Strengthening Liberal Arts Education by Embracing Place and Particularity
Funded by the Teagle Foundation (2005-2007)
This paper describes research undertaken by Calvin College to explore the intersection of the liberal arts and the particulars of place. This research posed several key questions for exploration: How can the liberal arts tradition serve the common good in a particular place? How will liberal arts be seen as an important resource for members of a particular community? How can we use our city as text to strengthen liberal arts education for our students and to strengthen engaged scholarship/ research for our faculty? In other words, how could a particular place inform and shape the teaching that occurs in liberal arts classrooms as well as the research undertaken by faculty?
Community research initiatives
- Urban Altruism: A research initiative and seminar concerned with seeking the welfare of the city. This seminar was taught in the Spring of 2006 by Dr. Jamie Smith of the Calvin philosophy department.
- Three Focus Neighborhoods: Calvin has worked for decades in many neighborhoods within the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. More recently, the Provost ’s Office, the Service-Learning Center, the Office of Community Relations, and several academic departments at Calvin have collaborated with churches, schools, and organizations in the Burton Heights, Baxter-Madison, and Creston-Belknap communities, focusing on multiple community issues and disciplinary approaches.
Publications by Calvin faculty on engaged scholarship
Calvin faculty have been actively involved in engaged scholarship in various disciplines and have begun publishing about this work. Included here is a partial list of publications by Calvin faculty who have written about the scholarship of engagement:
- Heffner, Gail Gunst, Janel M. Curry, and Claudia DeVries Beversluis. 2006. “Transforming Liberal Arts Education through Engaged Scholarship. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Forthcoming.
- Mulder, M. & DeGraaf, D. 2006. Urban growth, community, and the environment: An experiential pedagogy. Journal of Cities and the Environment. (under review)
- Timmermans, Steven R., and Bouman, Jeffrey P. 2005. “Seven Ways of Teaching and Learning: University-Community Partnerships at Baccalaureate Institutions.” Special Issue of the Journal of Community Practice, January, 2005.
- DeGraaf, D., Lankford, J. & Lankford, S. 2005. “Cities and the good life: Urban sprawl, New Urbanism, and the role of Parks and Recreation.” Parks and Recreation. 40 (8): 56-64.
- Timmermans, Steven R., and Bouman, Jeffrey P. 2004. “Seven Ways of Teaching and Learning: University-Community Partnerships at Baccalaureate Institutions.” In University-Community Partnerships: Universities in Civic Engagement. Edited by Soska, Tracy M., and Johnson Butterfield, Alice K. New York: Haworth Press.
- DeGraaf, D. & Jordan, D. 2003. Social Capital: It’s about community. Research Update. Parks and Recreation. 39 (2): 20-27.
- Heffner, Gail Gunst, Gail Landheer Zandee, and Lissa Schwander. 2003. “Listening to Community Voices: Community-based research, a first step in partnership and outreach.” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement 8(1): 127-139.
- Heffner, Gail Gunst and Beversluis, Claudia DeVries, eds. 2002. Commitment and
Connection: Service-Learning and Christian Higher Education. Lanham,
MD: University Press of America.
- Curry, Janel M., Gail Gunst Heffner, and David Warners. 2002. “Environmental Service-Learning: Social Transformation Through Caring for a Particular Place.” Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 9(1): 58-66.
- Curry, Janel M. 2002. “The Development of an Ethic of Service to Place.” In Commitment and Connection: Service-Learning and Christian Higher Education, edited by Gail Gunst Heffner and Claudia DeVries Beversluis, pp. 167-181, Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
- Heffner, Gail Gunst. 2002. “Creating Social Capital through Service-Learning and
Community Development at Faith-Based Liberal Arts Colleges.” In Connection and Commitment: Service-Learning and Christian Higher Education. Edited by Heffner and Beversluis. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. pp. 3-19.
- Mulder, Mark, and Jeff Bouman, Joy Van Marion and Don DeGraaf. 2006. “Connecting the Mind, Heart and Hands through Intentional Community at Calvin College.” Journal of College and Character 7 (2): 2-13.
- Commitment and Connection: Service-Learning and Christian Higher Education, ed. Gail Gunst Heffner and Claudia Beversluis, Lantham, MD: Univ. of America, 2002.