Dr. Michael Hill
Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Office: (417) 873-7883
Director of Media Relations, University Communications
Office: (417) 873-7390
Mobile: (417) 839-2886
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 6, 2009 — For most people, living without electricity or running water and with limited food supplies isn’t their definition of an ideal weekend. But for Drury faculty and students, it’s an opportunity to learn about poverty and sustainable development, first-hand, through the Global Gateway program at Heifer International Ranch in Perryville, Ark. on Oct. 9 and 10.
Drury students participate in the Global Gateway experience at the Heifer Ranch in spring 2009
Heifer International, recently featured on Oprah, utilizes its Global Gateway program to challenge participants to live in conditions equivalent to those of poor citizens in the developing world as well as in industrialized nations. Given small rations of food and other resources, based on Heifer’s research of actual poverty conditions, participants must find a way to cook a meal without electricity and spend an uncomfortable night in a dwelling representing a particular part of the poor world such as Zambia, Thailand, Guatemala, Appalachia or an urban slum region. For more information on the Heifer International Ranch go to: www.heifer.org.
Participation in the Global Gateway program is part of the emerging efforts in Drury University’s Global Civic Engagement Project (GCEP), co-directed by Dr. Michael Hill, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Andrew Wiemer, Director of Leadership and Volunteer Development.
“Global Civic Engagement is based on the idea of experiential texts, or learning through action,” said Dr. Hill. “Participation in programs such as the Global Gateway Project can make the curricular materials come alive and inspire students in their professional and civic lives long after they leave Drury.”
GCEP is designed to complement all major and minor programs, as well as the Global Perspectives 21 and Global Studies general education curricula, by strengthening avenues for students to develop civic leadership and engagement both at home and abroad. Students receive the opportunity to actively apply their classroom learning while partnering with communities to construct solutions for some of society’s greatest challenges.
In another GCEP program beginning this year, participating Alpha Seminar classes for first year students have signed up to be Drury “Community Brigades” working with local nonprofits to develop tailored projects that will both strengthen the community organization and enhance students’ professional skills. In addition, the GCEP initiative will offer a small number of “Faculty and Community Partner Development Grants” to help build or expand civic engagement opportunities for students across the curriculum and across the globe.
“Students will have the opportunity to integrate their experiences into their course work, and vice versa. As students gain skills in communication, organization, leadership, and teamwork, they also benefit from a sense of civic purpose and professional accomplishment,” said Dr. Hill.
Other goals of the GCEP project include offering students more civic engagement immersion experiences through applied courses, internships, and service-learning trips, developing scholarship and mentoring programs, strengthening student organizations committed to civic engagement, developing a network of alumni and staff for the initiatives, and founding a Center for Global Civic Engagement.
In 2009, Drury received a $10,000 grant from the Engelhard Foundation and the Association of American Colleges and Universities as a part of the Bringing Theory to Practice Project. Drury has matched this grant and provided additional pilot funding for the new program. Co-sponsors of the Community Brigades project include the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the 2008-2009 Convocation Series and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
Drury is an independent University, church related, grounded in the liberal arts tradition and committed to personalized education in a community of scholars who value the arts of teaching and learning. Education at Drury seeks to cultivate spiritual sensibilities and imaginative faculties as well as ethical insight and critical thought; to foster the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge; and to liberate persons to participate responsibly in and contribute to a global community. For more information, visit www.drury.edu/strategicplan.
University Communications staff are available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 839-2886. Visit the Office of University Communications online at http://news.drury.edu. Resources include a searchable Expert Guide, staff contacts and downloadable print-quality images and logos.