Xavier University President Michael J. Graham announced the creation of the James and Delrose Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning during his State of the University Address at Academic Day 2008 on Tuesday, Oct. 21.
Graham's remarks came at the end of the daylong program in the Schiff Conference and Banquet Center at the Cintas Center. Academic Day engaged students, faculty and staff in topics focused on “Academic Excellence at Xavier: Student Learning and Effective Teaching.” Classes were canceled for the day so that everyone—including students and faculty—could attend the sessions.
The theme of the day was related to the upcoming re-accreditation site visit from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The day's discussions focused on several key accreditation criteria that are also integral to academic excellence.
During his address, Graham observed the steps the University is taking to deal with the current financial crisis: suspending all hiring temporarily, and asking everyone in the Xavier community to be cost-conscious.
"Down the road, the 20/20 hindsight that history affords will provide us a clear picture of exactly how all this happened, when the turnaround finally began and how it was that we crawled forth from the wreckage. But that is for some day down the road. Now is the the time for you and me to live through it," Graham said.
But he spent most of the address discussing the kinds of community engagement already being practiced at Xavier and that will be enhanced by the creation of the Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning.
The University is developing community engagement as an integral part of its mission. To coordinate the many ways that Xavier students and faculty are working in and with local and regional communities, the University created the Eigel Center "as a mechanism to better support and advance this good and important work," Graham said, noting that more than 70 percent of seniors report having participated in community service or volunteer work during their time at Xavier.
The full text of Graham's address is available here.
Academic Day began at 9:15 a.m. with an interfaith service at Bellarmine Chapel. Participants then moved to the Cintas Center for a video highlighting student academic achievement, as well as demonstrations highlighting both established and newer University programs that promote academic excellence.
Several presentations focused on Xavier’s challenges and opportunities, including: "The Outcomes of a Xavier Education: What We Say, What Students Say"; "Lessons From the Trenches: Perspectives of Accredited Programs"; and "Understanding the Core Curriculum."
Academic Day—the Celebration of Xavier academics—is a yearly event that began in the fall of 2001 as part of Graham’s inaugural events. The intent is to dedicate one day each fall to celebrate Xavier’s academic accomplishments, particularly to highlight multidisciplinary teaching and research.