Partnership with Neumann University Grows Future Teachers
"Our partnership allows people to come to the Benedictine campus and see what it means to respect all of humanity ? something Benedictine screams to the world," explains Leonard J. DiPaul, Ed.D., Assistant Dean of Education and Human Services at Neumann University.
Benedictine's affiliation with Neumann University began just four years ago and has already grown into a significant partnership for the two schools. In January, Benedictine further formalized its relationship with Neumann when the Benedictine Board of Directors elected Dr. DiPaul to a three-year term.
"Having special education as a major at our college, we wanted students to be aware of the whole spectrum of special needs education. Benedictine offers our students the opportunity to see a year-round residential program that has a broad array of services for those with intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, and autism," notes Dr. DiPaul. "This immersion experience also enables our students to engage in service in their disciplines, an important core value of the university, and to reflect on these experiences, relative to aspects of professional, personal and spiritual growth."
Neumann, a private, Catholic, co-educational university, based on the Franciscan tradition and located in Aston, Pa., had traditionally placed its education majors at local parochial, public, or charter schools for their individual field study experiences.
The collaboration, which began in 2014 when 12 Neumann students visited Benedictine for three days of generalized experiences over the college's spring break, has grown into an annual experience for junior and senior education majors.
Dr. DiPaul and his colleague, Daniel McKee, Ed.D., a professor at Neumann, worked with Benedictine's Executive Director Scott Evans, to kick the program into gear.
Now, approximately 12 junior and senior students from Neumann visit Benedictine each year at the end of their winter break in January, staying on campus in Benedictine's Berg Center, dining in the residential group homes, touring the school's facilities, and spending time in the residences and classrooms working with students. Word about the Benedictine field experience has spread among the students so that now it is a highly coveted opportunity sought out by Neumann's upperclassmen.