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Benedictine Leadership Studies

  • Special Program

Award-Winning Program

Benedictine Leadership Studies was recently named the best program in the country for Mission Integration by the Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASACCU).

The Rule of Saint Benedict serves as the cornerstone leadership model for the program, offering a deeper understanding of leadership in your personal and professional life and in service to local, national and global communities. Benedictine Leadership Studies is a virtue-based, ethical structure for the study of leadership. The program is grounded in the Benedictine Wisdom Tradition, which has been developing since The Rule of St. Benedict was published 1,500 years ago. Its 10 core principles, or hallmarks, are derived from The Rule and form the core of BLS.

What is the Benedictine Leadership Studies Program?

The Benedictine Leadership Studies (BLS) program will allow you to analyze who you are as an individual called to serve and promote the common good of your community, and to develop a meaningful understanding of God’s purpose for your life, using the teachings of the Catholic Church and Benedictine spirituality as guides.

The 10 hallmarks distilled from the Rule of Saint Benedict are:

  1. Love of God and Neighbor as Self
  2. Prayer
  3. Stability
  4. Conversatio (Growth as a Disciple of Jesus Christ)
  5. Obedience
  6. Discipline
  7. Humility
  8. Stewardship
  9. Hospitality
  10. Community

The 10 Hallmarks shape the character of the BLS program. As a BLS fellow, you will be educated in the virtues associated with the Hallmarks, and encouraged to develop them in ways appropriate to your future profession and vocation. Love of God and neighbor as self, purposeful reflection, commitment to one's obligations, openness to truth, steady work habits, humble regard for others, and a respect for creation are all attributes encouraged by the program. Recognizing that all leadership takes place in the context of communities, whether they be civic, natural or supernatural, the BLS program seeks to cultivate the complete human person: body, soul and spirit.

For more information, please contact the BLS Director, Michael Krom, PhD (michael.krom@stvincent.edu)

To learn more about Benedictine Leadership Studies, listen to our Steel City Catholic Podcast and follow us on Facebook: @StvincentBLS

Program Highlights

  • BLS Program Content

    BLS program content includes:

    • Academic courses with your fellow BLS students in leadership, ethics, politics and Benedictine spirituality
    • Seminars on leadership presented by Saint Vincent College faculty members
    • Annual trips focused on specific aspects of Benedictine leadership
    • Three-credit capstone course trip to Rome in the senior year
    • Experiential activities to enhance leadership skills and work collaboratively with peers
    • Spiritual formation under the guidance of Benedictine monks
    • Professional development and career services provided by the Career and Professional Development Center
    • Unique internships for academic credit
    • Service project opportunities
    • A $2,000 Fellowship (automatically renewed up to four years for BLS Fellows)
  • Academic Course Work

    In order to receive a Benedictine Leadership Studies certificate, you must complete 16-20 BLS credits. Up to 15 of these credits can count toward the college's core curriculum.

    • Theology 342 BLS: Benedictine Heritage (BLS-designated section) - 3 credits
    • Political Science 100 BLS: Principles of American Politics (BLS-designated section) - 3 credits
    • Philosophy 215 BLS: Ethics (BLS-designated section) - 3 credits
    • Business 280: Leadership - 3 credits
    • BLS 200: Leadership and the Eternal City - 1 credit
    • BLS 250: Internship - 0-1 credits+
    • BLS 300: Rome Capstone Seminar - 0-3 credits*

    + An internship of at least 45 hours will be completed during the junior year. In addition to meeting the standard requirements for an SVC internship as stipulated by the Career Center, you will write an essay in which you analyze your experience in terms of the hallmarks. If you complete an internship course with another program, you may petition to count that course as the equivalent of BLS 250. If accepted, you will be asked to complete the essay assignment to fulfill the BLS internship and take BLS 250 as a 0 credit course. Likewise, students who already have 19 credits in each of their junior-year semesters will take BLS 250 as 0 credit so as to avoid paying overload fees.

    * The Rome Capstone seminar is normally scheduled in the spring semester of the senior year. Exceptions are made for those in 3-2 programs (e.g., Engineering) and for those whose major program has spring break requirements in the senior year (e.g., Education and Psychology). These students take BLS 300 in the spring of their junior year. In addition, students take BLS 200 the fall semester prior to taking the Rome seminar. Students receive 0-3 credits for the Rome seminar so as to avoid paying for an overload if they are already taking 17-19 credits.

    In addition to these required courses, BLS Certificate students will take one of the following electives (3 credits).

    • History 102: Ancient Greece and Rome
    • Theology 204: Psalms and Wisdom Literature
    • Philosophy 271/Politics 261: Catholic Political Thought
    • Any ROTC course

    After academic course work and other components of the BLS program are satisfactorily completed, a Benedictine Leadership Studies certificate will be awarded, upon completion of an academic degree at Saint Vincent College.

  • Other aspects of the BLS Program

    BLS Portfolio – You will maintain an online portfolio throughout your four years as a BLS fellow. The portfolio will contain examples of your work, reflection on the skills you have gained and thoughts on how you are growing in understanding and implementing the hallmarks in your life. In addition to serving as an assessment tool for BLS faculty, this portfolio may be shared with family, friends and prospective employers.

    Retreat Workshops – Each semester you will join with the other fellows in your cohort in a retreat workshop based on the Benedictine Hallmarks. In addition to the required reading and participation in discussion, you will write a brief reflection on what you learned about the specified hallmark(s) and include this in your portfolio. The topics build upon one another, starting with vocational discernment, then to implementing the hallmarks in your professional life, and finally to classical rhetoric as the means by which you communicate the beauty of the hallmarks to the outside world.

    Experiential Learning – To pursue the BLS Certificate you must participate in experiential learning activities each semester of your four years, and complete a reflection on what hallmark(s) you put into practice, to be included in your portfolio. Examples of experiential learning activities are a team-building ropes course, career planning activities and service learning projects. In addition, you will be required to complete a 0-1 credit internship during your junior year.

    Self-Leadership Exercises – You will be asked throughout your four years to reflect on how you are integrating the 10 hallmarks into your self-understanding and daily life. It is central to the program that you reflect on how your future profession and vocation will be shaped by your commitment to being a Benedictine leader. To facilitate this process, you will participate each semester in reflective exercises. Working with a faculty, staff or Benedictine mentor, you will write a personal narrative based on these reflective exercises each academic year.

    Rome Capstone Seminar – In the spring semester of your senior year, (with the exceptions previously noted), you will enroll in BLS 300: Rome Capstone Seminar. The core component of the course is a spring break trip to Rome which will contain academic content relating to specific examples of leaders directly related to the academic and Benedictine heritage material covered during the week. A member of the Saint Vincent College faculty and a Benedictine monk will coordinate and co-teach the material presented in the course. The academic essay that you will write after the trip, reflecting on the models of leadership presented by the leaders of Roman history studied throughout the week, will be included in your portfolio.

Admissions Information

  • How to Apply

    Thank you for your interest in the Benedictine Leadership Studies (BLS) Program at Saint Vincent College.  The BLS application deadline is February 15.

    Depending on your previous experiences, this application should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Please click the 'Apply' button to begin the online application.

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