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Mission and Ministry Launches Mission Ambassador Program for Faculty and Staff

St. Vincent with poor at table
Beginning this month, the Division of Mission and Ministry is launching an initiative that recognizes the vital role of faculty and staff in integrating and sustaining DePaul's Vincentian mission in the day-to-day life and work of the university, called the Mission Ambassadors.  
2018 cohort of the Vincentian Mission Institute
The 2018 cohort of the Vincentian Mission Institute proposed the idea of creating the Mission Ambassadors Program. (Image courtesy of Maria Toscano)

The idea for the Mission Ambassadors emerged from the work of the 2018 cohort of the Vincentian Mission Institute program, which looked for ways to ensure the future of strong lay leadership for DePaul's Vincentian mission. The program builds on the model and vision of “distributed leadership for mission" that has inspired and shaped the work of the Faculty and Staff Engagement team in Mission and Ministry since its inception in 2018. The vision is to continue to foster a community of mission leaders who are interested in ongoing learning and mutual support. 

 “We thought the Mission Ambassadors would be a good way to bring individuals together throughout the university who have studied the mission and actively implemented it into their work. As Mission Ambassadors, their role would be to help more deeply institutionalize and integrate the Vincentian mission in ways that are sustainable and impactful," says Dorothy Kozlowski, professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience, who was a member of the Vincentian Mission Institute cohort involved in the foundational development of the program.  

Mission Ambassadors will focus on mission integration. That is, ensuring the Vincentian mission of DePaul informs, inspires and guides everyday decisions and actions across the institution in significant, concrete and sustainable ways. The hope is that the Mission Ambassadors will grow into a supportive and collegial community of faculty and staff who demonstrate a deep understanding and commitment to DePaul's mission. Together, they will learn how best to serve as agents for DePaul's mission in their daily work. Mission Ambassadors will serve as “on the ground" champions for the integration of mission into a variety of settings, academic disciplines and lines of work - all in the service of students, colleagues, the surrounding community and broader society.   

“We recognize that the long term sustainability of DePaul's mission is ultimately about what happens on the ground each day, primarily through the work of DePaul's faculty and staff," says Siobhan O'Donoghue, director for Faculty and Staff Engagement in Mission and Ministry. “That might be teaching in classrooms or online, supporting student success both academically and out of the classroom as they prepare for their future life and career. It also can mean putting learning and research in the service of the larger human community and world, or providing the back-office support needed for DePaul to thrive. Our Vincentian mission will only be sustained if it is integrated authentically into the everyday life and work of the institution in concrete action."

In order to become a Mission Ambassador, faculty and staff should first submit a statement of intent, describing past learning, participation and contributions to enact DePaul's mission. After the initial registration, the Faculty and Staff Engagement Team will follow-up and work with individuals regarding what additional mission-based formation would help them on their journey to becoming a Mission Ambassador.  

“As we launch this initiative, we know there are a whole host of staff and faculty with a strong record of participation and learning in support of DePaul's mission," says Mark Laboe, associate vice president for Mission and Ministry. “We want to honor that fact, while also ensuring that the new Mission Ambassadors have a clear understanding of the deep roots and breadth of DePaul's Vincentian heritage and mission. We want them to be prepared to translate it and apply it in meaningful ways in today's context. Sometimes, people may understand the current day application without knowing the historical and spiritual roots of the mission. We would like Mission Ambassadors to be well-rounded agents of DePaul's mission."

Those who are interested in learning more about the Mission Ambassadors program or have further questions may contact any member of the Faculty and Staff Engagement team in Mission and Ministry.