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Associate Carol Fowler Receives Award for Book on Human Relations Practices
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August 19, 2020, Chicago – Associate Carol Fowler received third place recognition from the Catholic Press Association (CPA) in the category of Church Professional books for her 2019 book, Human Resources: Best Practices in Church Management.

“Good management is not just desirable – it is essential to upholding the dignity and rights of those who serve the Church as employees or volunteers,” CPA judges wrote in awarding third place to Carol’s book. “The issues which arise in various circumstances are explored in clear language. A bibliography, glossary, and index add to the utility of this manual.”

The award was announced by the CPA during its annual conference – held virtually this year in late June. The book was submitted by Paulist Press and was part of a series of books sponsored by Villanova University. The foreword was written by Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA and former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. 

Carol said she was surprised and pleased by the award, but she hopes that the award will make people more aware of her book. “Anything I can do that would get pastors and business managers of parishes especially to pay attention to how they’re working with and treating their staff is what I want to be able to do.”

During the pandemic, human resources issues are critical, especially for Catholic parishes and other nonprofit organizations, Carol said. “Because of the pandemic and the finances of parishes, so many managers think that their only solution is to let go of the staff,” she said. “That’s not a good solution. It’s a time of very high unemployment, so to let people go if you don’t have to is tragic.” 

Since COVID-19 began, Carol said, she has conducted two webinars on how to help parish personnel deal with the financial crunch without laying off their employees. She suggested “repurposing” the staff for the time being, for example, while churches remain closed. She added that parishes might benefit from another round of federal grants to help businesses with their payroll.

Now retired, Carol drew on 26 years of experience in human resources work with the Archdiocese of Chicago in writing the book. While serving as Director of Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese, she was invited by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s office to apply for the job of Director of Personnel Services. Carol was given the position and, through professional studies, became a certified professional in human resources services.

“Professions and books don’t happen in a vacuum,” Carol said. “The Adrian Dominicans and so many colleagues at the Archdiocese of Chicago have made this book possible.” She gave credit to Dan Gast, a longtime colleague at the Archdiocese of Chicago, and to Peter Gilmour, Professor Emeritus of Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies. In addition, she noted that Sister Donna had strongly encouraged her to write the book.

“The Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates are so critical to who I am and to my identity and my formation,” Carol added. Her formation as an Adrian Dominican Sister in social justice and Catholic social teaching were also key to her book and to her life’s work as a human resources professional. “It all starts with who I am as an Adrian Dominican,” she said.

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