National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)

views updated


The largest professional education association in the world, comprising institutional members and educators serving at all levels of Catholic education. Founded in 1904 as the Catholic Educational Association of the U.S. (CEA), it united three separate organizations: the Education Conference of Catholic Seminary Faculties (1897);

the Association of Catholic Colleges (1898); and the Parish School Conference (1902). In 1927, the CEA changed its name to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).

Much of the inspiration and organization are attributed to Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. conaty, rector of The catholic university of america, and Rev. Francis W. howard of Columbus, Ohio. Conaty became bishop of Los Angeles in 1903, and his successor at The Catholic University, Most Rev. Denis J. o'connell, became the NCEA's first president general and served from 1904 to 1908.

The following goals characterize the work of NCEA: to promote and encourage the principles and ideals of Christian education and formation; to encourage and provide means whereby Catholic educators and their institutions can work cooperatively and effectively for professional growth; to promote and interpret the Catholic educational endeavor in its contribution to the total national educational enterprise and to the general welfare of the nation; and to seek and foster cooperation nationally and internationally between Catholic educational institutions and agencies which promote the general education of society.

In the beginning, the CEA had only three departments: for seminaries, colleges, and parish schools. These three departments expanded over the decades into the present seven constitutive departments: Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU); Chief Administrators of Catholic Education (CACE); Elementary Schools; Secondary Schools; National Association of Boards of Catholic Education (NABE); Religious Education; and Seminary.

The NCEA strives to be a meaningful service organization for all Catholic education. It encourages creative new designs for educational programs and it features strong efforts to assist decision-makers who are charged with keeping Catholic education a vital force. In addition to its publications, it sponsors an annual convention to bring together all Catholic educators.

Since 1929, the headquarters of the association has been located in Washington, DC.

[m. irwin/

j. f. meyers/

c. a. koob/eds.]

About this article

National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)

Updated About content Print Article


National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)