For students who cannot get enough community, Northwestern is now offering it as a minor.
Professor Michael Andres was one of the driving forces of the interdepartmental group of professors that designed the new Christian community development (CCD) minor.
“I think there is a sense, even in the broad evangelical world, that God has a heart for justice,” Andres said. “Christian community development is a model for how you restore under-resourced communities.”
Although the minor was orchestrated through the religion department, it is intended for students of all majors and contains coursework in religion, political science, sociology and economics.
“It’s very holistic,” Andres said. “It could almost be called the holistic ministry minor. It fits liberal arts like a glove. It really shows how interrelated these things are.”
Sophomore Kara Nonnemacher said she is interested in minoring in CCD and has already begun taking some of the classes. Currently, she is in “Slavery, Separation, Redemption and Reconciliation” and “Survey of Economics.”
“I have always been interested in CCD and was really excited to hear that it is officially offered as a minor,” Nonnemacher said.
An integral component of the CCD minor is that it involves a service-learning experience in the community as part of its capstone course. The goal of this project is to put what has been learned in the classroom into practice in the real world.
“With this class, our hope is that students will give time to Justice for All or the Bridge or some such other organization that’s in or around Sioux County that will tie into things they’re learning in class as a direct application,” said Professor VanDerWerff, who will alternate teaching the capstone course with Andres.
According to Andres, the CCD minor will be a good fit for NW because of the large number of students who are passionate about social-justice issues.
“More and more students, we’re finding, captured a vision for justice, for holistic ministry,” Andres said. “Yes, we need to proclaim the word, but it’s not just about saving souls; it’s about restoring communities, breaking poverty and healing people. It’s about health clinics and after-school programs.”
Nonnemacher said she hopes to combine her public relations major with the CCD minor to work in a nonprofit setting.
“I think these two subjects together can best utilize my interests,” Nonnemacher said. “I’m hoping to do my PR internship somewhere that will also allow me to do community development work so I can get an idea of how best to combine the two.”