Marquette faculty, community partners receive honors at community engagement conversation series

March 10, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Two faculty members and several community partners received awards during a Community Engagement Conversation held virtually on March 4.

Dr. Louise CainkarDr. Louise Cainkar, associate professor in social and cultural sciences in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, was recognized with the Community Engaged Teaching Award for her transformational teaching, which has prompted Marquette students to challenge injustice in our communities and embrace diversity through the use of service learning. She has worked tirelessly to challenge the norms, phobias, and political narratives and make a difference in the wider community, particularly in the service of Arab and Muslim Americans.

“By sharing her profound love and respect for Muslim peoples and their cultures, Louise gives her students opportunities to engage with a variety of people from different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds and develops in them the ability to reflect on their own biases and presumptions,” said Dr. Meghan Stroshine, department chair and associate professor of social and cultural sciences. “The result is a truly transformative, mission-centered educational experience that simply would not be possible in the confines of a classroom.”

Dora Clayton-JonesDr. Dora Clayton-Jones, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, received the Community Engaged Research Partnership Award along with her partners, Senior Pastor Melva Henderson and the World Outreach Center. They were recognized for their efforts in using a biopsychosocial-spiritual model to develop and implement a faith-based curriculum for small group sessions to use with the sickle cell disease population.

“Dora is a gifted community engaged scholar and a natural in her ability to connect with people across our community,” said colleague Dr. Kristin Haglund, professor in the College of Nursing. “Dora's community engagement represents countless hours of hard work, sacrifice and devotion to a cause. Her work with people in the sickle cell community is amplified through her community engagement, and her and partners, like the World Outreach Center, are accomplishing so much more together than either could on their own.”

“World Outreach Center is a church beyond the ordinary,” Clayton-Jones said of her partners. “Under the leadership of Senior Pastors Ervin and Melva Henderson, they are preparing transformational servant leaders, while extending the love of God to the Milwaukee Community and beyond.”

The Gathering of Southeast Wisconsin was awarded the Community Engaged Partner Award for its contributions to the growth of Marquette students and advancement of the university’s mission through a strong service partnership. The Gathering’s mission of “Feeding the Hungry and Keeping Hearts Full” serves neighbors across Milwaukee through its Community Meal Program. The Gathering has received students from Marquette University’s Midnight Run program for nearly 30 years to assist in bringing freshly prepared meals and caring accompaniment to guests at the table. In less than a year, this organization has shifted from sharing sit-down meals with community members to providing hot meals and bagged lunches to-go. In this way, the Gathering has continued to support the community while also adapting to the necessary COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Gathering is also a community partner of Marquette’s Backpack Program, which supports any Marquette student who is having difficulty accessing affordable, nutritious food and other essential household items.

Community Engagement Conversations

In place of the annual Community Engagement Symposium, the Office of Economic Engagement hosted two Community Engagement Conversations—one in fall 2020 and one in spring 2021—focused on issues of racial equity, the social determinants of health, and COVID-19. These critical issues panels included leaders from various sectors among our community. Panelists discussed the various settings which they work within and the approaches they have taken to advance racial justice and equity through their efforts in community engagement. Whether identifying and changing institutional, or industry policies and procedures, or leveraging more intentional and strategic initiatives to elevate opportunities through partnership, participants will discuss the critical role racial justice and equity must play in current and future community engagement efforts.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or