Presentation of Religion and the Arts in Appalachia Drew Cross-cultural Course Summer 2009
1) What do you hope to accomplish pedagogically?
2) How do you articulate your course's relationship to a cross-cultural criteria for a course that is contrastive, academic, and experiential?
For nearly thirty years, the Appalachian Ministries Educational Ministry Resource Center has fostered contextual, cross-cultural education for theological students. Its grant-enhanced courses promote learning about the theological, spiritual, social, economic, and environmental aspects of Appalachian culture, especially for rural and small town settings for ministry. I designed these courses around some of the key challenges of the region: such as globalization, environment and energy, systemic poverty, education, and feature those with expertise in the cultural resources and resourcefulness of the region.
AMERC approved courses led by approved mentors include “substantial face-to-face experience with local culture and other travelers” Courses include structured theological reflection and learning experiences typical of field education, albeit limited due to time constraints.(15-16 days) They are therefore both experiential and contextual. Due to the cross-seminary participation, (2 to 4 seminaries participate in these courses) these courses offer “substantial opportunities for academic preparation and critical reflection” among a regionally and theologically diverse body of students.