Conceptualizing Jesuit Mission, University/Community Partnerships, and Social Work Research: The REACH Center at Saint Louis University

Main Article Content

Stephen Edward McMillin


Faith-based mission, Jesuit, Society of Jesus, university/community partnership, social work research, social innovation


This article conceptualizes the mission of a Catholic, Jesuit University’s new research center that focused on social innovation, health, and wellbeing in the local community through building new community partnerships and broadening community engagement. It reviews the literature on why faith-based university mission has been considered important for Jesuit institutions over the past several decades. This article also offers a conceptual framework to guide how the REACH (Research on Equity in Action for Child Health) Center at Saint Louis University creates and maintains university/community partnerships, focusing on the movement of context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation as these are used in Jesuit pedagogy. Implications for social work research endeavors in faith-and mission-rich contexts and collaborations with other disciplines such as public health are discussed.

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