More than 250 participants from across campus and across Milwaukee participated in Marquette’s inaugural Community Engagement Symposium yesterday in the Alumni Memorial Union. Four leading practitioners of community engagement — two faculty members and two community partners — were honored at the event for their outstanding contributions to the well-being of the community.
The symposium promoted engaged research and scholarship to confront issues of social justice, and to illuminate best practices in cultivating deep partnerships, community-based research and community-based learning pedagogies. Dr. Ira Harkavy, associate vice president and founding director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, delivered the keynote address.
The Office of Community Engagement, along with the Center for Teaching and Learning—Service Learning Program, Office of Public Affairs and Office of Research Sponsored Programs, co-sponsored the following awards presented during the luncheon portion of the event:
- The Community Engaged Teaching Award was awarded to Dr. Ruth Ann Belknap, professor of nursing, who regularly incorporates service learning in her Culture and Health courses, with 30-40 students each semester working in a variety of contexts and capacities, meeting articulated agency needs and volunteer roles while exploring the relationships among social determinants of health, health care systems and health disparities. The award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in meaningful, high-impact, transformational teaching; and, provides the spark for undergraduate/graduate students to challenge injustice in our communities, and embrace diversity through the use of service learning, or other community-based learning experiences.
- The Community Engaged Partnership Award went to Dr. Bob Fox, professor of counselor education and counseling psychology and consulting psychologist for the Behavior Clinic, and to Penfield Children’s Center, the co-founder and ongoing partner with Fox in the clinic, the only program of its kind in Milwaukee offering family-centered, in-home treatment sessions to address issues very early in a child’s development to help prevent serious mental health issues from developing later. The award recognizes a faculty/community organization partnership that demonstrates excellence in respectful, bidirectional collaboration; makes a positive difference in the community; and enhances knowledge.
- The Community Partner Award was received by the Milwaukee Center for Independence. The center is a leading provider of life changing programs and services for children and adults with disabilities, special needs and barriers to success. The award recognizes a community partner that demonstrates excellence in contributing to the academic growth of our students, and/or supporting faculty, and institutional goals through a project or partnership that promotes public scholarship.
“I hope the awards and all of the day’s conversations serve as a recognition of the abundance of talent in our community, the richness of our partnerships, the joyful opportunity of new relationships, and the exponentially positive impact of true, meaningful, engagement,” said Dr. Dan Bergen, executive director of the Office of Community Engagement at Marquette, the symposium’s chief organizer with academic and administrative partners from across campus.
“We continue to learn a lot from having these dialogues and working together,” said Marquette president Michael R. Lovell in welcoming participants at the beginning of the day. “It’s a great way for us to have more valuable ways that we can use our time and talents here at this university in partnerships to improve Milwaukee and ensure that Marquette University is a place where the problems of Milwaukee get solved.”
*Photos by Dan Johnson, chief photographer. See the members of the advisory board that helped make this event a success.