Sociological, Ethical Issues of Food Production Topic of New Course
Alma College has been awarded $8,000 to teach a course on the
sociological, ethical and theological issues of food production and
distribution. The class will be taught in partnership with Chicago’s
McCormick Theological Seminary and several Presbyterian churches.
Alma is one of five Presbyterian-related colleges to receive funds from a grant from the Lilly Endowment that was developed through collaboration between the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities (APCU) and one of its member institutions, Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. The grant specifies that teams of college and seminary faculty, administrators, ministers, youth educators and parishioners work together to design a project that addresses a particular issue of pluralism and globalization from a Christian perspective.
APCU is an independent, not-for-profit organization that exists to strengthen the mission of colleges and universities related to the Presbyterian Church (USA).
“The APCU grant allows us to develop a new academic course which expands opportunities for our students,” says Carol Gregg, Alma College Chaplain. “In addition, it enables us to strengthen our relationship with McCormick Theological Seminary.”
Gregg says that McCormick Theological Seminary is an ideal partner for the project since it is the closest of the 10 Presbyterian seminaries in the United States. Alma College also has a personal connection with the school as President Tracy is on McCormick’s Board of Trustees.
Alma and McCormick have proposed to develop a several-week, intensive course taught simultaneously at the respective institutions during May 2009 that explores the complexities of food production and distribution from a variety of perspectives.
According to the project grant application, food production and distribution is a universal issue, given that food is shipped across the world, food aid is provided by international agencies, and societal structures and farming are affected by subsidies and international influences appropriate to food and hunger. It also is a theological issue as Christians are called to serve others and feed the hungry.
The course will include visits to the partner location with a service-learning component so that class members may gain a better understanding of issues regarding hunger and food in rural and urban environments as well as their roles as active, faithful citizens.
After participating in the college or seminary course, the congregational partners will be equipped to create a similar course curriculum appropriate for adult education classes in local congregations, thus benefiting a larger community extended beyond the schools and students.
Religious Studies Assistant Professor Kate Blanchard and Sociology Associate Professor Catherine Fobes will team up to teach the course at Alma College.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by members of the Lilly family. In keeping with the wishes of these founders, Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment affords special emphasis to projects that benefit young people and promote leadership education and financial self-sufficiency in the nonprofit, charitable sector.
Posted: Wed, August 1st, 2007 at 8:42AM