you work to live, or live to work? Is your
work a vocation, or just a way to earn money
to let you live your real life?
University chaplain Revd Simon Robinson believes
our working lives are too often separated
from the rest of our lives. He wants to help
students unite the two, by showing them how
to bring meaning and purpose to both through
spirituality. The special modules hes
helped to develop at the chaplaincy have made
Leeds the first university in the UK to incorporate
spirituality into the undergraduate curriculum.
studies is the first school to introduce a
full elective module, looking at the relevance
of spirituality to employability and the importance
of spirituality and ethics in the profession.
It follows on from a life skills module run
by the chaplaincy, covering personal development,
spirituality and employability. Special study
modules looking at spirituality have been
run in medicine since 2000. Although all are
chaplaincy initiatives, the modules are based
very clearly on spirituality not religion,
two very different concepts, as Simon Robinson
is keen to point out.
their part Clement Katulushi and Simon
Spirituality can include religion, but
it is not limited to religion, he said.
Spirituality is about awareness of,
and the capacity to respond to, the other,
which can be anything from the divine to Manchester
United. Spirituality gives our lives meaning,
through faith, hope and purpose and through
our relationships with others.
Chaplaincy administrative officer Dr Clement
Katulushi believes spirituality can provide
students with understanding and useful skills,
valued highly by employers.
The ability to appreciate and be aware
of the other, which is a key part of spirituality,
helps in all dealings with people in work
situations, be those colleagues or clients,
he said. The modules encourage critical
reflection, better understanding of relationships,
motivation and purpose, impacting on teamwork,
workplace dynamics, negotiation and in setting
objectives or writing mission statements.
In September, the first elective module in
healthcare studies will look at how health
and healing relate to spirituality. Set up
in collaboration with healthcare lecturer
Revd Alan Brown, the module will cover how
nurses and healthcare professionals experience
spirituality, and how enabling spirituality
in the patient could improve their response
to the therapeutic process.
The module will be supported by a book to
be published later this year, co-authored
by Simon Robinson, Alan Brown and by nursing
lecturer Kevin Kendrick, who sadly died in
Theres a tendency within medicine
and healthcare to only think of spirituality
as being relevant to patients close to death,
said Simon Robinson. In fact, spirituality
can be important in helping professionals
deal with their work, and in all patients,
by providing meaning and purpose to life.
This can be especially important when working
September also sees the launch of a new engineering
module looking at ethics and the profession,
which Simon Robinson helped to develop. He
is also an author in this field; his book
The decision makers ethics for
engineers, co-authored with senior lecturer
in civil engineering Ross Dixon and James
Armstrong, is to be adapted as a text- book
for the module. From controversial dam projects
in developing countries to endangered species
threatened by a new motorway, the course looks
at the difficult decisions faced by civil
engineers and provides an ethical framework
to help to evaluate alternative courses of
action to reach decisions.
Weve been working closely with
the departments to introduce these modules,
and ensure their relevance within the degree
structure, said Simon Robinson. Theres
scope for further courses, in other areas
of engineering and in science, which wed
be happy to consider.
Just as the students whove taken the
modules will take a better understanding of
spirituality into the organisations they later
work for, so the University itself will gain
in a spiritual sense from the modules, Simon
Like any other organisation, the University
has its own spirituality, expressed in part
through its policies, codes of practice and
rituals, and through how it envisions the
future. Spirituality is about development,
its an ongoing journey or story, and
thats true of the University as a whole
as it is of each of us as individuals.