As a Jesuit university, there is a strong focus on community service at Marquette. Service is one of the four pillars in the university's mission statement. It also holds an important place in the Jesuit credos of cura personalis ("care for the whole person") and "women and men for others." Each year Marquette students perform about 189,000 hours of service to the Milwaukee community. The Service Learning Program, which began in 1994, is housed within the Office of the Provost as part of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and coordinates community-based learning experiences within courses across the curriculum.
Service learning is a type of experiential learning that engages students in service within the community as an integrated aspect of a course. Students participate in an organized service activity and reflect on that activity to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility. Within service learning, classroom studies complement service within the community and enable students to reflect upon and address local and national social problems. Service learning engages students in active, collaborative, and inquiry-based learning experiences that meet identified community needs. Service learning classes are offered in many departments and demonstrate the creative expertise of faculty committed to extending disciplinary work into local communities. Service learning not only changes the way students learn, but it changes society's view of education and service. In this sense, service learning is a philosophy of education and service to the community. Agencies and schools in the community benefit from the services provided by the students and become partners in their education as well. Service learning classes are offered in many departments and demonstrate the creative expertise of faculty committed to extending disciplinary work into local communities. Currently, approximately 1,200-1,300 students from 55-65 university courses are placed at 100-125 community agencies each semester.