Archive for the 'Catholic/Christian Faith' Category

Getting to Know Janet Cleary

image1Ms. Janet Cleary is the Field Placement Coordinator here in the College. This spring semester, we’ve been interviewing our faculty and staff to learn more about them— get to know Janet today!

Tell us about yourself! Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in Milwaukee? 

I am from Schenectady, New York, and attended undergraduate school at Cornell University. My degree is in Nutritional Sciences. I moved to Milwaukee in 1977 to work for the Milwaukee Public Schools! My employment at MPS was in two departments: School Nutrition (my undergrad major is Nutritional Sciences), and Human Resources (I earned my MS in Industrial and Labor Relations at UW-M).

It sounds like MPS has really been a big part of your life!

While I am not an educator, all my professional work experience prior to Marquette COED was in the K-12 educational setting. While at MPS, I enjoyed visiting schools and seeing the impact my job had on the student’s success in the classroom.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I retired from MPS in June 2013, with the intention of being “retired.” Little did I know that this would only last one semester! In January, 2014 I came to Marquette, and have never looked back! I have now been here for 4+ years, and I LOVE Marquette! After the public school setting, where I was required to be  “secular,” I am now able to attend religious services on campus, and am supported in my faith journey by the Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

We’re glad to hear that you’re enjoying your time here at Marquette! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I am very excited that we have found a few new schools with which to partner for student teaching/field placements next school year! I am also excited that each year we have a few more grads as cooperating teachers. They understand the rigor of the coursework, and the importance of an exceptional field/student teaching experience.

We’ve heard quite a bit about Janet the Field Placement Coordinator, but we would also like to know about what you do when you are outside of the office!

I love to bake and cook and enjoy hosting friends at my home. I also enjoy reading and have recently been binge watching British TV series—Victoria, the Crown, Call the Midwife…. a guilty pleasure of mine is watching the Real Housewives of New York.

Those hobbies must mean a lot to you! Can you tell us more about how their impact?

I love to nurture friendships, and feeding people is such a good way to let others know I care about them. I used to prepare food for and serve at the St. Ben’s Meal Program. That was a great way to put my desire to serve and care for the other into action.

That’s amazing! Do you have any advice for readers who are interested in doing similar hobbies?

I would encourage readers to explore their own interests, and sometimes there is an intersection between our interests and a need in the community.  If I hadn’t come to Marquette, one of the volunteer activities on my retirement list was working in a literacy program.

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate program that Janet helps out with by visiting us online!


Getting to Know Dr. Mary Carlson

The Graduation Doris 20160522_115635College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Dr. Mary Carlson is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Educational and Policy Leadership (EDPL) in the College. We interviewed Dr. Carlson so that our students can learn more about her!

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in Milwaukee?

I grew up in West Bend, WI. I went to UWM for my undergrad and grad degrees, returned to West Bend to teach, then moved to Milwaukee about 35 years ago.

Teaching is something that is very dear to you. What is your favorite educational experience?

It’s a tie between dissecting cow eyes with high schoolers and teaching children to read.

Sounds like you’ve had some exciting past experiences! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year

The first exciting opportunity would be working with Amy Van Hecke from the Psychology department and Wendy Krueger from the Speech/Language Pathology department to develop a college support program for MU students on the autism spectrum. The second exciting opportunity would be working with those same faculty and Dr. Walker-Dalhouse from the Education department to offer the MUSCLES summer literacy and social skills camp for 6-10 year-olds with autism (pending funding, and God willing).

Those do sound like really exciting opportunities! Who is the inspiration for your passion?

My first-grade teacher, Sr. Marianella, several high school teachers, St. Brigid of Ireland, St. Catherine of Sienna, Blessed Julian of Norwich, Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, Jane Addams, Ignacio-Martin-Baro (one of the Jesuit martyrs), Paulo Feire, Mary Ainsworth, Albert Bandura, Sister Monica Fumo and Susan Henzig, Rueben and Mildred Harpole, Shirley Chisholm, Verdia Moore (my first co-op in college), Jaime Escalante, Jonathan Kozol, many of my college professors, the humanists, my family, my students, and my colleagues.

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate and graduate programs by visiting us online!

Getting to Know Dr. Jeffrey LaBelle



Dr. LaBelle enjoying his spring break in Maine as he visits his sister and brother-in-law.

The College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Dr. Jeffrey LaBelle, S.J., is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Educational and Policy Leadership (EDPL). In order to get to know him a little better, we sat down to chat.

Tell us about yourself! Where did you grow up?

I was born in Detroit, Michigan, but (moving with my family at age four) grew up mainly in Phoenix, Arizona, where I attended Catholic elementary and high schools. After graduation, I studied at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California, where I had a fantastic undergraduate education in the bilingual Elbert Covell College, from which I graduated in 1976 with majors in Spanish and ESL, with a single-subject teaching credential.

It sounds like you’ve been to many places! How long have you been in Milwaukee?

I’ve lived in Milwaukee since 2007, except for last fall semester when I was on sabbatical in San Francisco.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

Back in 2007, I was motivated to accept a position in Marquette’s College of Education because of the warm welcome of the people here, the fine faculty and staff, as well as the enthusiastic preservice teachers. Our mission to serve urban education and to teach for social justice fits my personal philosophy quite well.

I’m glad that our mission fits well with you! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

Currently, I look forward to another opportunity this year to teach and share the coordination of a faculty-led summer abroad program in Peru, “Education in the Americas.” I enjoy returning to Peru where I taught high school for three years in the mid-80s.

What do you like to do when you are outside of the classroom?

Outside of teaching in the College of Education, I enjoy reading popular fiction, listening to classical music, and solving New York Times crossword puzzles, especially the Sunday one.

Currently I am reading the last of 26 novels by Donna Leon from her bestseller Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries. I got hooked on these during my sabbatical in San Francisco when a few Jesuit friends recommended her writing. Working the crossword puzzles helps keep my mind sharpened, especially on Sunday mornings when I enjoy waking up a little more slowly (unless I have an early mass that day).

I suppose that words, language, and literature have always been and will always continue to be a large part of my life. Beyond that, what motivates me most is my love of God, my love for humanity, and my love for nature. I enjoy taking walks outdoors, especially in natural settings, no matter where I am.

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate and graduate programs by visiting us online!

Incorporating Multiculturalism in the Classroom around the Holidays

xmas treeBy Nick Rocha – Teaching during the winter months can often inspire teachers to integrate Christmas symbols and topics into their classroom activities. The holiday season is a wonderful time to reflect on the previous year, spend time with friends and family, and show compassion to the less fortunate. But integrating Christmas traditions and practices into the curriculum can alienate students who do not share a similar faith or cannot afford presents under the tree. How can teachers instill the fundamental principles of Christmas, such as compassion and generosity, without isolating students?

The Christmas season and consumerism has been deeply connected. Many companies and industries advertise holiday deals and reinforce the idea that Christmas gifts should be something physical and material in nature. Telling students that they will be rewarded with physical goods for being “good” around Christmas time also reinforces that idea. Asking students specifically what they want for Christmas can bring about disappointment if their families cannot afford presents for the holidays.

According to the Child Defense Fund, more than one out of five children live in poverty, and the proportion increases to one out of four for children below the age of six. One method that teachers can utilize in the classroom is to ask students about what they are grateful for and focus on giving instead of receiving. This allows students to reflect and to appreciate the goodness that is around them without feeling disappointed or feel like they are in a contest with their peers.

The Christmas season can also bring about ethnocentrism. “The intensity of the Christmas curriculum in non-religiously affiliated schools and centers isolates children of minority faiths, while contributing to the development of ethnocentrism in majority children” (Schlachter, 1986). Highlighting Christmas traditions and symbols without highlighting other religious practices and holidays can advocate Christianity as superior over other religions. Teachers should appreciate multiculturalism and note that some students do not celebrate Christmas or have other religious celebrations throughout the year. Educators should allow students to be open about their religion and integrate other religious symbols and festivities (besides Christmas) into the curriculum so that no student feels left out.

Educators need to appreciate multicultural diversity in their classrooms and to take into consideration the socioeconomic status of each student. Christmas is a time to appreciate what we have and to teach students how to be compassionate and generous. Celebrating other religions and allowing students to explore their spirituality will bring about cultural appreciation and a greater understanding of diversity within the classroom.

Grateful for Christmas Blessings

shutterstock_158649422May you rejoice and be glad on this day because a Savior has come to earth.
The greatest miracle of all time has taken place.
The child of God has come to earth in human form.
He has been born not in a castle or in a palace, but in a poor man’s stable.
How humble is our God and so great is His love!

May his blessings shine down upon you
and may you enjoy the merriest of Christmases on this holy and blessed day!


A Prayer for Mid-terms

Prayer-folded-hands-straight-outBy Aubrey Murtha — Hello, students!  Today, I’d like to offer a prayer for all of our test takers out there.  Good luck on midterms.  Just a few more days before you can take some time to enjoy this beautiful autumn season.

Prayer Before a Test

My God, enable me to trust in the good outcome

of the test I am about to take;

help me to contribute my own share

of optimism and confidence.

With your grace, my God,

I hope to crown my efforts with success.

Keep far from me at this moment

any presumption that it all depends

exclusively on me.

You are next to me, my God,

the necessary and welcome presence

in all the moments of my life.

I will take this test, my God,

because it is important

for my personal development.

My God, be the source of my inspiration

in my doubts and uncertainties,

supporting me with your blessing.


Prayer taken from

The Magic of Tuesday Night Mass

By Aubrey Murtha — Every Tuesday night in that little sanctuary sandwiched between oodles of academic buildings, a group of eager Marquette students gathers to sing and pray.



I don’t know if it’s the beautiful simplicity of the setting, the humble way that over a hundred college kids cram—pretzel legged, mind you—onto the stone floor of a tiny chapel, or the force with which every individual sings each and every song, but there is something about that mass that’s completely intoxicating.  You might be thinking that it is strange to use that word to describe worship, but let me assure you of something: prayer can give you a buzz that is far more potent than that of any substance.

I will admit that I am kind of a church freak.  I am not a religious fanatic or a very holy person, although I do aspire to be.

I don’t pray every day.  I make lots of mistakes and my faith seems to come in waves.  However, there is something about a good mass that really gets me.  I like to cozy up with a bunch of strangers, close my eyes, open my heart, and sing loudly and not very well to a bunch of awesome church songs.  Church gives me a solid hour at least once a week to be alone with God, while in the presence of tons of other believers.  Funny how that works!

I think my Tuesday night mass experiences highlight the value of private, Catholic higher education for your typical Catholic college student.  I’ve been in Catholic schools all my life, but I have never felt the powerful effects of prayer as profoundly as I do every Tuesday night at Marquette University.  Never before have I had the opportunity to be around a dynamic group of very involved students who voluntarily choose to attend mass on a week day.  Even though I am an average Catholic, I feel so invigorated every time I leave Joan of Arc at 11:00PM.  The Marquette community and the Catholic, Jesuit atmosphere here force me to foster my faith and push me to take advantage of opportunities to grow in that faith.

Whether or not you are a Catholic, a Christian or a believer of any sort, I would encourage you to try a Tuesday night mass just once.  You may just see what a rewarding experience it is!

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