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Welcome from Vice President Cole

Welcome to the 2017-18 academic year. We’ve been hard at work this month getting ready for opening, and here we are just a few days away. As we embark on this year’s journey, I want to share some updates with you that will frame how we approach our work.

Student Affairs Priorities 2017-18

Marquette’s Strategic Plan includes a number of goals that directly touch Student Affairs areas. While individual departments may have particular foci and goals and may also contribute to other strategic themes in various ways, divisional leadership has identified the following strategic goals as priorities:

  • A Culture of Inclusion
  • Social Responsibility Through Community Engagement
  • Formation of the Mind and the Heart
  • Sustainability of Valuable Resources

While our work touches all students, it is our intention to focus on a few particular areas that need additional support and resources, including students who are first generation and low income, African American student retention, and Alcohol and Other Drug Education and Support Services. In addition, last spring the university identified a number of initiatives that will assist in implementation of the Master Plan and Strategic Themes. These “M12 Initiatives” include enrollment initiatives and recruitment; tuition discount plan; research; online offerings; residential optimization; asset monetization and operational efficiencies.

Student Affairs Board of Trustees Restructuring

The Board of Trustees underwent a restructuring over the summer. Student Affairs and Mission and Ministry have merged to form their own subcommittee. In this new structure, we will be reporting on the student experience through the lens of Marquette’s Strategic Plan, focusing heavily on how we contribute the strategic goals and M12 initiatives mentioned above. Therefore, I encourage you to be collecting data from your areas in terms of how your work interfaces with and supports these strategic goals and initiatives. Data does not have to be in the form of statistics or survey responses, but might be as simple as jotting down observations you have as you meet and engage with students and how the opportunities/services your areas offer have impact on those students.

Enrollment and Student Demographics

This year, there are 2,236 new undergraduate students coming into our community (including transfers and first-year students). According to preliminary data from the Office of Admissions, approximately:

  • 23% identify as first-generation college students.
  • 31% identify their ethnicity being other than white.
  • 23% identify as coming from faith backgrounds that were Christian religions other that Catholic. or from other world religions.
  • 59% attended public high schools.

This diversity makes us stronger, for as Naomi Tutu remarked at the 2016 National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference, “Our differences are what allow us to meet each other’s needs.”

Wild Commons

Construction continues to go well on the site of the new residence halls. Eckstein Tower is visible from almost all angles as it grows in height on a daily basis.  Last week, they built the form to pour the deck of the tenth floor.  The lower “L Tower” is a bit behind but is almost as tall as Structure 1.  Student rooms are being framed in on the lower floors of Eckstein Tower so you get a feel for how the living spaces are going to be laid out.  The dining area on the first floor of Wild Commons is taking shape as well, but the most impactful part of the site right now is the sheer size of the buildings when you stand on the south side in the courtyard.  The mass is tremendous, as is the visual impact.  It is exciting to know that it will be ready to go by this time next year!

I’ll have more to say about these at the Student Affairs Welcome Breakfast on Wednesday, September 6.  Breakfast will begin at 9:00 with remarks to be made at 9:45. I look forward to seeing you there if you can make it, and I look forward to another year of deepening our commitment to our mission through the work we do with students.

Xavier A. Cole, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

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Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative

Marquette University Medical Clinic is excited to announce that Dr. Robin Brown of the Marquette Medical Clinic is the project lead for a grant awarded to Marquette University from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and CVS Health Foundation to promote Marquette’s new 100% tobacco-free policy as part of the ACS “Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI) with the goal to deliver the first tobacco-free generation,#BeTheFirst.  “Of the roughly 20 million college and university students in the United States, more than 1 million are projected to die prematurely from cigarette smoking.  While approximately 90% of smokers start by age 18, fully 99 % start by age 26, underscoring the importance of supporting those in the young adult age group with more effective prevention and cessation efforts while eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke and all tobacco use in their learning environment.”

The main objectives of the grant are:

  1. To engage, educate, and empower the Marquette campus including students, staff, and faculty regarding the implementation of the tobacco-free policy including tools such as social media, website information, as well as “live” events.
  2. Address tobacco cessation support for those who are interested in quitting.

To implement the above objectives, Dr. Brown is forming a “Tobacco-Free Task Force” with broad representation from the campus including students, faculty, staff that would advise and plan tobacco-free campus educational efforts and tobacco cessation support.  Invitations to become part of the task force will be emailed in the coming weeks.

“I am excited to begin working on this important campus initiative in partnership with the American Cancer Society to promote health and culture change at Marquette.   Please contact me regarding any questions.”    —Robin Brown, M.D.

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Wellness Programming

Red Watch Band Bystander Intervention Training will be provided to all sophomore residential students from September 5-28 by residence hall community. The goal of this program is to educate students on the signs and symptoms of acute intoxication and to provide them with the resources to offer help/provide emergency medical assistance.

A peer-to-peer Wellness Coaching program will also be offered out of the Wellness Center. Trained wellness peer educators will provide holistic wellness coaching around the seven dimension of wellness in a one-on-one motivational context. Interested individuals can register online or contact Aleah Biertzer.

Additionally, numerous opportunities exist to support students’ physical, emotional and spiritual wellness.  Check out for information on free yoga classes, meditation, fitness classes and more.

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Sexual Violence Prevention Efforts

Grant Awarded
Advocacy Services will be expanding the network of advocates on campus with the generosity of Aurora Healthcare.  Through the Aurora Better Together Fund, Marquette will be able to add 5 individuals to Advocacy Services, and these individuals will provide after-hours and weekend crisis response. The grant also supports increasing outreach to students and increasing awareness of sexual violence in the community.

First-Year Programming 
Through a partnership between Title IX, the Medical Clinic and the Office of Student Development, all first-year students will be attending Dissolve in the first week of classes. The program involves professionals from MUPD, the Counseling Center, Title IX and Advocacy Services.  Dissolve is one of many ways that DSA will be engaging students to make a safer campus community.

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Dining Updates

As many of you are aware, Marquette has renewed our food service contract with Sodexo. What you may not know is the extent of the changes that begin this fall under the new contract.  Here are a few of the things that are going to be different:

We would also like to thank everyone who participated in the RFP process, with special thanks to Jenny Alexander for being such a great partner!

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RHA Programming and Community Programming Council/RHA Elections

Golden Eagle Games
Encourage your students to join RHA over Labor Day Weekend for a variety of tournaments, including basketball, volleyball, Super Smash Bros, and Mario Kart. Our kickoff event on Friday, September 1 at 6:00 p.m. in Westowne Square will feature live music from bands hosted by MU Radio, inflatables, free food, and much more! We are also going to be giving away prizes throughout the weekend, including Bucks tickets, zoo passes, Bublr bike subscriptions, Fanatics tickets, and priority housing sign-up (first-year students only). Your support in getting students to attend is greatly appreciated!

Community Programming Councils
We are looking for emerging student leaders to join the Community Programming Council teams in the residence halls. CPC puts on large-scale service, educational, and social events for their hall, and there are a variety of ways that students can get involved. For more information, encourage your students to visit RHA's website.

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MUSG Updates

Marquette University Student Government has been hard at work over the summer planning for the year. The executive officers took the StrengthsFinder assessment and got together for a planning retreat in July. During this retreat, they agreed upon organizational values and used those values to write goals for the year. Look to the new MUSG website in September for more information.

Additionally, MU Mania, MUSG’s welcome back programming, is set to begin with the Taste of Milwaukee on Wednesday, 8/30 in Central Mall in conjunction with O-fest and the Community Service Fair.

For students looking to get involved, residential senator positions are available. These are elected positions, and students do need to complete an elections packet by Thursday, September 7. Elections for this position (along with RHA and CPC positions) will take place on Thursday, September 14.

MUSG also needs support. Because of a number of staff vacancies and/or staff leave, MUSG is short advisers this year.  Advising is a great opportunity to have contact with students who are committed and dedicated to bettering the community, and it’s not too time intensive. If you would like to get involved and advise students in the areas of community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and/or communications, reach out to Jen Reid for more information on what advising roles entail and have a conversation with your supervisor. Graduate students in the SAHE program are encouraged and welcome.

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DSA Diversity Committee

On behalf of the DSA Diversity Committee, we are excited to share a few initiatives we are supporting this academic year. We are continuing the Diversity Advocates program with proposed trainings in October, January, March, and May so be on the lookout with details to sign-up for a training. Additionally, we are continuing to explore the possibility of adapting the staff and faculty Diversity Advocates program for students. Finally, we are planning to work on centralizing a calendar system for diversity related events to be posted on our DSA Diversity Committee web site. If you have any questions about the DSA Diversity Committee, please contact Marla Guerrero.

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AMU News

The AMU Staff Takes a Break!
The AMU staff along with Sodexo partners took a break from preparing for the upcoming semester by spending a day outside the office.  The day began with a presentation and team building exercise led by Fr. Kent Beausoleil followed by guests and DSA partners Katy Adler and Sara Smith.  Katy and Sara spoke about initiatives in their respective departments - Advocacy Services and Sexual Violence Prevention Education & Alcohol and Other Drug Program Prevention.

AMU staff display paintings from Splash Studio

The AMU staff ended the day at Splash Studio – we clearly have some very talented painters on staff!  Opportunities like this are great to connect with each other and have some fun.

Union Sports Annex Bowling Center Gets a New Look
Students, staff and guests will be excited when they return in the fall and see a new look in the bowling center at the Annex. A complete renovation was completed over the summer that included new carpet and flooring, stylish furniture, bowling ball display racks along with a new scoring system and monitors. Bowling has remained a popular activity on campus, and we are thrilled to give the space a fresh look. Thanks also goes to our partners across campus including Facilities Planning and Management, Information Technology and the Office of Finance for supporting our efforts.

Student Commuter Lounge Refresh
Returning commuter students will be excited to see some new soft furniture in the AMU’s Commuter Lounge when they return in the fall. These new pieces replace a series of “hand me downs” and will provide a much more comfortable alternative. The Commuter Lounge is located on the first floor of the AMU in room 139.  The lounge is a great place for students to meet other commuters, study and find information on staying connected on campus.  The lounge also offers a television, tables and chairs for study, refrigerator and microwave.

New Commuter Lounge furniture
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Welcome to JASPA, Jesuit Student Affairs. As a student affairs professional at a Jesuit institution, you are automatically a member of this professional organization. Throughout the year, JASPA will have email newsletter updates that are full of opportunities to network with other professionals, get involved in JASPA itself, reflect on your work, and develop as a professional. JASPA hosts a yearly conference just before NASPA’s annual conference, and also recognizes staff who have distinguished themselves in the field of Jesuit student affairs.

New staff should have received an email invitation from the JASPA OrgSync site to create a profile. All staff are encouraged to visit the JASPA website and see what it has to offer. Questions can be directed to Jen Reid who is the Marquette JASPA liaison.

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Meet Dr. Joya Crear: An Interview

Dr. Joya Crear at her desk

What drew you into Student Affairs work?
Honestly, it was the students themselves and the energy of a college campus.  I pursued a terminal degree in Counseling Psychology with the idea to work in the community. After a practicum experience at a college counseling center I realized that a college campus operates similar to a community – and I was hooked.  My work in a college counseling center setting, located in Student Affairs, was very meaningful and rewarding. However, I wanted a more well-rounded experience working with students through all kinds of life transitions, not just problems. I wanted to have a role that would allow me to be more creative and interact with students in a more flexible position.  I made the difficult decision to leave counseling to pursue something in the area of youth development and diversity education.  Long story short, my passion in multicultural education drew me towards diversity and I was hired as the Director of Diversity Programs and Services at George Mason University.

What was your first position in Student Affairs?
My first position was as a practicum student in graduate school at Penn State with Center for Education, Diagnosis and Remediation, or CEDAR Clinic, serves as both a counseling center for undergraduate students and a training center for master’s and doctoral students enrolled in Penn State’s Counseling Psychology Program. While I had seen clients in other settings for years this was the first time I had worked with college students. It was this experience where I realized that I enjoyed working with students in counseling on a wide range complex of issues and concerns. Later at Penn State I had the opportunity to facilitate workshops as well which focuses more on education and prevention. After these experienced I realized that I wanted to work in higher education.

Fortunately, most Counseling Centers are within the Division of Student Affairs, so the opportunities for collaboration are endless.

What is a memorable challenge you encountered in your career? I would say my decision to leave counseling as a profession. I had the goal of being a practicing psychologist since high school so to leave this professional identity was somewhat challenging. My professional network and mentors were all in that arena. The support I received outside of my family was luke-warm through the transition. Many friends and colleagues had a hard time thinking of me as being anything other than a counselor. This also made it hard to find a job for a while.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my second career in Student Affairs in the area of diversity and inclusion. These topics have been constant since graduate school, so it made for a good fit for me.

What’s the last show you binge-watched?
BBC Network’s Shetland which takes place in Scotland.
I also binge-listened to Up and Vanished – a podcast.

What’s been your favorite part about Milwaukee so far?
Purple Door Ice Cream and all the friendly colleagues I’ve met.

What do you do to unwind and have fun?
I love movies and Zumba. I have also gotten into hand quilting in the past year so I’m trying to learn via YouTube.

What advice would you give to newer student affairs practitioners?
Embrace being new in the profession. Your creativity, knowledge and energy is needed by the profession and students. The things I’ve enjoyed about Student Affairs are the flexibility and opportunities to grow. The skills and experiences I’ve had in my career have shaped and prepared me for today (I hope :).  The position/career I pursued right after graduate school is not where I am now. The experiences I had interacting and collaborating with professional students, collaborating with colleagues helped me refine my career choice. I’m a Stephen Covey fan and he says, ‘Begin with the end in mind’ when tackling a task or project. I’d add, be aware that the end may move.    

What advice would you give to Marquette students?
My advice to Marquette students is to enjoy the experience. It will be both rewarding and challenging. Perfection should not be the end goal, rather learning about your path and passion in life would be a better target to aim for while at Marquette.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
In light of recent events in Charlottesville, VA I have a few thoughts to share. As I reflect on my years in Virginia, I’d like the community to know that Charlottesville was only the location for incivility last weekend. It could have been Anywhere, US. I was stunned to see what started as civil protests and counter-protests turn into a display of violence, intolerance and racism. It was a costly reminder that we all need to remain steadfast, vigilant and “woke” in our commitment towards social justice and equity. I am honored that I have the opportunity to contribute personally and professionally towards this commitment. 

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Welcome and Congratulations


Kacie Otto who is the Sexual Violence Prevention Specialist/Victim Advocate.  She comes with experience working in violence prevention at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and is excited to be at Marquette.

New Hall Ministers
Kirsten Guidero, Abbottsford Hall
David Burnett, Humphrey Hall
Kathleen Cavender, O’Donnell Hall
Graice Van Spankeren, Schroeder Hall

New Hall directors
Erik Cole, Abbottsford hall.
Jeni Gruber, McCormick hall.
Aaron McCoy, Straz Tower
Michael Pfeifer, Schroeder Hall
Katie Sikora, Cobeen Hall
Whitney Woodson, Mashuda Hall


Rachel Tepps (nee Rasmussen) who got married on May 28.

Katie Sikora who got engaged in June.

Jennifer and Jeff Roche who welcomed Iris Rose to their family in May.

Mary Janz, who received the prestigious Parthenon Award from the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I). More info can be found on Marquette Today.

Marla Guerrero, whose co-authored article” El ojo en la meta: Latino Male Undergraduates' Coping Processes” was recently published in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. A full citation follows:
Gloria, A. M., Castellanos, J., Delgado-Guerrero, M., Salazar, A. C., Nieves, C. M., Mejia, A., & Martinez, V. L. (2017). El ojo en la meta: Latino male undergraduates’ coping processes. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education10(1), 11.

Annette Conrad who received an Excellence in University Service Award. She was among five staff members to be recognized for dedication above and beyond their job descriptions at the 2017 Staff Excellence Awards luncheon on Tuesday, June 6. Annette has worked for the AMU Event Management Office for 22 years coordinating event and space reservations across campus.  She is dedicated to the success in each and every event that goes through Event Management.  Her passion lies with working with students and seeing their organizations event succeed while allowing them to develop as leaders outside the classroom. 

Dan Abler, Steve Groom and Ali Myszewski on their Marquette anniversaries. Dan has worked at Marquette for 25 years and both Ali and Steve celebrated their 15-year anniversary.  We thank them for their commitment and contributions to the AMU and Marquette University.

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Updates and Action Items from the Office of Student Affairs

Fall Breakfast Kickoff 
Please be sure to respond to the Outlook calendar invitation for the Fall Breakfast Kickoff on Wednesday, September 6 at 9 AM by Monday, August 28. 

Call for photos
We are calling for departmental staff photos for this year’s holiday gathering slideshow.  Please submit them to Clara Dwyer.  If there is a convenient time for Clara to come take a photo of your staff (i.e. your first staff meeting), please email her. 

Newsletter Deadlines
In order to keep people better informed about what is happening across the division, the DSA Newsletter will be sent out more frequently this year.  This is the preferred method for sharing news division-wide as we hope to decrease the number of one-off emails. Submission Examples include:

Submissions can be emailed to Jen Reid. Deadlines and publication dates are as follows:

Publication Date

Date content due

August 22, 2017
September 19, 2017
October 24, 2017
November 28, 2017
January 16, 2018
February 20, 2018
March 20, 2018
April 24, 2018

August 14, 2017
September 11, 2017
October 16, 2017
November 20, 2017
January 8, 2018
February 12, 2018
March 12, 2018
April 16, 2017

Community Campaign
The Division’s Community Campaign Committee is revving up to begin the annual drive this fall. The proceeds of the Community Campaign support amazing organizations such as the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, the United Performing Arts Fund as well as scholarship and aid initiatives of your choice for Marquette University. We hope you will consider giving this year—no amount is too small but your generosity goes a long way! More information about dates and prizes coming soon!

Contact Information