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Posted June 4, 2015 by
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One of the things we want to do at OnCUE is to keep our readers apprised of developments at the Center for Urban Engagement. It has been a big year. We launched the Center and graduated our first majors in Urban Studies. In this post, we’ll share a few of the highlights from the past year and let you know about some of our events and priorities for next year.

Launch

As you may know, CUE officially launched in January 2015 after a very busy summer and fall semester in which we worked together with our core and supporting faculty and staff to define the Center’s identity, mission, vision, and core values, and to bring five core programs (and other programs in partnership) together under one umbrella.

Urban Track of Wheaton Passage 

While we didn’t officially launch until January, we ran our whole year under the banner of our new vision, mission, and core values. That includes our programs in partnership, such as the Urban Track of Wheaton Passage. Every year, a number of incoming Wheaton students choose to begin their studies in the Urban Track of our first-year transition program, Wheaton Passage. Our August 2014 Urban Track program was a fantastic way for students to get off on the right foot for their next four years at Wheaton College.

Wheaton in Chicago 

Wheaton in Chicago enjoyed record enrollments in the fall of 2014. Once again, students interned at an incredible array of organizations throughout the city. Here are some of our internship sites from last fall:

As usual, Wheaton in Chicago students, faculty, and staff (accompanied by Global Urban Perspectives students) also attended the annual meeting of the Christian Community Development Association, which was held in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Next year’s Wheaton in Chicago students will attend the meeting in Memphis, Tennessee.)

We also had new people working with the program. Rachel Brown started with us as Learning Community Coordinator. Rachel leads our student life, spiritual formation, and facilities management work. And while Dr. Greg Lee wasn’t new to the College, last fall was his first time teaching one of our core courses, Theologies of Transformation: Public & Political Theologies in Urban Context.

Broader Short-Term Exposure for the Entire College Community

Some may wonder how we use our facility in Chicago between January and July. We have steady, heavy programming in the building from late July or early August (with Urban Track of Wheaton Passage) through the end of the fall semester in mid-December (with Wheaton in Chicago), but in the spring semester we use our facility as a platform for shorter-term engagements with the city. In each of the past two spring semesters (2014 and 2015), we've had more than 250 students gain exposure to and experience in the city through our Uptown facility.

Events

We sponsored or co-sponsored a number of events on and off campus. Here were some of the highlights:

The Samuel A. Shellhamer Award in Urban Studies

This year, we also transformed our award for the best paper in Urban Studies into a writing competition. Students submitted position papers on the challenge of mass incarceration and the role of religious institutions in shaping a response. The top prize of $300 went to Taylor Pride. Ian Donahoe and Hayley Woodbridge finished as runners up and received gift boxes from local coffee roaster and social enterprise I Have a Bean.

OnCUE

Of course, we also launched this blog, OnCUE, in April. Next year, you can count on student posts in addition to those from faculty, staff, and guests.

What to Expect for Next Year

In addition to adjusting our major, minor and Wheaton in Chicago program (and all of their student outcomes and assessment plans) to Wheaton’s exciting new general education curriculum, Christ at the Core, we have a number of other plans for next year:

We hope you’ll join us at those events, and we’ll look forward to keeping you up to date on next year’s developments at CUE.