Community engagement is an essential part of Marquette’s life as a Catholic, Jesuit institution located in the urban heart of Milwaukee. It is central to the educational mission Marquette has pursued across its 135-year history — “to develop men and women who will dedicate their lives to the service of others, actively entering into the struggle for a more just society.”
Milwaukee children build reading skills year-round at the Hartman Literacy Center.
Alongside excellence, faith and leadership, service is one of four foundational pillars recognized in the university’s mission. This ethos of service runs deeply through university culture, and the commitment to building a better world links alumni across generations. Marquette’s commitment to community engagement is further reflected in its strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries, which identifies “Social Responsibility through Community Engagement” as one of six core themes. As living expressions of principle and intent, by which the university measures itself, Marquette’s mission and strategic plan make clear that the university’s purpose is inextricably tied to engagement with the Milwaukee community and the wider world.
In January 2016, Marquette President Michael R. Lovell established the Office of Community Engagement. Housed strategically in the Office of the Provost, the office serves as a central clearinghouse for community engagement activities and promotion of the scholarship of engagement. Marquette has a growing number of bidirectional research, teaching and service partnerships locally, nationally and globally. Through these active relationships, Marquette and its community partners find opportunities to respond to the pressing needs and issues facing Milwaukee and the broader world.
Participants in the Bee the Change program on the Rooftop of Redeemer Lutheran Church.
One example of such a partnership is the Near West Side Partners, a local initiative led by five anchor institutions including Marquette to revitalize and sustain the Near West Side as a thriving business and residential corridor. The partnership and its $1.5 million, three-year PARC Initiative (short for Promoting Assets, Reducing Crime) have galvanized university, government, industry, resident and nonprofit partners to generate increased economic opportunity through commercial and residential investment. Through NWSP, students and faculty have contributed to a range of meaningful research, teaching and service opportunities. While some of these research, teaching and service relationships have existed for decades, others have formed recently.
Marquette University recognizes that diverse and deep community partnerships are critical to the work of community engagement, but, more importantly, they are crucial to our shared struggle for a more just society.