Frequently Asked Questions

How important is diversity and inclusion to Marquette?

“A culture of inclusion” is one of the six main themes of the university’s strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries. The strategic plan is a road map for the university’s long-term future, and the prominence given to diversity and inclusion within this plan shows a university-wide commitment to being an open and welcoming place for all. Objectives include the following:

  1. Attract, retain and graduate a diverse and inclusive community of students.
  2. Attract and retain a diverse and inclusive community of faculty and staff committed to our mission.
  3. Enhance opportunities for diverse and inclusive learning and scholarship.
  4. Foster a community culture that values, respects, welcomes, and promotes a sense of belonging.
  5. Engage diverse communities beyond the boundaries of our campus.

We’re already seeing results. Of the first-year student class for the 2016-17 academic year, 30 percent were students of color.

We’ve conducted a campus-wide climate study to measure aspects of diversity and inclusiveness on Marquette's campus and create action steps based on its findings.

Our Center for Engagement and Inclusion is a resource dedicated to enhancing the overall quality of the Marquette experience of underrepresented diverse students by supporting, facilitating, and promoting academic, social, cultural, and personal success. The Center provides supplemental resources to support student development and growth in the areas of leadership education and training, social justice education, student advocacy, retention and mentoring programs, community outreach, and diversity celebration.

We’ve encouraged dialogue among all of our students to better understand the ongoing national conversation about diversity and inclusion. That includes the Marquette Forum, Freedom Dreams Now, a yearlong series of conversations inspired by visions of inclusion and a better world emerging from Black freedom struggles.

Our campus leaders are engaged in issues of racial justice, both in Milwaukee and nationally.

The President's Commission on Racial Equity serves as a locus of discussion on equity, diversity, and inclusion that will better inform ongoing planning.

Marquette has a wide variety of courses and academic programs related to the study of diverse cultures. Marquette supports faculty grant programs which include the Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr. Chair, grants for diverse curricular development, and the Excellence in Diversity Grants.

Marquette has several student organizations, such as the Latin American Student Organization, the Black Student Council, the Native American Student Association, multicultural Greek organizations, and academic-based affinity groups that provide support and community for a broad range of diverse students.

We’ve made progress as an institution, but we have much more work to do. Toward that end, we’ve set ambitious and specific goals related to recruiting students and faculty from diverse backgrounds.

How does Marquette support a student who feels threatened or discriminated against?

An emergency situation can be reported to the Marquette University Police Department at (414) 288-1911.

Marquette’s bias incident reporting system allows members of our campus community to report any discriminatory or hurtful act that appears to be motivated or is perceived by the victim or victims to be motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, sex, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran or socioeconomic status.

A student who believes they have experienced gender discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct or a related incident can file a report with Marquette’s Title IX office. The university offers other avenues for grievances as well.

What is the campus environment like for women?

In 1909, Marquette became the first Catholic institution of higher education to admit both men and women into our core academic program. Today, women make up more than half of our undergraduate enrollment. However, we recognize that there are some academic programs where women are underrepresented, and we are working to encourage more women to enroll in those programs.

In accordance with Title IX, and consistent with Marquette’s commitment to human dignity, any type of sexual discrimination is taken seriously and is investigated by the university.

Does Marquette’s Catholic and Jesuit identity affect how the university treats students who are members of the LGBTQ-plus community?

Yes, our Catholic and Jesuit identity calls us to be open and welcoming to all. Marquette’s Statement on Human Dignity and Diversity includes the following: “As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Marquette recognizes and cherishes the dignity of each individual regardless of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability or social class. Precisely because Catholicism at its best seeks to be inclusive, we are open to all who share our mission and seek the truth about God and the world.”

Marquette’s LGBTQ+ resource center provides direct support to these students. 

What are Marquette’s goals for minority student recruitment?

Marquette’s goals include increasing African-American undergraduate student enrollment by 50 percent and nearly doubling our graduate student enrollment by 2021.

Marquette also has established a goal of meeting the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria for designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution. This is a federal designation that requires an institution of higher education to fill a number of criteria, which includes having Hispanic students comprise at least 25 percent of its full-time undergraduate students. The university is exploring goals for other underrepresented groups as well.

Why is the HSI designation important to Marquette?

Since 2000, 100 percent of the net growth in K-12 school enrollment in our area is due to the growth in the Latinx community.

Serving this population is something that connects to the heart of Marquette’s mission as an institution. We have a history of, and commitment to, serving first-generation college students, as providing an education for immigrant families was one of the chief reasons Bishop John Martin Henni founded a Catholic college in Milwaukee. Serving the Hispanic population better will help us fulfill that part of our mission.

Marquette’s Guiding Values also call us to nurture an inclusive, diverse community that fosters new opportunities, partnerships, collaboration and vigorous yet respectful debate.

What benefits come with becoming an HSI and diversifying our campus in other ways?

Diversity on campus makes us better and stronger. It allows us to be innovative and creative. The more ideas and perspectives we can bring to campus, the better poised we are to solve the complex problems of living in a globally interconnected society.

Additionally, employers seek employees who have intercultural and teamwork skills, global knowledge and experience with social responsibility. A 2008 study conducted by the Association for American Colleges and Universities reported that 46 percent of employers felt that students were not well prepared in the area of global knowledge and only 38 percent of employers found that students were well prepared in intercultural skills. Marquette students will be better prepared in these essential areas through our increased diversity.

Once we achieve this goal, Marquette will be eligible for Title V federal funds. Although increased federal funding is not the reason we decided to pursue this goal, these funds foster the general development of the university and can be used for a wide range of things to benefit all students, including educational materials, improved facilities, faculty development, tutoring or counseling programs, and other student support services.

How will Marquette achieve this goal of becoming an HSI?

The university has already made some intentional changes to pave the way for becoming an HSI, including hiring additional Spanish-speakers in the admissions and financial aid offices, and taking a critical look at recruitment practices.

In addition, a steering committee has been convened to explore current practices and determine needs in a variety of areas, including but not limited to community outreach, pre-college programs, recruitment, retention, support services, school climate, curricular offerings, hiring practices and alumni engagement. If you would like to contribute to this effort or have questions, please contact Jacki Black, Associate Director for Hispanic initiatives.

Do Marquette’s efforts to recruit Hispanic students come at the expense of recruiting students from other backgrounds?

No. Marquette is equally committed to recruiting students from all backgrounds. Beyond that, an added benefit of achieving the Hispanic Serving Institution designation would give Marquette access to additional federal funding that will benefit all of our students, not just Hispanic students.

Does the university have, or is it considering, quotas for minority students?

No. While the university is increasing its efforts to recruit students from diverse backgrounds, any student who applies to Marquette is subject to equal acceptance standards. And while the university does have specific goals related to recruiting students from diverse backgrounds, it also has a goal of increasing its overall enrollment. We want to make it possible for any qualified student to attend Marquette.

Is Marquette recruiting more faculty of color?

Yes. As part of our strategic plan, we’ve identified the ways in which we’ll attract and retain a diverse community of faculty and staff. We formed an Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion in fall 2015. We’re broadening our applicant pools by requiring a diversity component in all hiring plans, and ensuring that all of our hiring units across the university are provided with information regarding strategies for diverse hiring practices. We’ve added annual faculty and staff awards related to diversity efforts. Between 2018-2020 we brought on 21 faculty to teach in our Race, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies (REIS) program through cluster hiring. And we’re adding support for career development for faculty from underrepresented backgrounds.

In 2002, Marquette established the Arnold L. Mitchem Dissertation Fellowship Program, intended to increase the presence of underrepresented ethnic groups by supporting doctoral candidates in completing their final academic requirement, the dissertation. The Mitchem Fellowship Program is especially interested in receiving applications from individuals whose research focuses on African American, Latino/a, or First Nations/Native American Studies.

Many higher education institutions across the country have this as a focus right now. As an institution, our broader aim is to create an environment where more of our students of color see pursuing a Ph.D, and becoming a professor, as a desirable and achievable career path.

What scholarships, programs and partnerships does Marquette have to help students from diverse backgrounds?

Responding to the concerns of our students at a time of great social unrest, Marquette established the Educational Opportunity Program in 1969. Today, this pioneering academic program motivates and enables low-income and first-generation students, whose parents do not have a baccalaureate degree, to enter and succeed in higher education. EOP helps those students in several ways.

In 2006, Marquette introduced the Urban Scholars program, which offers up to 10 annual, full-tuition renewable scholarships to economically disadvantaged students. Rooted in Marquette's tradition of increasing access to higher education, the scholarship program renews our emphasis on being inclusive and modeling a more diverse community.

An endowed scholarship named for Marquette’s first Native American alumnus, Dr. Josiah A. Powless, supports the recruitment and retention of Native American and under-represented minority students at Marquette.

Through a partnership with the United Community Center, qualified students at Milwaukee’s Bruce-Guadalupe Community School will be guaranteed enrollment in Marquette University’s Opus College of Engineering contingent on their academic success in high school.

Marquette supported the founding of Milwaukee’s Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and has a continuing partnership with the school. Marquette also supports the Nativity Jesuit Academy.

The Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J. Dreamers Scholarship offers additional scholarship money to high-achieving, high-need undocumented students. This scholarship has been funded by a truly grassroots effort started and continued by students and staff.

The Goizueta Foundation Scholars Fund provides need-based scholarships at Marquette, which are used as annual scholarship assistance to Marquette Hispanic/Latino students whose families reside in the United States.

Both the Opus Scholars Award and the Herdrich Scholarship Program recognize a combination of outstanding academic achievement, as well as significant need for incoming engineering freshmen who are of the first generation in their family to attend college. The awards are based on academic merit and demonstrated financial need.

Project BEYOND-2 seeks to encourage students from diverse groups to pursue a rewarding career in professional nursing. Scholarship money is available along with student programming.

See a listing of other programs devoted to promoting the success of underrepresented students.

Are undocumented students welcome at Marquette?

Yes. We currently have undocumented students attending Marquette, and we encourage prospective students who are undocumented to apply. See our undocumented student resources.

In November 2016, university presidents in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, including Marquette president Michael R. Lovell, signed a statement in support of undocumented students.

It says, in part: “Grounded in our Catholic and Jesuit mission, we are guided by our commitment to uphold the dignity of every person, to work for the common good of our nation, and to promote a living faith that works for justice. We see our work of teaching, scholarship and the formation of minds and spirits as a sacred trust."

That trust prompts us to labor for solidarity among all people, and especially with and for the poor and marginalized of our society. That trust calls us to embrace the entire human family, regardless of their immigration status or religious allegiance. And experience has shown us that our communities are immeasurably enriched by the presence, intelligence, and committed contributions of undocumented students, as well as of faculty and staff of every color and from every faith tradition.”

We know these students face unique challenges, both financial and personal. They receive support through Marquette’s Center for Intercultural Engagement, which meets regularly with undocumented students and has a Dreamer’s Discussion Group that meets monthly. The CIE has worked with some of our undocumented students who have faced major financial obstacles, including some students who have struggled to meet basic needs such as access to food.

Of the approximately 80,000 or so undocumented students who turn 18 each year, only about 10 percent will enroll in a postsecondary institution and far fewer are expected to graduate with a four-year degree, making undocumented youth one of the most vulnerable populations served by U.S. schools. As a Jesuit institution, helping these students obtain an education is central to our mission to strive for a more just world, one in which every person is afforded the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.

No federal law prohibits colleges and universities from offering admission to undocumented students. Although these students are not eligible for federal financial aid, they are eligible to apply for and receive aid and scholarships through the university or from private sources.

Undocumented students are able to apply regularly through the Marquette application. The MU application has an option for undocumented students to select “other” and list their citizenship status and place of birth. Marquette University has supported undocumented students by encouraging applicants and providing links to resources.

What is the landscape like for transgender students on campus?

Providing an inclusive environment for all of our students is essential to who we are as an institution. Marquette has been around since 1881, and its mission and policies are constantly evolving. But one thing that hasn’t ever changed is our commitment to upholding the inherent dignity of every person.

In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued guidelines to educational institutions across the country with very specific details regarding how these institutions are expected to treat transgender students. In these guidelines, it is made clear that any educational institution that receives any federal funding is required to treat students according to the gender they identify with, regardless of their biological gender.

Marquette's LGBTQ+ Resource Center, opened in 2015, provides additional support and programming. 

How does Marquette support students with disabilities?

The Office of Disability Services works with students and student employees to determine modifications that may be necessary to provide access to Marquette’s programs. In accordance with Marquette’s Statement on Human Dignity and Diversity, our campus community recognizes the benefits of a diverse student population which includes a variety of physical, medical and mental health experiences. To that end, the Office of Disability Services serves as one of the many advocacy resources for students with disabilities’ inclusion across campus.

How are international students supported on Marquette’s campus?

Marquette’s Office of International Education offers extensive support for our international students. Marquette hosts more than 300 student organizations, including several cultural student organizations such as the Arab Students Association, Club Global and Indian Student Association.

How is Marquette engaged with the Milwaukee community?

Community engagement and social responsibility is another theme of the university’s strategic plan. The university’s Office of Community Engagement serves as the central clearinghouse for community engagement activities, with a focus on community research partnerships.

In 2016, Marquette was one of only five schools across the nation selected to receive the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.

We were selected based on our work in the Near West Side Partners initiative and several other partnerships that address issues of public concern. We’re very proud of this distinction, because it’s aligned so directly with our mission as a university to make a significant impact in our community.

The Near West Side Partners initiative includes Marquette and four other major Milwaukee institutions – Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corp. -- which have a major presence in our area. The goal is to revitalize and sustain the neighborhoods around us.

That is just one way in which Marquette is engaged in Milwaukee. In 2014-15, a total of 7,908 undergraduate and graduate students did 553,398 service hours, or about 70 hours each, working in the community. The university’s Service Learning Program connects approximately 1,200-1,300 students to more than 110 community organizations and nonprofits each semester.

We believe 100 percent in the future of Milwaukee, and want to do everything we can to ensure that the city’s future is bright for everyone that lives here.