February 2017 Connections: Fostering Mission & Identity on Jesuit Campuses
In Catholic higher education, the role of “mission officer” is relatively new and broad in scope. For decades, the key leadership positions within Catholic colleges and universities were overwhelmingly held by priests or women religious, and it was generally assumed that through such leadership, an institution was successfully maintaining its Catholic identity.
Ever since President Trump was sworn into office just a few weeks ago, immigration reform has accelerated substantially. Discussion of “the wall” has been met on Capitol Hill with support from Republican leadership, but also with skepticism on how to pay for it: a wall that could cost more than $15 billion is a project that has no easy resolution.
Dr. Stephanie Russell has had a remarkable career in mission-focused work. Her work in ministry began in the 1980s at Red Cloud Indian School (Pine Ridge, South Dakota), located in one of the poorest counties in the United States. Dr. Russell went on to spend eleven years working as Provincial Assistant for Lay Formation and Social Ministry with the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, followed by fifteen years as Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Marquette University before coming to AJCU in 2016. She describes the process that prepared her for this new role as an “accidental formation” in Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy.
Rev. William R. Campbell, S.J. ’87 was named vice president for mission at the College of the Holy Cross in the summer of 2014. In this interview, Fr. Campbell talks about the priorities of the mission office, becoming a priest, and shares his prediction for the winner of the Holy Cross/Boston University Turnpike Trophy basketball rivalry.
John Carroll’s mission programming begins with welcome. As our Jesuit, Catholic mission distinguishes us and defines our culture, it is foundationally important that we allocate time and resources to orient new students, staff and faculty, welcoming people of all faiths and of no particular faith.
University of Detroit Mercy Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry—and alumnus—Matthew Mio has a theory: “Everyone who works here knows the mission of the school, but everyone interprets it differently—there is not just one way to carry out our mission.”
A relatively new mission-oriented strategic initiative has blossomed at Xavier University. A few years ago, the University President, Rev. Michael J. Graham, S.J., invited a number of heads of centers and academic programs with strong touch-points to the Jesuit identity to come together to create more integrated programming across the campus. This working group named itself “The Mission Animators.”
Over the past few years, Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education (a publication of the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education) has developed a high degree of collaboration with other AJCU constituencies. And that collaboration is now seen in the magazine's new website: conversationsmagazine.org.
AJCU Connections Archive
January 2017: Social Innovation on Jesuit Campuses
December 2016: Impact of GC36 on Jesuit Education
November 2016: Distinguished Faculty on Jesuit Campuses
October 2016: Election 2016 on Jesuit Campuses
September 2016: Town & Gown Partnerships for Jesuit Schools
May 2016: How Jesuit Institutions Help Alumni Live the Mission
April 2016: Eco-Jesuit: Campus Responses to Laudato Si'
March 2016: The Jesuit Mission of Athletic Programs
February 2016: Diversity on Jesuit Campuses
January 2016: The Impact of STEM Programs on Jesuit Institutions
December 2015: Celebrating the Arts on Jesuit Campuses
November 2015: The Jesuit Mission of Graduate & Professional Programs
October 2015: 100th Anniversary of Alpha Sigma Nu
September 2015: The Impact of HEA Reauthorization on AJCU Campuses
May 2015: Fostering Vocations on Jesuit Campuses
April 2015: New International Collaborations Among Jesuit Institutions
March 2015: How Women Are Shaping Jesuit Institutions