Francis Tri Nguyen, FSC, Ph.D.


As they respond to the needs of students in the 21st century, the sixteen Lasallian universities in Colombia, France, Mexico, Philippines, Spain, and the United States of America incarnate Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s charism. They view the Lasallian charism as a living gift, a spiritual energy that is constantly adapting to times and places, to socio-cultural contexts and to students’ needs everywhere. They construct their university identity with the Lasallian charism at its core. In as much as it springs from and builds on the Lasallian charism, this identity is also influenced by other factors. “Flattening” of the 21st century world, each country’s governmental regulations, changing demands of higher education, Christian tradition, funding of the university operations, and changing professional leadership complicate the defining of Lasallian university identity. Complexity and dynamism characterize the ways Lasallian universities worldwide express their identity. This qualitative study employed a triangulation method that included document analysis, site observations, and face-to-face interviews using the Appreciative Inquiry method to understand and interpret how individuals and communities perceived the ways their university met the challenges of the new century. Specifically, this research discerned patterns of common and essential themes across the sixteen Lasallian universities that constitute the structural components of Lasallian university identity in the 21st century. They are: community of practices strengthened by organizational coherence; educational ministry striving for educational excellence, engaging in social research, and working for social transformation; social networking for the betterment of society; and leadership leading by example, fostering creativity, and managing multiple identities effectively. It is hoped that this research will advance knowledge and understanding of the complexity and dynamism of Lasallian university identity these universities endeavor to respond boldly and creatively to the educational needs of young and older students in the 21st century.


Catholic higher education; De La Salle Christian Brothers; Higher education research; Lasallian;


Lasallian Universities’ Identities in the Twenty-First Century: An Analytical Research Paper

About the Author

Francis Tri Nguyen, FSC, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice

ISSN: 2151-2515
© Christian Brothers Conference 2023.