Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The Enhancing Catholic School Identity (ECSI) research emerges from theological reflection on the contemporary context, asking: How can Catholic schools continue to be Catholic when society has changed to such an extent that many people struggle to understand what being Catholic means? This theological question drives empirical research, which involves the administration of instruments designed to provide evidence with regard to the actual as well as the desired Catholic identity of any particular school. Analysis of that evidence then forms the basis for future planning to strengthen Catholic identity in a way that is both theologically legitimate and contextually plausible.

Schools engaging with the ECSI research need to develop a sound basis of theological literacy in order to appreciate what is at stake in it and to effect change in relation to Catholic identity. In this unit, participants are introduced to ECSI and its core requirement of dialogical reflection on faith, a reflection that is important for them both as individuals and as professionals in Catholic contexts. Participants are provided with opportunities to undertake theological reflection in a safe forum. They also rehearse perspective-taking on topical issues in light of Catholic as well as other traditions and worldviews. The overall purpose of this unit is to enable participants to approach freely the question of "where do I stand?" in relation to faith and to appreciate the kind of personal transformation to which they are invited by participation in ECSI.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the ECSI Project and its aims, and explain the purpose of each scale (GA4); 

LO2 - Perform critical reflection on faith in confrontation with the proposed normative position of ECSI (GA1);

LO3 - Apply and evaluate skills in dialogue (GA5). 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 


Topics will include:

  • What is the Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project and why do we need it? 
  • Reading the Enhancing Catholic School Identity Scales 
  • Why do teacher dispositions matter in Catholic schools? 
  • Talking about faith  
  • Practising dialogue: rehearsing Catholic and other perspective-taking on topical issues 
  • The faithful imagination: rehearsing different perspectives on faith 
  • The moral imagination: rehearsing different perspectives on morality 
  • Planning to Enhance Catholic Identity 
  • The practical-theological instruments (PTIs) 
  • Other topics as determined by negotiation with stakeholders 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will be offered in any one of the following formats or as requested by stakeholders/sponsoring authorities: 

  1. In a combination of online and intensive face-to-face engagement (multi-mode). The rationale behind this approach is to enable participants to prepare for participation in the intensive through reading and critical reflection; to facilitate their active engagement in the intensive; and to provide support for participants in the preparation of assessment tasks OR 
  2. By virtual engagement (online mode), using purpose-built online materials such as ACU's Leuven Web Module or the Leuven MOOC; completing reading and analysis to promote critical reflection; participating in virtual small group discussion; and having opportunities to speak with facilitators one-on-one OR 
  3. As the culmination of 10 x 3-hour professional learning activities conducted face-to-face, supplemented by further online activities and assessment tasks. The rationale behind this approach is to enable participants who have undertaken learning modules without being enrolled to articulate that participation into a unit for credit at Graduate Certificate level. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment in this unit will be undertaken on a PASS/FAIL basis only. The assessment is designed to promote personal critical reflection and practical skills. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Critical responses to reflection and dialogue activities (2 x 500 words) 


LO2, LO3 

GA1, GA5 

Written Task, e.g. guided spiritual autobiography (1,500 words) 


LO2, LO3 


Powerpoint Task, e.g. presentation to parent group (equivalent to 2,500 words) 


LO1, LO2, LO3 


Representative texts and references

Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study). Educating to Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love. Vatican City: Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 2013. 

Cornille, Catherine. The Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue. New York: Herder and Herder, 2008. 

Hughes, Gerald W. The God of Surprises. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2008. 

Katholieke dialoogschool: The PCB ScaleThe Melbourne ScaleThe Victoria Scale.   

Killen, Patricia O’Connell. The Art of Theological Reflection. New York: Crossroad, 1995. 

Moyaert, Marianne. “Interreligious Literacy and Scriptural Reasoning: Some Hermeneutical, Anthropological, Pedagogical and Experiential Reflections.” In M. Pugliese and A. Hwang (Eds.), Teaching Interreligious Encounters (pp. 79-94). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. 

Pollefeyt, Didier and Jan Bouwens. “Assessing and Enhancing Catholic School Identity: Towards a Recontextualising Catholic Dialogue School.” The Catholic School and the Intercultural and Interreligious Challenges. Brussels: European Committee for Catholic Education, 2020.  

Pollefeyt, Didier and Michael Richards. “Catholic Dialogue Schools, Enhancing Catholic School Identity in Contemporary Contexts of Religious Pluralisation and Social and Individual Secularisation.” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses (2020):77-113.  

Sharkey, Paul. Educators Guide to Catholic Identity. Melbourne: Vaughan, 2015. 

Zani, Angelo Vincenzo. "Interview" by Emmanuel Van Lierde. Tertio (22 May 2019). 

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