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Benedictine values, liberal arts education play important roles in health care, student success

April 23, 2014

Spring Campus photos 4-29-13 (18)_MR Favorite (ed) WEB LARGELisle, Illinois ~ With nearly 8 million Americans enrolled for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, staying with a health care organization and physician may still present a challenge. Some health organizations, hospitals and doctor's offices get bad reputations for mass producing health care that can limit doctor-patient interaction.

Patients, doctors and health insurance companies are at times at odds on how best to implement quality patient care. However, many agree that health care practitioners with a strong liberal arts education can help provide the best service to patients because they are attentive to needs beyond physical ailments – and better care means a healthier society and lower medical costs.

There is a growing trend among higher education institutions to ensure future scientists, health care practitioners, business leaders and information technology gurus understand that liberal arts are vital to excelling in their fields. Students who enjoy a strong liberal arts curriculum make better doctors and business professionals who have strong writing skills and cross-cultural understanding. They also are more open-minded, conscientious and sensitive to others' needs.

Known for its rigorous science programs, and high matriculation rates into medical and graduate schools, Benedictine University incorporates values-centered studies into core degree requirements. By doing so, the University creates well-rounded graduates who are not only well-versed and practiced in their field of study, but also bring a personal value and concern for others that can enhance performance.

Benedictine promises its students an affordable and attainable undergraduate and graduate education infused with the Benedictine values that creates better learners, better leaders and better world citizens. Student learning and success is the University's first priority and the success of graduates like Michael M. Alebich, Michael A. Liss and Andrea M. Kane prove that this balanced background helps build upon future successes.

Alebich, who played football at Benedictine, is an internal medicine physician and the chief medical resident at the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Liss, who was on Benedictine's football and track teams, is an assistant professor of Urologic Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Kane, who ran track and played volleyball at Benedictine, is a pediatrician with the Advocate Medical Group. Living a life in balance is a core Benedictine value.

 “We don't teach our students what to think, we teach them how to think,” said Benedictine University President William J. Carroll, Ph.D. “We also promise our students that we will not cut back on student services, academic programs and building. We will continue to move forward and grow. If we are going to prepare students to be competitive leaders in the workplace, if we are going to provide them with a values-based, Catholic and Benedictine education, we cannot afford to shortchange them.”

Medical schools are now teaching part of Carroll's premise, requiring their students to take seminars and courses aimed at training future doctors on how to be compassionate and culturally aware. These medical students also take writing and art courses to help them to think critically and improve their concentration.

Benedictine students are better prepared to enter the market because of the University's commitment to providing a values-based liberal arts education that emphasizes successful hands-on training.

Many science students do not go on to medical school but instead compete with career changers for jobs in health care-related fields. It will be even more important for students to excel in liberal arts studies which will provide lifelong competencies applicable across any career. The aging American population offers many opportunities to be successful in health care, and the liberal arts and values-centered approach at Benedictine gives students a proven advantage.

Benedictine's College of Business programs are aimed at educating future business leaders who can lead successful, socially responsible and sustainable companies globally. A hands-on approach to learning incorporates liberal arts programming into business know-how.

To meet employer expectations, students must become engaged in the classroom, participate in service learning (working with outside organizations on professional projects), earn internships and participate with employment outreach.


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2001-2011 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the third consecutive year in 2013. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2013.

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