Aequitas Fellows Program in Urban Leadership

Wheaton College Students at DuSable Museum of African-American History

Aequitas Fellows Program in Urban Leadership Requirements

The Aequitas Fellows Program in Urban Leadership is a four-year, cohort-based, experiential program that forms Wheaton College students to promote just, sustainable, and flourishing urban communities through academic study, experiential learning, immersion programs, and Christian service. By the end of the program, Fellows will be able to apply theological and economic reasoning to urban challenges, such as poverty, food insecurity, housing, public health, environmental sustainability, employment, and economic development, all within the context of Wheaton’s evangelical commitments.

Program Courses and Experiences

Year One

  • AQTS 111 Introduction to Urban Leadership (Fall, 2 credits)
  • URBN 114 The Social Life of Cities (normally Spring, 4 credits; GP & SI tags)
  • AQTS 112 Aequitas Urban Leadership Summer Experience Requirement (Summer, 0 credits)

Year Two

  • ECON 211 Principles of Microeconomics (4 credits; SI tag)
  • ECON 212 Principles of Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • AQTS 211 & 212 Aequitas Urban Leadership Reading Group (Fall and Spring, 1 credit each semester)

Year Three

  • Wheaton in Chicago (Fall and/or Spring)
    • Including AQTS 311 Community-Based Research (2 or 4 credits)
    • Including AQTS 496 Aequitas Urban Leadership Internship (4, 6, or 8 credits)

Year Four

  • AQTS 411 Aequitas Urban Leadership Final Project Requirement (0 credits)

Year 1: Cities, Society, and Service

Aequitas Fellows are encouraged to begin their Wheaton experience in the Urban Track of Passage at the HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development, which includes a significant community service component. Fellows will then complete three foundational courses their first year:

  • AQTS 111 Introduction to Urban Leadership (Fall): This course, taught by the Urban Leadership Theme Coordinator, introduces key themes in urban issues and leadership, and fosters community among the first-year cohort.
  • URBN 114 Social Life of Cities (Spring): This course is the prerequisite for Wheaton in Chicago. It teaches students to study cities from a social sciences perspective informed by Christian convictions.
  • AQTS 112 Aequitas Urban Leadership Summer Experience Requirement (Summer): Students will receive funding to help support participation in an international travel experience in partnership with Ministry Trips in the Office of Ministry and Evangelism.

Year 2: Economics and Leadership

During their second year, Aequitas Fellows complete an economics course sequence and participate in a year-long reading group with their cohort:

  • ECON 211 Microeconomics and ECON 212 Macroeconomics (Fall or Spring): These courses introduce students to economic concepts crucial for understanding the complexities and interdependencies of urban contexts.

  • AQTS 211 and 212 Aequitas Urban Leadership Reading Group: Aequitas Fellows will meet throughout the year for a reading group on urban issues and leadership. Readings will be chosen according to the interests of the Center for Urban Engagement’s featured lecturers for that year. Fellows may participate in roundtable discussions with the lecturers during their visit to campus. These courses will count for one credit per semester, two credits total for the year.

Following the completion of their second year, Aequitas Fellows will have preferential opportunity to staff the Urban Track of Passage, facilitating the transition of new students into the college and developing their interest in urban issues.

Year 3: Ethics and Community

During their third year, Aequitas Fellows participate in Wheaton in Chicago, a semester-long, residential experience in Woodlawn, a historic neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. Students will benefit from opportunities in community engagement, spiritual formation, and leadership development.

Aequitas Fellows may complete Wheaton in Chicago in the Fall and/or Spring. Fall participants will attend the annual conference of the Christian Community Development Association (the conference location varies year to year), and Spring participants will travel to Los Angeles to engage a comparative urban context.

During Wheaton in Chicago, Aequitas Fellows will complete these required courses:

  • AQTS 496 Aequitas Urban Leadership Internship: Internships will deepen students’ understanding of the urban context, introduce them to people and strategies addressing social, political, and economic challenges, and develop their sense of vocation and professional network. Students can receive 4 to 8 credits for their internship.

  • AQTS 311 Community-Based Research: Fellows will learn the practice of community-based research by conducting projects in collaboration with local community organizations. This opportunity integrates academic study and community engagement to help address concrete urban concerns. Students can take this course for either 2 or 4 credits.

Fellows will also take courses from the following electives (each course is 4 credits; electives offered will vary by semester):

  • URBN 233 Chicago (DUS, SI)
  • BITH 376 Theologies of Transformation (Christian Theology)
  • URBN 371/BITH 378 Race, Class & Justice
  • URBN/BEC 381 Community Economic Development & Enterprise
  • CORE 308 Engaging Arts in the City (AIS, VPA)
  • ENGW 233 Writing Chicago (LE)
  • PSCI 324 Black Political Thought (DUS, PI)

Year 4: Capstone and Launch

  • AQTS 411 Aequitas Urban Leadership Final Project Requirement: Fellows will produce a project focusing their Aequitas studies on a specific area of interest. They will present their projects for a Spring symposium. Past projects have included musical performances, designing a new course, establishing a women’s mentorship program, and developing an additional site for the Urban Track of Passage.

Beginning in the fall semester, students will have the opportunity to work with their Aequitas theme coordinator, Aequitas alumni, and the CUE Advisory Board to plan their next steps after graduation.


Urban Leadership Theme Coordinator

Gregory LeeDr. Gregory Lee serves as the Urban Leadership Theme Coordinator for the Aequitas Fellows Program. He is Associate Professor of Theology and Urban Studies at Wheaton College, where he has been on faculty since 2011. His work appropriates Augustine as a resource for addressing contemporary issues of church and society. His publications include Today When You Hear His Voice: Scripture, the Covenants, and the People of God (Eerdmans, 2016), Christian Political Witness (co-edited with George Kalantzis, IVP Academic, 2014), and several articles on Augustine. Dr. Lee lives with his wife and two children in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. He has taught regularly for Wheaton in Chicago, he is Senior Fellow and Certificate Co-Coordinator for The Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies, and he is Theologian in Residence at Lawndale Christian Community Church. He also served for several years as Board Chair of Manna Christian Fellowship, a campus ministry at Princeton University. Dr. Lee earned the A.B. from Princeton University, the M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and the Ph.D. from Duke University.