Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jonathan Blanchard and Global Engagement

This is a terrific idea. I'm glad to see this information coming together in advance of a more formal initiative (and in a fairly "democratic" and transparent fashion, promoting horizontal networking and allowing all of us to learn from each other as we go).

I think a quote from Jonathan Blanchard is appropriate. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, he was asked why he chose to locate the College (Institute) in Wheaton. His answer: "Because Wheaton is near Chicago, the gate city between the Atlantic and the Pacific, between Western Europe and Eastern Asia."

Global engagement has been a part of the College since its founding. Implicitly, experiential education has been, as well. If Blanchard meant global engaement only in the classroom or after graduation, he could have founded the College anywhere. We need to be more intentional about weaving this thread into the fabric of the College's current identity.

The governing documents of the College state that the "stable and enduring identity" of the College are captured by its mission to build the church and improve society worldwide through excellence in programs of Christian higher education. We need to discern the intersection between the stable and enduring identity of the College and the relatively unstable and changing world.

I'm glad we'll be extending this discussion. I look forward to posting on developments in Urban Studies/Wheaton in Chicago soon. More importantly, I look forward to reading about all of the important work going on across campus (and off-campus!) and to learning about how our colleagues are thinking about global engagement and experiential education.

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