Mission and Identity

7. Integrity

"Clarity about our identity and mission moving forward is crucial as the Society of Jesus increasingly depends on the laity to 'assist in leadership roles that will preserve the identity and mission of the institution as Jesuit.' One of the great strengths of our formational programs is their inclusiveness and catholicity...Once again our unity within our diversity is our strength. Inspired by St. Ignatius, the Xavier Way is a dynamic spirit of critical inquiry and loving openness seeking encounter, integration, and wisdom in all that we do together." (Seeking Integration and Wisdom, para. 50)

HR Policies that Demonstrate a Commitment to Mission

Xavier's Total Compensation Philosophy begins, "As an expression of its Jesuit Catholic mission, Xavier University maintains a comprehensive compensation program which recognizes the dignity of each person and is directed at attracting, retaining and rewarding an accomplished and diverse faculty and staff."

In 2013, a compensation and classification system was implemented following a two-year process of review and analysis. The University utilizes a merit-based system for salary increases. Fairness in compensation, benefits and promotion practices is ensured.

Similar to Xavier's Student Learning Outcomes in the revised Core Curriculum, the Annual Performance Form used by staff includes a section on the Institutional Values of magis, cura personalis, discernment, reflection, service and solidarity. As stated on the form, "At Xavier, we celebrate a passion for mission and incorporate those values into one's performance."

A University Benefits Committee of faculty and staff meets regularly to review and advise the Office of Human Resources on the University's fringe benefit offerings.

Formation for Mission and Leadership

A variety of programs and activities offered through the Center for Mission and Identity includes those that are both exclusive to Xavier and those that are coordinated in collaboration with networks such as AJCU, ACCU, etc). Fr. Daniel McDonald, S.J., stated in his report, "The programs [at Xavier] are plentiful and the people interviewed were more than excited about these programs."

Two Xavier offerings that are particularly noteworthy are:

  • The Manresa Orientation Program for New Faculty and Staff, which begins with lunch with the President where he provides his vision of Xavier as a Jesuit Catholic institution to all new employees. The program offers either an off-campus overnight retreat or three on-campus lunch sessions. The sole focus of the Manresa program is Xavier's Jesuit identity and how it is animated though the University's mission.
  • Assuring the Future Mission and Identity of Xavier (AFMIX), a two-year program for faculty and staff that meets weekly. Participants learn about and discuss Jesuit/Ignatian history, spirituality, education and its contemporary application on both an institutional and personal level. The program includes a semester-long, small group experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Now in its 16th year, the program's current cohort has 30 participants representing every division and college of the University. In total, over 200 members of the campus community are AFMIX graduates.

Hiring Practices that Demonstrate Commitment to Mission

The Office of Human Resources' career website assures that prospective hires become familiar with the University's Jesuit tradition. It includes a brief history of the Institution and narratives by faculty and staff describing their connection with University values, interfaith engagement and "the unique benefits of working for a Jesuit University."

Financial Management that Illustrates Commitment to Mission

Financial management policies and practices are oriented toward support of the University's mission together with strong fiduciary execution:

  • Xavier operates with a strong emphasis on integrity. We consistently receives unqualified annual audit opinions from its independent accountants and clean annual reviews related to Xavier's use of federal financial aid and compliance with NCAA financial rules.
  • Numerous initiatives have been implemented to steward and improve the use of limited resources in support of the mission. A significant recent example is the major debt restructuring that reduced risk and saved millions of dollars.
  • The University Planning and Resourcing Council meets regularly with the UPRC Advisory Committee in making resourcing recommendations to the President. The groups are structured to foster diversity and inclusion of thought and perspective and incorporate communal discernment in decision-making. The President's Cabinet members, including the CMO, as well as faculty members, students and staff are represented. In addition, the CMO serves on the Space Subcommittee of UPRC.
  • Resource allocation and reallocation choices between competing needs are typically made in the context of Xavier values and The Xavier Way priorities.
  • Xavier has developed a strong practice of supporting women and minority businesses.
  • Business services practices are carried out with an eye toward cura personalis and cura apostolica-caring for others and for the University. Examples of this can be found regularly in handling of student billing, payroll and other operational areas.

Physical Resource Management that Illustrates a Commitment to Mission

Xavier's physical campus is exceptional in communicating the University's commitment to the mission. The first planning principle of the Campus Master Plan is to "strengthen the identity of Xavier as a progressive community of inquiry rooted in the ethics and values that imprint a Xavier education as Jesuit and Catholic."

The principles are evidenced through the integration of symbols and expressions of the Jesuit Catholic heritage in art, architecture and design. The robust collection is evident in its Buildings, Statues and Beauty. The more notable physical representations are:

  • Renovation of Alter Hall, where classroom building sustainability initiatives meet Gold LEED requirements, including a rain garden, completed in 2015.
  • A Peace Garden and Jesuit Martyr Memorial, dedicated Fall 2015.
  • The St. Ignatius Steps which incorporate a statue of St. Ignatius, the Prayer for Generosity, and the logo of the Society of Jesus.
  • Statues of St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Fr. James E. Hoff, S.J., plus a statue of St. Francis Xavier which greets visitors at the main entrance to campus.
  • The establishment of a permanent home for the Center for Mission and Identity at the heart of campus with 17 original Ignatian inspired paintings by local professional artist and Xavier alumnae Holly Schapker.
  • Large bronze sculpture of the Jesuit Seal on the front of the chapel.
  • Sculpture of Quo Vadis in the residential mall encouraging students to reflect on their values.
  • Values inscribed above the entrance to the Office of Admission which all potential students and their families visit.
  • Custom designed and created crosses, by artist David Camele, are in all classrooms with a plaque describing the artistic nature of each piece.
  • The Cincinnati region's Sustainability Heroes honored in wall art form in Justice Hall.

Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of the Xavier campus is its feel of "sacramentality" present in its landscaping, which is intentionally designed to encourage reflection among its students, faculty, staff and visitors. Xavier considers itself a "university in a park" with quiet reflection areas throughout campus. This is reflected in several of the planning principles of the Master Plan including: "strengthen the historic core of the campus while developing new facilities that create human-scaled open spaces with distinct character" and "ensure that development of the campus fully embraces the open spaces and parklands that surround the campus; knits together the diverse campus environment and enhances the University's contribution to the civic landscape of the community."

Environmental Sustainability: Xavier has been named a "green" school by the Princeton Review every year since 2013. In fact, the newest building revision, Alter Hall, was updated with sustainability in mind throughout the process and meets Gold LEED standards. All buildings erected since 2008 meet LEED silver standards.

President Graham signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007 and the Catholic Climate Covenant Pledge in 2014. In addition, Xavier is a member of the American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education. In care of the University commitment is a Campus Sustainability Plan as well as:

  • An Office of Sustainability.
  • Senior Administrative Fellow for Sustainability.
  • Academic programs, including four undergraduate majors and a minor and two graduate degrees in the field of sustainability: Theology MA in Sustainability MA in Urban Sustainability and Resilience and Theology MA in Solidarity in a Global Context.
  • A Sustainability Ambassadors program for staff and faculty and sustainability student interns who work on campus projects to promote the Campus Sustainability Plan.
  • A resource page on Sustainability, Ecology and Jesuit Identity.
  • Professor Jonathon Gibson's art class designed a logo used on the campus to represent sustainability initiatives. Sustainability Ambassadors have shirts with the logo on their sleeve. XU Sustainability logo

External Recognition

In his feedback, Fr. Daniel McDonald SJ commented, "The strongest parts of the Mission and Identity... are the conversations and activities which indicate the primacy of the Mission. There is acknowledged Jesuit identity vocabulary at every level of discourse. Further, people constantly reference ideas like service, service learning, reflection, leadership and justice... It is also true to say that there is no lack of opportunities for understanding Jesuit, Catholic and Mission."

Xavier's programs in the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities' Promising Practices Inventory, which "serve as examples for leaders in Catholic higher education as they work to strengthen Catholic mission and identity" are:

Fr. Greg Lucey, S.J., in his final "Letter from the President" as AJCU president, wrote in the January 2013 edition of Connections: "...In response to a growing desire for more integrated, formational experiences among faculty, staff, and administrators, several schools have developed campus-based programs that include spiritual, educational, and service activities that span a semester or academic year. Several schools are starting to design programs that provide board members with opportunities to deepen their understanding and ownership of mission. A few examples of the exceptional programs that are in place include ... the online trustee formation modules and AFMIX at Xavier Univer-sity,..."

In his March 2011 article in Catholic Education, Pursuing Jesuit, Catholic Identity and Mission at U.S. Jesuit Colleges and Universities (p. 351), former AJCU president Fr. Charles Currie, S.J., references Xavier's educational resources and Fr. George Traub, S.J.'s two volumes on Jesuit Education and on Ignatian Spirituality published by Loyola Press in his notes on "Mission and Identity Best Practices."

With regards to the use of 'Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education' periodical, Fr. Pat Howell, S.J., chair of the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, stated in his letter to officers in Jesuit Mission and Identity, "If you're looking for ideas and vehicles for engaging your campus through Conversations, I suggest you contact your peers at Creighton, Xavier, or Spring Hill. They each seem to make extensive use of its multiple features." This is in reference to the campus dialogue, each semester, on the theme of the current issue.

Xavier's mission officers and other faculty and staff have added directly to the body of intellectual/scholarly knowledge on Jesuit identity, which includes articles in publications of the AJCU, ACCU, Loyola Press, Higher Learning Commission and more.

Collage of Students working on different projects