Welcome to the Marquette Civic Dialogues Program

"Unlike disagreement and conflict, persistent and courageous dialogue does not make headlines, but quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine."

~ Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti

The Marquette Civic Dialogues Program works to foster deliberation about the pressing issues facing our world today, prepare students to be citizens with purpose, and advance scholarship on civic dialogue. Through our programming and research, we encourage students to "Be the Difference" by engaging differences in political thought and lived experience. 

We launched our program in Fall 2021 with the generous support of donors. Since then, students have come together to discuss vexing public policy issues in our Dialogue Dinner series. Our Speaker Series has hosted voices from across the political spectrum -- from Ganesh Sitaraman, senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, to Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the conservative National Review. 

We've also engaged Marquette alumni through outreach and programming. Most importantly, we are strengthening civic relationships on campus and beyond. And we're just getting started. In our first year, Civic Dialogues events drew a total of just over 140 participants. Our Fall 2022 events alone drew 310 participants. Visit the Civic Dialogues calendar to see how we're growing the program!

Register for Upcoming Event:  Tuesday, May 2nd  |  3 - 4:30 PM

There were an estimated 36,500 vacancies this school year. Districts continue to struggle to recruit and retain teachers of color. Needs vary across districts and by subject area. Our panelists will offer different perspectives on how we might address these challenges.   Ed Foy, Principal, Dominican High School Michael Harris, Talent Director, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Melissa Gibson, Assistant Professor, Marquette University  Jilly Gokalgandhi, MPS School Board Director and Equity in Education Specialist, American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact Brittany Kinser, President and Executive Director, City Forward Collective


Gallery of Recent Events

Since launching our program in Fall 2021, Civic Dialogues has hosted speakers from across the political spectrum.  View our Speaker Series Gallery below.

  • The pandemic laid bare several hidden truths about the U.S. labor market, raising questions and challenges for policymakers.  As the economy recovers, who is getting left behind and why?  How do we best prepare young people for tomorrow's economy?  What has caused inflation to rise?  The Marquette Civic Dialogues Program is thrilled to invite two influential voices in these policy debates to our campus.  Join us for this lively discussion.
  • Join us for a conversation with Alexander Heffner as he discusses the effects of divisiveness on discourse, campaigns, and governance, as well as the influence of new media, dis/misinformation, and filter bubbles that polarize American society.  What are possible prescriptions to correct this cycle?  How can we restore faith in civic life?
  • Join us for an important conversation about the social and ethical dilemmas posed by emerging digital technologies.
  • At a time when the political environment can feel hopelessly dysfunctional, business leaders from across the political spectrum have joined together to advocate for more, not less, civic engagement.  Come hear about their efforts to ensure equitable access to voting, and non-partisan, transparent election administration, and why they think it's imperative that college students participate in the democratic process.
  • A respected conservative voice, Mr. Lowry writes for Politico, and often appears on such public-affairs programs as Meet the Press.  He is the author of Lincoln Unbound, The Case for Nationalism:  How it Made Us Powerful, United, and Free and Legacy:  Paying the Price for the Clinton Years - a New York Times bestseller.  Lowry began his career as a research assistant for Charles Krauthammer.  In 1997 he was selected by William F. Buckley to lead National Review.
  • A roundtable discussion on our city's financial troubles and fiscal future, featuring Rob Henken, President of the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
  • Featuring the President of the American Conservation Coalition, Benji Backer.
  • Benji Backer is the founder and president of the American Conservation Coalition, the largest conservative environmental organization. Before he founded ACC at the University of Washington, Backer began his career in conservative politics well before he could vote — volunteering for campaigns in his home state of Wisconsin. He has represented a right-of-center environmental viewpoint nationally, including testifying among youth climate activists like Greta Thunberg in Congress. He has been named to Fortune 40 Under 40, Forbes 30 Under 30, GreenBiz 30 Under 30, and Grist 50. ABC News called him one of “5 youth climate activists you need to know.” A frequent contributor to multiple national media outlets, Backer is a board member of numerous organizations, including BridgeUSA and the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum. He also serves on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences' Climate Change Commission.
  • The US is estimated to lose 1/3 of its newspapers by 2025. Only 26% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the news media. The future of local news is uncertain. Join Marquette Civic Dialogues to hear from an expert panel on the challenges facing local journalism, opportunities for renewal, and how the news media can empower communities and strengthen democracy. Feb. 27, 5:30 to 7 p.m. AMU 163.
  • Dr. Matthew P. Hitt | Monfort Professor and Associate Professor of Political Science, Colorado State University. Dr. Joshua P. Darr | Associate Professor of Political Communication, Louisiana State University. Dr. Johanna L. Dunaway | Professor of Political Science, Texas A&M University. Ron Smith | Executive Director, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service & Instructor of Practice in Journalism, Marquette University. Reggie Moore | Director of Violence Prevention Policy and Engagement, Medical College of Wisconsin.