Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Development of Africa

Increasing numbers of governments, NGOs and political scientists are starting to question the absence of economic growth in Africa.

Economic strength and political stability are desperately needed on the continent, yet despite the heady optimism which followed the departure of the coloinal powers, they have been slow to appear.

Starting this year, Calvin will offer Interim course W51, Politics of Development in Africa, which explores the multiple theories that seek to explain this pertrubing situation.

The class will be taught by Professor Mwenda Ntarangwi, with the department of Sociology.

The course will begin with the basics, defining Africa and the what exactly development entails, before exploring Africa’s interaction with the global economy in the form of natural resources, World Bank development projects and government reforms.

“We will also consider ways in which Christians have engaged with Africa and some of the newer strategies regarding development work as a calling for us Christians”, said Professor Ntaranwi.

He described an important element of the course as working to understand the origins and consequences of one’s preconceptions about Africa: and the less a student has to begin with, the more he or she might benefit from this class.

W-151 The Politics of African Development will be taught from 8:30 AM till noon and can be used to fill an elective in an African Studies or African Diaspora minor.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

German Interim Abroad

Most off-campus interims are three-week touristic extravaganzas, the furthest cultural submersion being in a hotel swimming pool. But the German Interim Abroad is not most interims.

This four-week trip to Germany stresses cultural integration, offering four stays with host families, each in a distinct region of the country and, at $2,650, it's exceptionally affordable.

German Professor Mary Buteyn, who has led the interim four times since 1988, said of the trip, “This is not a superficial trip through history. It is a very immediate interaction with Germans in homes and schools.”

Students live with host families in former East and West Germany, in both rural and urban settings. This provides a glimpse into the diversity of German life, and forces students to apply their language in everyday settings.

Junior Jordan McNeilly, who participated in the interim in 2010, said, “The interim helped me to break down cultural barriers and understand more. I enjoyed the cultural submersion of the home-stays, they gave me the opportunity to use knowledge learned in the classroom.”

Students also visit major German cities like Berlin and Munich. At the end of the trip, students have a free week to travel on their own.

With the dorm-housing credit and scholarship opportunities, students can cut around $800 from the final cost of the trip.

Participants are required to have taken German 215, a conversation and culture based course.

Evolution, Bible & Christian Theology

Evolution, the Bible and Christian Theology is a good choice for students wondering how evolution fits into Christian faith. The expected topics are popular issues that Christians should be well-versed in understanding, giving them a better foundation and more confidence in their witness to others. Students can expect daily readings, journalings, and class discussions about the scientific and biblical evidence for these views. The class will also watch documentary videos, listen to guest speakers, and write an essay.

According to the course catalog, this class discusses questions such as ‘How is God active in a creation where random genetic mutation and natural selection are operative?’, ‘How can God’s creation be called ‘good’ when predation, suffering, and death are…necessary for life on earth?’

Pre-requisites for this class are one of either Bible, Theology, or Science. Dr. Harlow explained that he hopes students taking this class will want to learn, rather than argue against or be critics of evolution. He will be using a combination of articles, all by Christian authors, some of which are Calvin professors. The required book is I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution, by Denis O. Lamoureux.

Dr. Harlow explained that Lamoureux has a Doctorate in dentistry, biology, and theology. A book review by James Anderson describes Lamoureux as having had other theological positions in the past, including atheistic Darwinism, young-earth creationism, progressive old-earth creationism, and now “evolutionary creationism” (htt;://proginosko.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/I-love-jesus-I-accept-evolution/).

In the preface to his book, Lamoureux writes what he proposes about creation and evolution - “God created the universe and life through evolution”, claiming the Bible and natural world “compliment each other in revealing the glory and character of the Creator” and that “scripture discloses the spiritual character of the world, while science reveals the divine method of creation”. Lamoureux admits that his book may be difficult to swallow for most Christians today.

In his review, Andersons gives information about the author’s views. According to Anderson, Lamoureux’s position depends on the distinction between theological and scientific statements, recognizing that the Bible makes both. The author outlines basic categories of origins, noting differences between them on key issues such as God’s role and the age of the universe. Chapter six presents the most popular issue of human evolution, and Lamoureux gives some scientific evidence for it, and identifies three approaches to his conclusions with biblical teachings.

W14 Peace, Pubs and Pluralism

W14 Peace, Pubs and Pluralism, an interim trip to the United Kingdom, explores religious and political unrest and ways in which it can be overcome, in individual life as well as in communities.

Visiting London, England and Belfast, Northern Ireland, this course explores political differences in a hands-on and engaging way.

Matt Johnston, Calvin Alum, went on this trip to the U.K. for two consecutive interims, boasting that the highlights of the trip were experiencing “the wide array of different practices and ideas that people can share and practice.”

Calvin Philosophy professor Kevin Corcoran, the trip's coordinator, has a laid-back approach to teaching within a foreign setting, leaving ample room for students to feel free to explore and inquire, independent of professional influence.

Johnston experienced various cultural practices “between traditional English people and vast middle-eastern population, and all those in-between; Hipsters and punks from Camden town, to the quaint community of Notting Hill, to the countryside Hampstead Heath.”

This interim is full of experience and exploration and anyone who loves the U.K. and has an interest in culture and philosophy will not want to miss it.

Grand Canyon Outdoor Educator

The Grand Canyon Outdoor Educator interim seeks to lay the groundwork for students who aspire to pursue careers in wilderness leadership and to advance their expeditionary backpacking, backcountry first aid and rock climbing skills.

“I plan on using the skills, techniques, and experience that I learn in the Grand Canyon to become fully confident in leading wilderness trips in the future while also using this learned knowledge in my own personal wilderness pursuits,” participant senior Meredith Donnelly said.

The interim, Jan. 3-23, is organized into three distinctive sections, each encompassing a different skill set.

The group of twenty students will begin training in Cochise Stronghold near Tuscon, Az. by spending five days taking an American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) climbing site manager course. The program is “designed to enable instructors to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing,” according to the AMGA Website.

From there the students will travel to Flagstaff, Az. and undergo an intensive 10 days of instruction to receive their Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. The certification process will grant students the necessary skill set to make decisions regarding medical situations and evacuation plans in remote locations.

Students will spend the final six days of the trip backpacking through the Grand Canyon and covering the Wilderness Education Association backcountry curriculum.

The interim cost is $2,395. The fee covers instructional fees, transportation, and room and board.

For additional information contact Ryan Walter Rooks, Campus Recreation Coordinator.

Total Pageviews