The Center for Mission and Identity upholds Jesuit values through its programs
By Marty Dubecky, Digital Communications Manager
Behind a wall of windows on the first floor of Justice Hall lies the Center for Mission and Identity, the office responsible for intertwining Jesuit values and the Xavier community.
The Center for Mission and Identity serves as Xavier’s hub for incorporating Jesuit values and Universal Apostolic Preferences into the lives of students, faculty, staff and many others.
The center oversees various programs and publications in order to inform the Xavier community and others of the Jesuit Values and how to put them into action.
“One of the best things about the center is it’s connected to the whole world. Part of our job is to bring people in, connect them into this Jesuit network,” Director of the Center for Mission and Identity Joe Shadle said.
The center promotes Jesuit education primarily through their Manresa orientation for newly-hired faculty and staff. The program is entitled Assuring the Future Mission and Identity of Xavier (AFMIX).
New faculty and staff are invited to either attend an overnight, 24-hour Manresa session or a series of luncheon sessions held on campus.
Much like Manresa for first year students, faculty and staff are encouraged to meet other staff and learn about the values that are central to Xavier. President Colleen Hanycz is included in the staff who has undergone this Manresa experience.
“So when President Hanycz came to Xavier, she said ‘I want to do that as a new employee, ’” Shadle said.
Hanycz’s husband also partook in the AFMIX program with her and the new faculty and staff.
The Center for Mission and Identity also runs an intensive, two-year educational and formational experience for faculty and staff members to learn even more about the values, mission and identity at the core of Xavier. Between 25 and 40 faculty and staff members participate in each cohort.
The program is largely funded by Xavier alumni Phil and Beth Gasiewicz. The majority of the funding for the center is donated by Xavier alumni or members of the Jesuit community.
Part of the Jesuit community is included in the staff of the center. Father Jim McCann serves as the center’s Jesuit scholar.
On the importance of the center and the work they do with faculty and staff, McCann said, “I think that’s what we do. (We) help people with discernment in their lives and support them, help them to articulate their own values.”
McCann further explained how the center’s goal is to incorporate the Jesuit values and Universal Apostolic Preferences into the community of Xavier and the world beyond.
The world beyond is reached through the website jesuitresource.org. The site is run by the student employees working in the center and reaches more than 40,000 people worldwide. It is the most viewed web page on the Xavier domain.
The center creates various publications to inform the community of Xavier’s most important values and the Jesuit values as a whole. The topics range from discussions of racial injustice to ecology and sustainability. Resources are free to view on jesuitresource.org.
“While we do it primarily with the faculty and staff, the work of the center is so that Xavier students have the best, most powerful Xavier experience possible,” Shadle said.
The center has programs that inform faculty and staff members of the Xavier community. The center is also focused on creating a great Xavier experience for the students. Some students work in the center, both creating and editing content for the web page.
As of 2022, the Center for Mission and Identity celebrates its 35 years of existence.