Reason. Faith. Service.
Inside CUA - The Catholic University of America Online Newspaper
Notables CUA in the Media Archives Contact Us Home
Click here for printable version
July, 2019

CUA Starts 2008–2009 with New Hires, New Programs

By Catherine Lee

With the 2008–2009 academic year under way at Catholic University, the quiet pace of summer has given way to the brisk activity of the fall semester. Following is a look at new hires, new programs and updates to several initiatives that took place over the summer.

Center for Academic Success Welcomes New Director

Laura BonDurant

The Center for Academic Success, which was established last May, starts the school year with a new director, Laura BonDurant, who was appointed in June. Prior to joining the CUA community, BonDurant served as the assistant dean of student academic affairs in the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown University.

Before that, she served as interim director of the Office of Academic Advising and lead academic adviser at DePaul University in Chicago. BonDurant earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in college student personnel, both from Western Illinois University.

This fall, the center will provide approximately 180 exploratory freshmen with services designed to help them select a major and career path. As part of those services, 16 faculty mentors and 16 staff mentors will work with the students. The faculty mentors, who teach in different academic disciplines, and the staff mentors, who represent a variety of student life and campus ministry departments, received special training over the summer in academic advising.

Each student who is exploring possible majors has been assigned a faculty mentor, who will serve as an academic adviser. In addition, the faculty and staff mentors will be offering specialized programming for exploratory students.

The center also will offer workshops for all undergraduates in topics that will include time management, note taking, test taking and effective listening. To see the full list of topics, click here.  

Also helping to staff the center are program coordinator Elise R. Marchessault, who will manage the center's new tutoring program, and learning specialist Emily Rocque, who will also serve as a mentor. Marchessault, who earned a master's degree at Boston College and a 2004 bachelor's degree in psychology at CUA, served as a resident director at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell prior to returning to CUA. Rocque has been working part time in CUA's Counseling Center for the past 21 years. She has a master's degree in special education from Columbia University.

The center is located in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, Room 201.

New Director for CUAbroad

Ella Sweigert

CUAbroad, the Education Abroad Office of CUA’s Center for Global Education, also begins the 2008–2009 academic year with a new director, Ella Sweigert. Appointed in July, Sweigert has worked as a career planning adviser at the University of Iowa, a study abroad coordinator at the University of Northern Iowa and an assistant director of education abroad at Arcadia University.

Born and raised in Hungary, she completed her bachelor’s degree in teaching with a double major in European and world history and Russian language and literature at the Janus Pannonius University in Pécs, Hungary. She earned a Master of Arts degree in college/university student services at the University of Northern Iowa. She is fluent in Hungarian and speaks Russian and some French. Her travel experience includes countries in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Among the many offerings of CUAbroad is a spring break eco-tour to Costa Rica from Feb. 28 to March 7, 2009, as well as a fall 2009 semester program in South Africa in partnership with Eastern Mennonite University. The eco-tour, which is open to all members of the CUA community, is jointly sponsored by CUAbroad and CUA’s Office of Alumni Relations. The deadline to apply for the trip is Dec. 19, 2008. The semester in South Africa will include travel to Capetown, Johannesburg and the country of Lesotho. The application deadline is Sept. 12, 2008.

The Center for Global Education, located in McMahon Hall, Suite 111, comprises CUAbroad as well as the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. Established in January 2008, the center is led by Assistant Vice President for Global Education Tanith Fowler Corsi. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services, which is under the direction of Helene Robertson, moved to 111 McMahon in June.

Mullen Library Unveils Children’s Collection

From left, reference librarian Anne Marie Hules and CUA students Adam Day and Meghan Gates in the new Juvenile Literature Reading Room.

Catholic University’s new Juvenile Literature Reading Room is open on the second floor, north wing, of the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library. The newly renovated space, which spans several rooms, features a collection of about 4,800 volumes for children from kindergarten through 12th grade, a small-group study room and a lounge with comfy yellow chairs. The library will host a dedication for the reading room at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18.

The collection includes picture books, easy readers, award winners, fantasy novels and graphic novels, among other varieties. The books date from the late 19th century through the new millennium.

The juvenile literature collection serves CUA’s School of Library and Information Science, which has a school library media program, and CUA's Department of Education, which offers degrees in early childhood, elementary and secondary education. But, says Stephen Connaghan, interim director of library administration, the area is open to all library visitors.

The new space also includes an office where Anne Marie Hules, reference librarian for library and information science, is available to answer questions about the children’s collection.

University Unveils Papal Exhibit

The papal exhibit, “Together in Faith: The Pope Visits Catholic University," is being showcased at various spots on campus.

An exhibit commemorating Pope Benedict XVI’s April 17, 2008, visit to Catholic University opened July 29 at CUA’s Columbus School of Law. Titled “Together in Faith: The Pope Visits Catholic University,” the exhibit includes the zucchetto that Pope Benedict XVI gave to CUA's president, Father O'Connell; a museum-grade reproduction of a third-century papyrus copy of the Letters of St. Peter; the chair used by the pope during his visit to CUA and other objects.

Presented by the University Archives, the exhibit will be available for viewing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the following locations:

Aug. 26 to Sept. 7, John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library, first floor
Sept. 9 to Sept. 17, McMahon Hall, lobby
Sept. 20 to Oct. 19, Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, atrium

Since its opening, the exhibit has garnered its fair share of attention: an announcement in The Washington Post, an article in The Washington Times and coverage by local TV outlets as well as WAMU Radio’s "Metro Connection."

Middle States Self-Study Continues


This fall, 10 committees at Catholic University will continue working on CUA’s self-study for its 10-year accreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Over the course of the two-year Middle States Self-Study, which began in October 2007, committee members are analyzing questions about Catholic University’s growth and its mission, as well as providing evidence that CUA is in compliance with Middle States standards.

Titled “Enhancing the Educational Experience While Strengthening Resources,” the self-study reflects the priorities of the university’s Strategic Plan, approved by the CUA Board of Trustees in December 2006. The 10 CUA committees that are working on the self-study will produce an approximately 100-page report on their findings. The committees' members include faculty, administrators and students.

Middle States Vice President Robert Schneider giving a presentation last May at the Pryzbyla Center.

A team of about 10 Middle States evaluators will study the report during a visit to CUA in March 2010. The evaluators — faculty and administrators from peer institutions — will spend three to four days at CUA, going over the report and talking informally to students, faculty and staff to get their assessment of the university.

Shavaun Wall, associate vice president for academic planning and co-chair of the overall steering committee, noted that the self-study, which looks at initiatives such as CUA's Center for Academic Success and redevelopment plans for South Campus, will support implementation of the university’s Strategic Plan.

During a visit to Catholic University last May 28, Middle States Vice President Robert A. Schneider gave a presentation on the self-study process to students, faculty and staff at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

Following his presentation, Schneider praised the committee members’ efforts in a letter to Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., university president.

“'[CUA's] draft self-study design for a comprehensive self-study, with special emphasis on enhancing the educational experience while strengthening resources, was very good,” Schneider wrote. “I was especially impressed with the level of detail in the section on the self-study task forces.”

For more information about Catholic University’s self-study, visit

Banner Year for Summer Missions Trips

Brother Stan Goetschalckx, F.C., director of AHADI International Institute, and Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M. Conv., director of campus ministry, stand at left and right with CUA students in Tanzania.

Inspired by CUA’s bestowal of the 2007 Opus Prize, a record number of 46 Catholic University students participated in two-week summer mission trips to Belize, Honduras, Jamaica and Tanzania in May. They tutored children, helped with construction projects and lived and prayed in community with those they served.

Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M. Conv., university chaplain and director of campus ministry, said that the increased level of student interest in the trips was a result of their  experience last fall with the Opus Prize for humanitarian service.

In years past the Office of Campus Ministry has sponsored two mission trips after the spring semester. But following the submission of a record number of applications last fall — more than 70 for 24 positions — Campus Ministry decided to add two trips.

Christine Mica, dean of admissions, was among this year’s participants on the trip to Belize, where she joined 14 CUA students and Erin Craine, associate campus minister for women’s issues and social justice. In a detailed account of her trip, Mica described the experience, which included daily prayer, work in the Mayan village of Sunday Wood and home stays for the students in the village of Punta Gorda. To read Mica’s account of her experience, click here.


Quiznos Express to Open at Pryzbyla Center

The Pryzbyla Center Food Court expects to unveil a new Quiznos Express, which will serve subs and sandwiches, sometime in September. The addition of Quiznos Express will bring to three the number of franchise establishments at the Pryzbyla Center, which currently houses Chick-fil-A in the Food Court and Starbucks on the third floor.


Back to Top

Last Revised 22-Aug-08 01:09 PM.