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Q & A with Marquette's OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR -
Why was the Office of Community Engagement created and what is its role on campus?
Community engagement is an essential part of Marquette’s life as a Catholic, Jesuit institution located in the 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.”
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 bi-/multi-directional research, teaching and service partnerships locally, nationally and globally. Through these active relationships, Marquette and its community partners find opportunities to uplift the incredible assets of these various communities, and respond to their most pressing needs.
One of the primary functions of the office is to advance knowledge in pursuit of social justice through the development, support, and promotion of publicly engaged scholars in community-based partnerships in research, teaching, and service. In developing partnerships, the office will facilitate initial meetings, identify grant opportunities, and provide guidelines for strong partnerships in research, teaching, and service. As relationships develop, the office provides support for faculty and community partners in navigating both the challenges and opportunities that arise as a direct result of a deepening community-based partnership. Finally, as the partnership generates scholarly research, and community impact, the office promotes the outcomes to recognize the importance and value of these critical relationships.
How can interested faculty partner with the Office of Community Engagement?
Many Marquette University faculty have been engaged in deep community-based, research- and teaching-oriented partnerships for years. They have been publishing in competitive journals, and advancing knowledge within their respective fields for decades. In fact, in 2015, Marquette University faculty and staff received $9.9 million through various corporate, foundation, state, and federal grants to conduct community-engaged research and provide service to address a variety of community-based issues in Milwaukee and beyond, including: Violence (Sexual, Youth, Gun, Homicide); Neighborhood Development; Crime Reduction; Literacy; Water; College Access and Preparation; Local Schools (charter, public, and private); Poverty; Population-based Physical Health and Wellness (Native American, Latina/o, African American); Behavioral/Emotional Health (Veteran, Toddler, Autism); Aging Populations (Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Residential Care, Stroke Rehabilitation); and, Local Schools (Computer Science, Math and Science, STEM).
There are a variety of ways in which interested faculty can partner with the Office of Community Engagement:
- Opt-in to the Community Engagement Database when inputting data in to the Faculty Activities Database
- Contact Office of Community Engagement to invite a communications coordinator to document and share the community engaged research/teaching/service you are doing with the community
- Apply for the Community Engagement Research Partnership Development Grant (due March 2018)
- Attend a national conference to present your community engaged research (Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, National Campus Compact, Imagining America, Engagement Scholarship Consortium, International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement) – Contact Dan Bergen if you are interested in an opportunity to attend.
- Cultivate a new community partnership to create an experiential learning opportunity
- Provide a public lecture, or serve on a panel, that aligns with the Marquette Forum
- Connect with the Service Learning Program to explore development of a new course in partnership with a community organization
- Attend/Present at the 2017 Marquette University Community Engagement Symposium
- Visit the Office of Community Engagement to learn more about existing partnerships and their impacts, including the Near West Side Partners, and other Highlights.
What are some near-term and longer-term goals you hope to achieve through the Office of Community Engagement?
In the near-term, the Office of Community Engagement is operating under three specific goals:
- Promote faculty currently involved in community engagement in research, teaching, and service.
- Increase support and strengthen infrastructure for faculty interested in learning more about community engagement in their academic endeavors.
- Through research, teaching, and service, deepen Marquette University’s relationships with the local, state, regional, national, and global communities of which it is a part.
In the longer-term, the Office of Community Engagement hopes to achieve the following goals:
- Promote and increase incentives for faculty at all levels to participate in community engagement in research, teaching, and service.
- Become one of the top universities in the country for community engagement in research, teaching, and service.
- Establish best practices in community-university engagement impact assessment.