Conway Institute

Educating for Justice

"Solidarity is learned through contact rather than through concepts.
When the heart is touched by direct contact, the mind may be challenged to change."
-Peter- Hans Kolvenbach, SJ

A generous gift from Robert McDonald, MD '55 has assisted faculty in educating their students to "lead lives of solidarity, service, and success" through innovative opportunities to work in kinship with the less served.


Kathy Winterman Ed.D. (Education): Xavier students and residents of Redwood, a non-profit organization that guides children and adults with severe and multiple disabilities to achieve independence, created a community garden for year-round enjoyment.

Wendy Maxian, Ph.D. (Communication Arts) - Xavier students support public relations for three Cincinnati nonprofits working to end food insecurity - Gabriel's Place (Avondale), Childhood Food Solutions (North Fairmount, Price Hill), and Findlay Market's SNAP program (Over-the-Rhine).

Group Photo of Students and Professors

Sharon Merrill, Ed.D. (Special Education) - Turning the two car garage into two classrooms and the old rectory into four classrooms allowed Xavier students to teach 31 elementary students from the Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School along with others in the classrooms at the Llandilo Special Education School of Hope in Savanna La Mar, Jamaica. Students, ranging from 7 to 9 years of age, were not able to read, write or recognize the letters in their names. After two weeks of teaching and the sharing of school supplies, Xavier undergraduate and graduate students were able to provide the foundation of reading readiness of their names and initial decoding skills for basic vocabulary words while instilling a basic foundation of self-value and self-discipline.

Rabbi Abie Ingber (Interfaith Community Engagement) - Xavier students, along with medical professionals from the greater Cincinnati region, served the village of Patanatik in the Solola Lake mountain region of Guatemala during the winter break in 2013 and spring break in 2014. The Interfaith Medical Mission team saw hundreds of people in a clinic and home visits. Following the trip, students committed to volunteer at least twenty hours at a free clinic.

Michael Goldweber, PhD (Computer Science) - Computer Science majors volunteer their skills in local elementary schools to experience and understand opportunities for socially responsible computing.


Victoria Zascavage, Ph.D. (Education) - Good nutrition is imperative for the proper development of the human body. Teaching children about nutrition assists them in developing healthy habits into adulthood. A group of students in Xavier's Human Development and Learning (EDFD 110) class interacted with second graders at Williams Elementary School in Norwood providing a learning opportunity on food, including the importance of breakfast, the proper amount of fats and sugars to consume, growing foods and a vegetable tasting.

Kathy Winterman, EdD (Education) - Personal hygiene is an important issue for adolescents and can greatly affect their self-esteem. For many low-income families, personal hygiene products are a low priority. Providing 15 special education students at Bethel Tate Middle School with hygiene education and Body and Mind Connection (BAM) Boxes filled with hygiene supplies, will help improve their self-esteem, health, acceptance by their peers and society, and employability upon graduation from high school.

Nancy Bertaux, Ph.D. (Economics) - As part of the Natural Resource Economics course, a group of students served Findley Market Farms in Over-the-Rhine to learn, first-hand, about the food needs of the local community and growing techniques in the region.

Group Photo of Professor instructing her Students outsideMolly Robertshaw (Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice) - Expansion of the NEXUS [Norwood, Evanston, Xavier University] Community Garden plots enable greater student-community interaction and production for donation to St. Andrew's Food Pantry and the Norwood Service League.

Michael Goldweber, PhD (Math/Computer Science) - Students in Computer Science volunteer their skills to understand the vast opportunities for socially responsible computing in a local elementary school.


Gail Hurst, PhD (Criminal Justice) - Recognizing that the first step in becoming a good steward of God's creation is preserving nature, the Criminal Justice Club used "Earth Day Groceries Project" to promote social justice by pairing Xavier students with elementary students in Norwood to promote recycling, love of the land and nature, and conversation of energy on Earth Day, April 22, 2011.



Photo of Students working outside

David Burns DBA (Marketing) - MBA students in the Summer 2009 "non-profit marketing series" facilitated literacy in Guatemala.

Ginger McKenzie, EdD (Montessori Education) - graduate students in Education incorporated a gardening and food component, including the development of a garden, into a summer program in a local elementary school. The curriculum extended into the lunch hour with nutritious fruits and vegetables provided.

Stephen Yandell, PhD (English) - students in English 205 "Mass Consumption" read a number of novels with a focus on consumerism and greed (Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet, In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, Rhinoceros and Other Plays, Eugene Ionesco, Suddenly Last Summer, Tennessee Williams). Moreover, faculty, staff, students and some campus neighbors of United Cerebral Palsy engaged in a campus community art project creating banners of the Gifts of Our Ignatian Heritage. Read a description of the project by the artist and watch a video on the making of the banners.