"We believe that faith, knowledge, and service are not three independent aspects of education. Rather they form a triad in which each part is intrinsically related to the others. We affirm that community-based service at local, regional, and global levels is integral to the learning experience and central to Xavier's mission. We affirm that experiences of encounter and solidarity with the poor as well as careful structural analysis of poverty and other forms of social evil and systemic injustice are not add-ons but integral to the Jesuit mission that seeks both personal and social transformation." (Seeking Integration and Wisdom, para. 47)
The University fosters a community of respect and hospitality felt by both internal and external constituencies. Some examples are:
- Smooth Transitions program: First-year student summer pre-orientation and year-long peer mentoring program that seeks to support underrepresented students including first generation, low-income students of any racial background, multi-racial students and students of color)
- Twenty percent of the entering class is composed of first-generation college students.
- Xavier's Center for Diversity and Inclusion offers a broad spectrum of student cultural identity and advocacy groups.
- X-Link Partners with Neighborhoods of Opportunity.
- On-campus art exhibits, theatre productions, musical offerings, guest speakers, etc. are available to the local community.
- Bi-Annual Community Action Day of Service led by the Center for Faith and Justice.
- Annual Interfaith Guatemala Medical Service Trip.
- Center for International Education and Faculty-led Study Abroad programs were offered in 19 countries.
- Community Engaged Fellowship. Established in 1989, the Fellowship recruits incoming freshmen who excel in service and choose engagement as part of their undergraduate experience. Recipients of the scholarship are required to perform 10 hours of service each week during their college careers while serving as role models for other students and promoting Jesuit ideals on campus.
- Service opportunities offered for faculty and staff through the Office of Human Resources, the Center for Mission and Identity, and the Office of the Provost.
In 2013-14, Xavier Students contributed 62,648 hours to community service and service learning engagement (President's Honor Roll) with 5568 students engaged full time in community service and 590 students engaged in at least 20 hours of community service per academic term. Various student service program opportunities that meet on a regular basis throughout the academic year are available through the Center for Faith and Justice, Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, and the Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning. These programs include the Alternative Breaks program, which provides opportunities for students, faculty and staff to participate; group and private reflection is part of the experience.
Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm
Support for faculty in understanding the Ignatian model comes from a variety of sources including:
- The Conway Institute for Jesuit Education, which assists faculty in transforming students intellectually, morally and spiritually in the Jesuit Catholic tradition while appropriating Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality.
- Administered by the Center for Mission and Identity, Educating for Justice, a gift-supported opportunity for faculty to integrate the promotion of social justice and service into the curriculum through direct student contact with the marginalized, has funded 13 faculty projects involving students and community partners since its inception in 2009, including nine initiatives during 2012-2013.
- Now in its seventh year, the Academy for Community-Engaged Faculty has previously supported Xavier faculty making a significant revision to a chosen course or in creating a new course incorporating principles and practices of community engagement. Engaged courses foster a learning environment that brings faculty, students and community members together and connects academic and community knowledge and resources. Such partnerships develop the capacity of University and community participants to learn, serve and lead together. Sample classes include ECON 390, Economics of Poverty, and COMM 479, a service-learning capstone course for senior public relations students.
- The COIL: Collaborative Online International Learning Faculty Fellow Program provides faculty the opportunity to capitalize on our international Jesuit network by partnering with a faculty in another country. COIL courses feature a module where students from two different countries collaboratively engage with each other in meaningful conversation or projects in order to foster intercultural communication, learning and understanding. The COIL Faculty Fellows Program is overseen by the Center for International Education in collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence, Instructional Design, Information Technologies, the Center for Mission and Identity, and the CORE Curriculum Committee.
Experiences for students include:
- Brueggeman Fellows Program-Fellows have traveled to Africa, South America, Europe and Asia.
- In 2013-2014, 2,741 students took one of 50+ service-learning courses offered by faculty during the academic year.
- All Occupational Therapy majors complete a domestic or international service-learning course as part of their major.
- A variety of regular service programs are offered through the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice, including the Summer Service Internship, a 10-week summer immersion where students work full time in community agencies that address homelessness, hunger, immigration, health, disabilities and community development. The program educates students through service and reflection on social justice issues.
- The Nursing program is directly involved with local hospitals and medical centers.
- The Department of Education has strong ties with local public, private and Catholic schools.
- Xavier's Montessori Institute and Lab School is internationally known with teacher preparation programs throughout the United States, South Korea and China.
- Through its Center for International Education, Xavier incorporates reflection as a major component of its study abroad programs such as the Academic Service Learning Semesters.
Community engagement and outreach are hallmarks of the University. For example:
- The Community Building Institute, a partnership between Xavier and United Way since 1995, has worked successfully in many different communities throughout Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana. It maintains an ongoing collaborative relationship with the neighborhoods of Evanston and Norwood, most recently sharing an Americorps Public Ally that works on housing and neighborhood development strategies. CBI helps communities organize their own redevelopment by tapping into the passion of their residents and identifying the physical assets of their neighborhoods. The goal of CBI is to develop a coordinated plan of improvement that incorporates all the major elements a community needs to thrive: housing, schools, health care, transportation, jobs and business. See a list of past projects including EVANSTON NOW!, Strive, Hamilton County Clusters, The Do Right Campaign, Northside Land Use Plan, Lower Price Hill Health and Safety Action Plan, STRIVE Community Engagement Report and Cincinnati Public Schools Community Learning Centers.
- The Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning encourages faculty, students, administrators and staff to partner with those beyond the University to promote student learning and community well-being. It is the hub for this learning network and enables all involved to discover the mutual benefits of community engagement. Now in its eighth year, the Academy also supports full-time faculty in revising or creating a course that incorporates principles and practices of community-engaged learning. The Spring 2016 Faculty Academy Cohort is being held in recognition and celebration of Pope Francis' declaration of the Jubilee, or Holy Year of Mercy, and its goal of engaging community partners to meet the needs of those sick, marginalized or incarcerated.
- The Center for Catholic Education offers a professional development program for Catholic educators in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky that involves a yearlong series of workshops around a topic that enhances teaching in schools.
- The Department of Health Services Administration has a long-term collaboration with the Cincinnati Health Department to improve the health of the community. Student projects have included Neighborhood Mortality Database Health and Mortality Data in Cincinnati Neighborhoods, asthma care in children, Improving Asthma Care: Identifying Barriers to Asthma Control in Cincinnati Public School Children, Dental Care in Cincinnati, Food Safety Study, and designing systems for meaningful use of electronic medical records data.
- As part of a Health Services Administration capstone course, students take part in a philanthropic semester-long experience to learn the art of grant writing, as well as the challenges of making funding decisions. The program awards $4,000 each year as part of this project. Students are organized into groups to identify health and social needs in the Cincinnati community and look for charitable organizations focused on the following groups: the medically underserved, aging, children, developmental disabilities and mental health. Since 2008, the program has awarded 12 organizations over $24,000.
- Xavier's Community Service Jobs Program is an ongoing partnership with Federal Work Study. Coordinated out of the Office of Career Development, this program engages 25 service sites in neighborhoods surrounding campus, providing them with a paid Work Study student. More than 40 students contributed over 20 hours or more of impactful service totaling over 6,000 hours in 2012-2013.
- MuskieTigers and UpSwing Buddies (formerly ZooMates) are two long-standing mentoring programs that respectively target high-school students from refugee families and elementary students experiencing homelessness. Student-led groups provide tutoring and mentoring while exposing the students to the idea of college.
- Xavier Urban Farm, emphasizing sustainability through food production, makes fresh vegetables and produce available to the community at reasonable cost.
- Outdoor playing areas are made available for use by the community through the University's Recreational Sports department.
- Campus Police is available to support and assist local municipal police.
- Accountancy majors and faculty assist neighborhood residents each year with filing their income tax forms, especially elderly and lower-income residents.
- Establishing the University Station complex involved developing University property to offer residential and commercial opportunities to the community.
In 2011, Xavier received a commendation for commitment to community service and engagement by the Higher Learning Commission, the University's accrediting body.
In 2009, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an independent policy and research center at Stanford, recognized Xavier specifically for its success in both Curricular Engagement, and Outreach and Partnerships. Xavier was among 10 institutions in Ohio and 149 nationwide to be honored by the foundation. "The requirements, when met, describe an institution deeply engaged with its community," the Carnegie Foundation report stated. That same year Xavier was named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its various outreach programs.