online catechist certificate programs. Please join us in supporting our Overcoming the Pandemic Together Appeal. To donate, visit cdu.edu/donate today.

Pope Francis Honors Board Member

On September 19th Pope Francis honored CDU Board member Theodore J. Musco with the Papal Bene Merenti Medal for longtime service to the People of God of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Musco now serves as Vice President of RENEW International, a ministry that revitalizes spirituality in millions of Catholics through small group programs. Join us in congratulating Ted for his papal recognition and new role in serving the Church.

New Courses Offer Fresh Learning Opportunities

Three exciting courses debuted in fall 2020.

THEO 552 Sacraments and Liturgy, taught by Marcellino D’Ambrosio, not only covers the theology and history of each of the seven sacraments and its basis in both the Old and New Testaments but extensively deals with the history of worship in the Catholic Church. Despite elements of the sacred liturgy that have always remained constant, many Catholics do not fully appreciate how much liturgical diversity there is in the Body of Christ. This course is meant to increase that appreciation as well as to explain why Vatican II made the liturgical reforms that it did.

THEO 541 Theology of Church is taught by Father Bevil Bramwell, OMI. The theologian Henri de Lubac called the Church “the convergence of all of the mysteries.” The mysteries of God, the missions of the Divine Son and the Divine Spirit, Christ, man, and world meet to constitute the Church. This course will help faithful students see how they participate in the great mysteries of salvation, the results of the missions of the Son and the Spirit. They will learn how to participate in Christ’s presence in the faith community and in the Church’s mission to the world. The course explains the various elements of the Church of Jesus Christ through the mission of the divine Son. It also describes the operation of the accompanying mission of the Holy Spirit to realize the Church.

COSCI 101 Computer Essentials, taught by Fausto Franco, enables students to learn and master applications such as MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for practical use in daily life and business. Students will also explore the basic teachings of the Church regarding technology itself and the integration of technology and communications to further the New Evangelization and the life of the Church. This course is useful for any student but especially for students who require three credits in the mathematics distribution area for the AA or BA degree programs.

Support for the Underserved

Support for our incarcerated brothers and sisters is soaring. The CDU prison ministry program continues to innovate to digitally embrace the incarcerated Church. With your support, we have served 280,000 free courses with an outstanding 90% satisfactory completion rate. CDU is especially grateful for recent grants from The Order of Malta Federal Association and The Most Reverend John Dougherty. Many of those behind bars not only have a passion to learn more about their faith, they have a heart to serve others in their community. CDU is creating new digital courses and reorganizing those currently offered into certificate programs to support incarcerated evangelists for the faith. CDU is grateful for team members Ulises and Diana Hubbard, Maria Alejandra Palacios,  and Dr. Marlon de la Torres for working to translate courses into Spanish. CDU also appreciates Doug Sandvig and the Order of Malta prison ministry team for creating a digital rosary program that has launched with amazing success. Together, we are making strides in reaching incarcerated Catholics and we are just realizing the digital potential for service to the underserved.

Student of the Year Lives What She Has Learned

Rosanne Terese Kouris of LaPorte, Indiana, has been named CDU’s Outstanding Graduate for 2019. Kouris is a worthy honoree who graduated summa cum laude, having attained a 4.08 GPA while earning her BA degree in Theology. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission, CDU’s accreditor, honors an outstanding graduate or alumnus each year from its member institutions.

Rosanne is currently the coordinator of the Office of Family Life for the Diocese of Gary, Indiana. Obtaining her BA has enabled her to develop and expand programs and events offered by the diocese to enrich marriage and family life, including marriage preparation, natural family planning, marriage enrichment, women’s Bible studies, and an annual Women’s Conference. As the director of the diocese’s Rachel’s Vineyard ministry, knowledge and insights obtained through her studies have given her a richer platform from which to minister to those in need of post-abortion healing.

Rosanne is the head of the Savior of the World Children’s Center, a home for orphaned and indigent children in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She oversees the operation of the home, organizes fundraising, and edits a bimonthly newsletter. She and her husband have legally adopted five orphaned children from the Savior of the World Children’s Center, who now live with them in the United States. Rosanne is active in the pro-life movement and frequently volunteers for events.

Of her time at CDU, Rosanne says, “Catholic Distance University is an excellent online school with rich and diverse courses, knowledgeable and caring staff, paired with solid Catholic theology. Their interactive class structure made learning stimulating and gratifying, inspiring me through challenging courses, and motivating me to complete my degree.”

Incarcerated Students Deepen Their Faith

CDU’s online prison tablet education program is now in 150 prisons. Students can now choose from 26 free courses and six in Spanish to learn more about the Catholic faith.

More than 210,000 free courses have been taken to date, and CDU plans to continue developing new courses to keep incarcerated students engaged and growing in faith. Since many prisons do not have Catholic chaplains, CDU is developing online certificate programs to form faithful leaders behind prison walls to support this ever-growing, isolated population. We are grateful to our supporters, the Diocese of Wheeling- Charleston, The John C. Fricano Foundation, Elizabeth Shortell, The Andreas Foundation, and the Order of Malta Federal Association, which not only awarded grants but also hosts a pen pal program to support incarcerated students through their experience of imprisonment.

Online Teaching Course for International Faculty

CDU has agreed to create a month-long course for the International Federation of Catholic Universities that will help train Catholic faculty throughout the world in effective online teaching practices. The course is titled Teaching in a Digital World. “CDU is blessed to teach our brothers and sisters in Catholic education with proven strategies, best practices, and policies that will help them transition to digital during these challenging times,” says CDU President Dr. Marianne Mount.

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