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Our Beloved Alverno Community

Our Beloved Alverno Community

As a Catholic, Franciscan institution, our identity is rooted in values of peace, inclusivity and respect for all of God’s creation. These values have been woven into the fabric of the college since our founding by the School Sisters of St. Francis in 1887.

Not only do these values guide the college’s present work, but they are essential to the sustenance of Alverno’s mission to prepare students to meaningfully engage with the world.

As members of the Alverno community, we are called to find common ground in these Franciscan values and work together to ensure that our beloved community is a place where all are welcome, included, and treated equitably. In our own ways, we are called to share our unique gifts and lead the charge for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Alverno.

What is shared equity leadership?
There are three main components to shared equity leadership:
• Individuals who are building a critical consciousness around diversity, equity and inclusion
• A shared set of values that serve as a foundation for DE&I work
• Practices that everyone carries out
Source: American Council on Education and Pullias Center for Higher Education

How does this work?
Alverno is turning to the 8 Abilities to guide and carry out our diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) work. The Abilities not only provide a lens through which to view our DE&I efforts, but they also provide a toolbox to help carry out this work.

Carrying forth a legacy
Not only does our DE&I work carry forth the legacy of social justice activists, but it also is rooted in the mission and work of the School Sisters of St. Francis. Community outreach to Black communities in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas, as well as the South, grew from providing social services to marching for civil rights and meeting with policy makers. Check out the Alverno Archives for more information on this work, which we carry forth today and into the future.

Who is involved?
This is the work of all, but three campus colleagues in particular are serving as co-directors: Elena Hernandez Burke ’22, coordinator of global exchange programs and Hispanic student initiatives; Alexis Carter ’09, assistant director of admissions; and Ronett Jacobs ’98’21, assistant professor of education.

Further underlining the collaborative nature of the work, we are grateful for the Alverno Strong alums who have formed an advisory panel to share their professional DE&I experience:
• Kristina Bell ’07, Diversity, equity and inclusion program manager, Bullhorn
• Tammy Belton Davis ’93, Chief diversity officer, Milwaukee Repertory Theater; Founder and principal, Athena Communications; Trustee, Alverno College
• Jessica Marie Langoehr Langill ’15, Equity, diversity and inclusion coordinator, Rogers Behavioral Health
• Samantha Maldonado ’09 ’11, Senior manager of diversity and inclusion, Kohl’s; Trustee, Alverno College
• Eva Martinez Powless ’06, Chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Milwaukee Area Technical College

Stay connected and contribute
Follow along with this ongoing work and explore a growing resource collection at alverno.edu/dei.


This article appears in the summer 2022 issue of Alverno Magazine.


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