Fall 2011 Semester End
Dec. 20, 2011
Dear Marquette Faculty and Staff,
At the beginning of this academic year, I committed to using this period to do as much listening and learning as possible. As this first semester comes to a close, I can't imagine a better use of my time these past few months than learning from you. In dozens of meals and discussion sessions shared with faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters, Marquette has come alive in your descriptions of its strengths, weakness, wants, needs, and great potential. I am more certain than ever of the educational quality and distinctiveness that first attracted me to Marquette.
I look forward to following up on a number of the themes discussed in our conversations this year, including a desire for greater transparency in the administration and governance of the university; a more articulated vision and plan for the role of research and scholarship at Marquette; measurable progress in increasing the diversity of our campus; and greater engagement with the Milwaukee community and the world around us. These build on the insistence, heard from stakeholders throughout the Marquette community, that we commit ourselves to both educational access and a new academic excellence. I plan to share more details of what I've learned in this year's Presidential Address, currently scheduled for January 24, 2012.
This learning and listening will take on a more structured form in the New Year, as we prepare more deliberately for the strategic planning that will follow. A goal of our inquiry over the past semester has been to consider how Marquette as a leading Jesuit university should respond to the Superior General's call to renew and even reestablish our institutions for true relevance in an era of vast global change. How do we prepare students for the demands of this world and transcend today's transitory communications to engage them at their cores? Next semester, this inquiry will become more focused. At a series of discussion forums, first with the faculty of each college and then with staff across the campus, we will talk together about how we can best pursue our mission of advancing knowledge, ensuring access and transforming lives, so that Marquette can be found at the vanguard of Jesuit higher education.
In addition to being a time to reflect on the year that has passed and to anticipate the year ahead, the Christmas season is a time to experience gratitude for God's gifts in our lives. In that spirit, I offer my thanks for your personal contributions in making Marquette the blessed community that it is. Together, let us ask for God's grace in each of our homes and lives during a most sacred time.
Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.