This week we hear from Dr. Michael R. Lovell, the 24th president of Marquette University. He began his role as president on July 1, 2014 and is a true leader who understands how challenging building momentum can be. As a higher education leader, Mike understands that the investments we make in our young children will help them succeed throughout their careers – whether that be joining the workforce or continuing on to higher education.
Mike not only serves has a co-chair of Milwaukee Succeeds, he also serves on a variety of boards, including the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, BizStarts Milwaukee, the Center for International Health, the Milwaukee Education Partnership, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, The Water Council and Scale Up Milwaukee, and on the executive committee of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. In other words, Mike walks the talk of engaging as a leader in the issues that matter to our City!
Take it away Mike!
See you soon,
Danae Davis | Executive Director
101 W. Pleasant St., Suite 210, Milwaukee, WI 53212
Q1: Five years in, what are you most proud of with Milwaukee Succeeds?
Mike: From the beginning, Milwaukee Succeeds has benefitted from having outstanding individual and organizational partners. There were and continues to be many, many excellent people involved. Everyone brought insights of best ways to proceed, and so we spent significant time learning from each other and from our community. Now, five years later, we’re aligned toward meaningful objectives and the metrics we’ve developed are showing positive results. I’m most proud of how we worked together to successfully position ourselves to go forward.
Q2: Was there a moment in a meeting or reviewing milestone reports that you realized Milwaukee Succeeds was making a difference?
Mike: Yes, and it’s an example of what I mentioned earlier: that we have many, many excellent people involved. Within the last year, we had a Leadership Council meeting and were listening to working groups reporting out the progress they were making. One group did a presentation about third-grade reading skills and the actual metrics of three or four schools with which they were working directly. It was amazing! There were substantial improvements in reading proficiency for these young people. To me that was a big turning point. It clearly showed we were both making progress and demonstrating that Milwaukee Succeeds was ready to scale up operations.
Q3: Your hopes for the future; if you could really see how this scales up what would your hopes be?
Mike: Scaling up Milwaukee Succeeds is nothing more – and nothing less – than achieving our organization’s ambitious vision: Success for every child, in every school, cradle to career. We have shown that we can significantly impact students with our work, and now it’s a matter of more. Critical for that future will be getting the resources we need to scale up. We’ve shown we can help dozens of students. Now let’s do more for thousands of students!
Q4: When you’re in the community or talking to people what is the one thing that we need from the broader community to scale up?
Mike: I think there are two equally important elements. The first is we need people and especially people dedicated to front-line positions like tutors. The second is resources. It’s going to take tens of millions of dollars to succeed. Within our Milwaukee Succeeds community we have a big part to play in gathering resources. We must be really creative to find unique and innovative ways to generate those funds. Whether through partnerships with corporations and foundations or through collaborations we haven’t thought of yet, we really have to demonstrate to everyone that there will be a significant return on this investment in their community’s future.
Q5: Have you read something lately that if you wanted to have a virtual book club something that inspires you, or if you could make a recommendation for someone to read a book this summer around education reform?
Mike: Real life can be a little like that episode of Seinfeld where George isn’t able to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s for his book club and tries to watch the movie instead. So my two book suggestions—Beyond Measure and Most Likely to Succeed—also come with the option to watch the film versions. Both documentaries show the direction in which education needs to move: less lecturing and more hands-on learning. These ideas are increasingly finding their way into what we do at Marquette and they’re very adaptable to K-12, too.