By Cliff Hersey
“Welcome home. Where’ve you been?”
I am not a Gordon alumnus. But I hold two degrees from Boston-area educational institutions, and I know intimately the richness of the Boston educational context. Two hundred and fifty thousand college students call Boston home each year, attending scores of colleges and universities in the area.
For nine years, under the able direction of Craig McMullen, Gordon operated a targeted residential program in Dorchester, one of Boston’s most diverse neighborhoods. The program was suspended in 2011 due to declining student interest and loss of leadership. The Global Education Office has been working with the faculty and administration to redefine and re-launch a program for students that will be sited closer to downtown Boston and extend the Wenham campus academic program.
This spring, two “City Seminars” are underway. They are crafted as “mini-immersion” weekends, and there will be four during this spring semester. Students use the city as a classroom on Saturday and Sunday, taking advantage of Boston’s tremendous resources in terms of speakers and venues, and they attend Sunday services at urban churches.
In the fall of 2013, we plan to return to a full semester-long, residential option that will offer a broad set of options to students under the thematic umbrella of “The Sustainable City.” City Seminars (open to all Gordon students) will be offered in socio/cultural, economic, and political/governmental areas. A group of 12 to 15 students will live full-time in Boston, and their expanded experience will include a major internship, a sustainability seminar, and options to take additional courses at one of the other major colleges and universities nearby (little places like Harvard, BU, MIT and Suffolk.)
Offices and classrooms at Tremont Temple Baptist Church across the street from Boston Common will be the launching point for engagement with the urban environment and for a curriculum that uses the city as a classroom. When we talk with folks at Boston institutions you’ve heard about— Park Street Church and First Baptist Church of Boston among them—they’re all saying the same thing: “Welcome home. Where’ve you been?”
For additional information about Gordon in the City, visit www.gordon.edu/inboston