Bernard Lonergan’s Functional Specialties and Academic Libraries

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CONFERENCE: The Functional Specialties: A Workshop on Applying Lonergan: The Praxis Program of the Advanced Seminar on Mission's Third Annual Summer Workshop

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Praxis Program of the Advanced Seminar on Mission, Seton Hall University
Bernard Lonergan; Generalized Empirical Method; Applied Lonergan; Praxis; Comparative Methodologies and Theories; Earth Sciences; English Language and Literature; Library and Information Science; Medicine and Health Sciences; Nursing; Philosophy; Sociology
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I apply the framework of Bernard Lonergan’s functional specialties to academic libraries. This process helped to identify and situate the challenges that libraries face today. These largely stem from historical changes that align with the three challenges to higher education that Lonergan identified in Topics in Education nearly 60 years ago: “the masses”, “the new learning”, and “increasing specialization”. Despite lofty Mission Statements and Strategic Plans (policy making and planning), the foundations of today’s academic libraries are unclear, largely because dialectics surrounding those historical changes have not been resolved. This has led to considerable concern about the future of academic libraries. I use my analysis and experiences from a three year exploration in “Applying the [Generalized Empirical] Method” in a first year Biology course to suggest ways to help librarians foster student research skills and expand their intellectual horizons.