The University will introduce Boston College Companions—a yearlong immersive program for adults looking to continue their education, deepen their spirituality, and reflect on their future—in January 2024, according to a BC News release.
“BC has been working on creating a program for several years and we’re excited to enter the lifelong learning space in a way that aligns with our mission and commitment to formative education,” Margaret Laurence, director of initiatives for formative education at BC, said in an email to The Heights.
The program will seek to provide a well-rounded educational experience on campus for 15 to 20 participants, also referred to as fellows.
“Fellows will take courses with students across the eight schools and colleges to create their own learning opportunities,” Laurence said. “There will also be a cohort-specific curriculum. The Fellows will go on a Pilgrimage to learn about BC’s Jesuit heritage.”
According to the release, BC will be joining other top universities by launching this new adult learning program.
“Boston College Companions builds on established adult learning programs at other leading colleges and universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and Notre Dame, by offering distinctive components of Jesuit spirituality and pedagogy that will help participants grow in discernment and sense of purpose,” the release reads.
The three pillars of the program will be purpose, discernment, and spirituality, according to the BC Companions website.
“The pillars of the program are the easiest way to sum up the benefits: renew purpose, explore discernment, [and] deepen spirituality,” Laurence said. “To expand on the pillars … Fellows will have time to reflect on their experiences and discern a sense of calling for the next chapter of their lives.”
In addition to academic classes, guest lectures, and weekly discussions, fellows will also be able to participate in retreats, service learning, guided conversations, and spiritual direction, including a trip to Spain and Italy to learn more about Jesuit tradition, according to the release.
“The Fellows will be together for the cohort-specific curriculum, which includes the immersive experiences in Boston, as well as the retreats and pilgrimage,” Laurence said. “Dinners and social gatherings are part of these programs – and no doubt Fellows will plan additional things as a group. Fellows will be part of the larger community and are welcome to participate in lectures, art exhibits, and all that BC offers.”
Laurence said BC’s goal when designing the program was to make sure it fit with the Jesuit tradition at BC.
“The team that created this program has always focused on ensuring the program fits in with BC’s mission and our Jesuit heritage,” Laurence said. “BC helps students (faculty and staff too) to integrate mind, heart, body, and soul so as to live life fully.”
Incorporating intergenerational learning into BC’s campus will provide undergraduate and graduate students with the chance to connect with fellows and learn about their professional experiences, according to Laurence.
“Intergenerational learning will enrich our campus – both in and out of the classroom,” Laurence said. “We expect the Fellows will be able to draw on their previous experiences and extensive networks to engage with members of the campus community, and in turn they will benefit from time spent with faculty, staff, students, and alumni.”