Greetings from Dr. Michael R. Lovell
So much of what Marquette is doing to move forward now and into the future demands an ever-expanding circle of partners. Partnerships do not happen overnight. They happen when individuals and organizations with similar objectives find ways to trust each other.
Building trust is not easy. Stephen M.R. Covey outlines the work involved in his book, The Speed of Trust. I’ve found the apparently simple concept expressed in the book’s title expertly describes how quickly — or slowly — almost any partnership initiative moves forward based on participants’ trust levels.
At a university the need for trust is important both internally and externally. This issue of Marquette Magazine shares many stories about how our faculty, staff, students and alumni interact with the Greater Milwaukee community. There’s also much to be said about how we interact with each other and how much we trust each other — starting right here on our campus.
More than a year ago we established the President’s Task Force on Equity and Inclusion. One of my continuing realizations pertaining to the work of the task force is just how different this corner of the world responds to me — a college-educated white male — than to other people. The conversations among faculty, staff and, especially, students who are part of the task force make clear the many differences.
I had the opportunity to see an even more precise view of the differences in the world early this semester when Provost Dan Myers and I sat down for an informal lunch with approximately 30 faculty of color. Each individual had a chance to share his or her race-related experiences on campus. They covered the spectrum. Some reported decades of favorable interactions, while others reported what they felt amounted to routine surveillance based on little more than skin color. Yes, many times the negative experiences described were subtle. Yet they exist and they are very much worth surfacing, understanding and taking action to address. Working through our Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, we will make steady progress.
The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion also is leading an analysis of the climate study that was undertaken on campus last year. We must create a culture at Marquette that celebrates and embraces our differences and encourages collegial dialogue about difficult topics. This approach will help guide us toward improving our weaknesses. The Climate Study Working Group is very close to releasing three action steps, recommendations for what we should address at Marquette during coming months. To get the latest information about the action steps, visit marquette.edu/climate-study.
Marquette has many initiatives under way to transform our university and community and prepare our students for the decades ahead in their personal lives and professional careers. These initiatives will only be truly successful if they prepare every student. I have been a co-chair of the executive committee of Milwaukee Succeeds, which has worked to bring about lasting change to the way education works for K–12 children in Greater Milwaukee since it was founded in 2011. The vision of Milwaukee Succeeds is “success for every child, in every school, cradle to career.” Our objectives at Marquette can be no less.
Dr. Michael R. Lovell