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EDITORIAL: Presidential address foreshadows positive change

Amy+Van+Hecke%2C+President%27s+Challenge+grant+winner%2C+accepts+a+check+for+%24250%2C000+for+future+projects.
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EDITORIAL: Presidential address foreshadows positive change

Amy Van Hecke, President's Challenge grant winner, accepts a check for $250,000 for future projects.

Amy Van Hecke, President's Challenge grant winner, accepts a check for $250,000 for future projects.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Amy Van Hecke, President's Challenge grant winner, accepts a check for $250,000 for future projects.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Amy Van Hecke, President's Challenge grant winner, accepts a check for $250,000 for future projects.

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This past Wednesday, President Lovell made his yearly address to the university. Lovell’s main points included the creation of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, the $250,000 President’s Challenge grant winner and a varsity esports team. The Institute for Women’s Leadership and President’s Challenge highlight diversity initiatives and a shift toward change within the university and surrounding Milwaukee communities.

The new Institute for Women’s Leadership is a program that will launch this summer. The purpose of the institute is to focus on research, leadership development, programming and networking opportunities specific to women’s leadership and gender equality in the workplace and education. $5 million was gifted for this program.

The current undergraduate population is 54 percent female, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis. If the student body continues to be majority female, the creation of the Institute for Women’s Leadership will serve a majority of the student undergraduate population. It gives students who are looking for new communities and opportunities another way to get involved. It also addresses an often under-represented population in leadership roles. Women only hold 25 percent of executive and senior-level positions despite being 44 percent of the labor force, according to the Center for American Progress

Marquette’s commitment to gender equality is highlighted through the creation of this institute. In 2019, it is important for Marquette to show that programs for women are a priority and not an afterthought. With 48.3 percent of Marquette faculty being female, programs that focus on women’s leadership are essential to more than just the student population.

Amy Van Hecke, associate professor of psychology, was the first winner of the President’s Challenge for her work with fellow faculty in nursing, education, counseling psychology, computer science, communication, psychology and speech pathology and audiology. She was given the award due to her work on The Next Step Clinic: A Partnership Targeting Mental and Developmental Health for Milwaukee’s Underserved Children and Families.

The Next Step Clinic is a great example of a project that is well thought out and highlights Marquette’s dedication to service. The project incorporates students, professors and faculty from nearly every college, and it brings an often overlooked service to Milwaukee. The Next Step Clinic helps families who have been negatively impacted by racial and socioeconomic health disparities. The clinic invites those inside and outside the Marquette community to get involved.

A grant of $250,000 was given to Van Hecke to address inequities within the community including issues like education, safety, housing and transportation. Choosing a recipient like Van Hecke, who has demonstrated a command of leadership on other projects such as the Marquette Autism Project and On Your Marq, is a wise investment. Not only does Van Hecke have experience, but she also has the drive to get things done.

Although Lovell mentioned a lot of new university projects, details were left out regarding the status of current projects. For example, The Master Plan was not mentioned until the Q&A session. There was also no mention of the Marquette Hispanic Serving Institute initiative, despite the 1 percent increase in Hispanic students from 2017, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis. The university showed a lot of promise with the projects that were announced, but Marquette must follow through on other initiatives and be transparent with information.

 

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