Bluefield College Teaches Global Citizenship with Course and Mission Trip
A Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria, the creation of a course in international healthcare, and the lessons learned put to action in a medical mission trip to Belize -- it's all a part of the Bluefield College mission to be in service to God and the global community. Thanks to an invitation from the Appalachian College Association and a grant from the Mellon Foundation, Bluefield College participated this year in a Mellon Community Fellows Initiative, which enabled the school to accomplish its mission in real, applicable ways.
September 30, 2009
Designed to help participants better understand global citizenship, the Mellon Community Fellows Initiative began in January 2009 with a five-day Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria for BC's Dr. Greg Kerr, professor of biology; Dr. Scott Bryan, professor of exercise and sport science; and Rev. David Taylor, campus minister.
Salzburg Global Seminars bring together scholars and educators from around the world to discuss critical challenges confronting the global community and to formulate innovative solutions to global problems. The sessions convene leaders committed to making a difference in the world in candid and informed discussion to inspire innovative thinking and to pioneer practical strategies for change.
"We've had many global opportunities for students and faculty in the past," said Dr. Kerr, "including course-related trips to London, Paris, Rome, and Athens; choir and drama tours to Europe; and mission trips to South Africa, Brazil, and China. But, the Salzburg Seminar helped us understand the need to assemble our 'random acts of globalization' into a goal-oriented, focused program."
Dr. Kerr said the interactions with Salzburg Seminar leaders and participants, including several from European universities, helped the BC contingent develop an action plan for global education. The plan, entitled "Seeing the World through the Eyes of Faith," included, among other actions, the creation of a BC Global Interaction Committee consisting of faculty and staff involved in global programs.
The plan also called for the development of a course in international health care, taught by Dr. Kerr and Dr. Scott Bryan, professor of exercise and sport science. Through the course, students will research and analyze specific topics related to international healthcare. They also will examine healthcare issues and diseases that impact people in developing countries.
The culmination of the effort -- a medical mission trip this past summer to Belize in Central America, where students and faculty will apply the lessons learned from the seminar and course in medical work and other service projects. Even more importantly, according to Dr. Bryan, the Belize trip will provide an opportunity for the BC family to live out its mission of being a globally-minded, service-oriented community.
"Just what is global citizenship?" asked Dr. Bryan. "I really didn't get it at first, but then I saw it in light of the Bluefield College mission and my faith. We can relate our mission of being a 'nationally recognized Christ-centered liberal arts college, preparing innovative learners and transformational leaders to impact the world' with global citizenship. Our motivation is this: because God so loved the world, we so love the world. This becomes not just our motto, but our true core value and motivation for being."