In the context of the Jesuit University in which the Service Learning Program is housed, the concept of community engagement is not a foreign one. Marquette’s focus on community engagement rivals universities across the country and challenges students and faculty alike to incorporate service into every aspect of their academic and personal lives. Whether through community-based research, service learning, or individual service projects, Marquette excels at being a present force in the community. The annual Faculty Bus Tour is just one of many ways that the Marquette Service Learning Program works to strengthen this legacy of community involvement.
On May 16th, 2013, a bus arrived to the 707 Building, home of the Marquette Service Learning Program, to pick up a group of faculty for a day of learning, engaging, and building partnerships with the Milwaukee community. Along with faculty from Milwaukee Area Technical College, Marquette faculty had the opportunity for an inside look at four organizations within a mile and a half of the Marquette and MATC campuses. Faculty spent eight hours exploring opportunities for community engagement in the hope that new, fruitful partnerships would emerge to meet the community’s needs and strengthen the scholarship, research, and teaching of the faculty at Marquette and MATC.
Dr. Lea Acord saw great benefit in the bus tour for faculty using Service Learning in their classes. After attending the bus tour, she said, “I think the most important information that faculty receive is an understanding of some of the sites where our students serve.” Dr. Acord felt much more comfortable talking to the students in her Culture and Health class about their service learning experiences after visiting some sites herself. She also appreciated the way that touring each site gave her an appreciation for the hard work and determination that the staff and volunteers give to their organizations.
The sites on the agenda for this year’s tour coveedr a broad range of populations and sectors. Through the Wisconsin Conservatory for Lifelong Learning, a K4-12 school teaching culturally diverse students, and the Pieper-Hillside Boys and Girls Club and Hillside Family Resource Center, a youth program and community center offering a wide range of activities and programs for the whole family, faculty will experience a range of programs geared toward the needs of children and families. Through the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, a health center working to ease the effects of HIV/AIDS in Milwaukee, and the Grand Avenue Club, a community-focused program for mentally ill adults, attendees will also experience a range of programs focused on community health issues. Spending an hour at each site, faculty will have the chance to learn about the needs, goals, services, and programming of each organization that could be supported by a partnership with Marquette or MATC.
At the completion of the tour, attendees returned to the Marquette Service Leaning office to debrief and discuss the day’s events. Through meaningful dialogue about the day’s experiences, faculty were able to connect with one another and voice their ideas for new partnerships, service learning projects, and community research prospects that will continue and strengthen the bond between Marquette and MATC faculty and the Milwaukee community they call home.
Annual Faculty Field Trip - Thursday, May 16, 2013
How Might Working with the Community Enhance My Teaching and Scholarship?
Join Marquette University and Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) faculty this May for the annual faculty field trip! See first-hand the amazing work that is being done in our community by visiting four local nonprofit community partners in our immediate neighborhood. Take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about the agencies’ needs, goals, services, and programming, as well as how we can better engage with the community through service learning and community-based research. Join us as we explore opportunities to collaborate with MATC faculty in order to have a positive impact on our shared neighborhood.
The bus will meet at the 707 Building at 8:30am. Lunch will be served at Hillside Family Resource Center at 11:30am and will be catered by MATC. The bus will return to the 707 Building at 3:00pm for a debriefing in Room 303 until 4:00pm.
9:15am - Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning: 1017 N. 12th Street
10:30am - Pieper-Hillside Boys & Girls Club & Hillside Family Resource Center: 611 W. Cherry Street
12:30pm - AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin: 820 N. Plankinton Avenue
1:45pm - Grand Avenue Club: 210 E. Michigan Street
3:00-4:00pm - Debriefing Session and Evaluation at Marquette SLP
On May 19, 2009, 45 current and prospective Service Learning faculty participated in the Program's Community Bus Tour which was the second half of a two-day faculty seminar focused on community-based research entitled, "Addressing Community Needs in Volatile Times: Opportunities for Teaching and Research." The seminar was co-sponsored by the Manresa Project, Center for Teaching and Learning, Institute for Urban Life, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Graduate School.
The day began at the Service Learning Office with a continental breakfast and an introduction by Jen Filz, a Site Contact and the Director of the Campus Kitchens Program.
Faculty loaded the bus and headed north of campus, to Repairers of the Breach. On the way, the bus passed by several Service Learning agencies, including Aurora Sinai Medical Center.
Repairers of the Breach is a daytime shelter run by the homeless and for the homeless. Clients are able to receive clothes, a warm place to stay during inclement weather, and also work one-on-one with a tutor to earn their GED or improve reading skills.
The next stop was Milwaukee Center for Independence, a non-profit, comprehensive, community-based rehabilitation facility and sheltered workshop that helps people with developmental disabilities live and work in the community. MCFI offers over 50 programs and services to assist people of all ages.
The bus traveled past several more agencies and faculty were provided lunch by Amaranth Bakery, a bakery near Our Next Generation, the next stop on the tour. Our Next Generation is an after school program for at-risk youth on Milwaukee's near north side.
The last site visited was Voces de la Frontera, a low-wage and immigrant worker's center which responds to the immediate problems low-wage immigrant workers face and provides a legal clinic where workers can obtain free legal advice about labor and civil rights.
The faculty returned to the Service Learning Office mid-afternoon for a wine and cheese reception and reflection. The faculty discussed their experiences visiting the agencies and began to consider next steps in integrating service learning in their courses in the future. Following the tour many professors indicated interest in using service learning in their classes, or improving the way they integrate their teaching with the community. Several faculty are also examining how community-based research might shape their research agendas.