Welcome to a new semester, Sept. 5, 2013

Dear Colleagues:

As we step together into a new academic year, I’d like to share one of the many remarkable stories of summer travel and discovery that our students have brought back with them to campus.

In July, 10 Marquette students traveled to Rio de Janeiro for the celebration of World Youth Day and the chance to hear Pope Francis address millions of young people. “Put on faith,” if you want your life to have real meaning and fulfillment, Francis told our students. “Put on faith, put on hope, put on love.” His words were all about passionately engaging in life and faith, which is exactly how we want our students to approach their time here. We want them to put on Marquette with the same urgency championed by Francis.

That willing spirit also describes the way we as a university community are working together to move Marquette forward. In this semester kickoff video, you will see exciting signs of change and growth this year, including the emergence of new learning spaces in some of our most historic buildings and the expansion of the School of Dentistry, both physically and in its service to students and our community. Truthfully, what’s covered in these four minutes can only begin to capture the energy and enthusiasm that abounds on campus as we begin in earnest to implement our strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries: Setting a Course for Marquette’s Future, which sets Marquette on a path to be among the world’s most innovative and accomplished Catholic and Jesuit universities.

It is clear from meetings with faculty and staff this summer, from interactions with students during orientation week, and from the collaborative spirit in the air around campus that these new priorities are infused throughout our community. We’re hearing innovative ideas to elevate our peer reputation. We’re witnessing new ways of tackling old problems. We’re experiencing new types of collaboration among colleges and among community partners, including the following:

  • The College of Engineering and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design will collaborate during the next two years to create a curriculum to provide undergraduate industrial design and engineering students at each institution a combined skill set to become creative and innovative problem-solvers.
  • We’re taking another step in engaging with new learning technologies by launching the university’s first Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, an introduction to applied investing taught by a professor in the College of Business Administration.
  • The J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication welcomed to campus its inaugural O’Brien Fellows in Public Service Journalism, who will spend nine months researching, reporting and writing the stories they care most deeply about — stories with the potential to change policies and improve lives.

Expect more examples of pace-setting excellence in Jesuit higher education as six goal stewards guide us in the implementation of each of Beyond Boundaries’ six themes. The stewards will be sharing their first progress report via an updated strategic plan website later this month. Although they will help harness the good work being done around each theme, it will take the involvement of every person on this campus to achieve our goals. As you’re thinking about your role at Marquette this year and the personal goals you hope to achieve, I urge you to reflect on how your work can contribute to our shared goals. Perhaps it is a more efficient process or a new method of collaboration with peers from a different discipline or a better way to serve the Milwaukee community. If you have an idea, share it. The strength of the strategic planning process was the broad input we received from every corner of campus and from our alumni and friends around the country, and we need that same level of engagement during this critical first year of implementation.

As we work to ensure our students experience a transformational Marquette education that will prepare them for roles as difference-makers in a world of growing complexity, it is your passion, your intelligence and your love for Marquette’s mission that ignites our everyday work on this campus and in our community.

Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
Marquette University

Strategic Planning image

Beyond Boundaries

Branded Strategic Plan Document CoverApproved by Marquette's Board of Trustees in
May 2013, Beyond Boundaries: Setting the Course for Marquette's Future builds on the bold spirit that has always blessed Marquette University. In seeking to carry forward this tradition today, the university community collectively developed a clear vision of the qualities that must distinguish the Marquette of tomorrow. This strategic plan website was established as a vehicle for the campus community to learn about the strategic plan development and implementation process.