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C-N’s Baldridge will use Grant for Pilgrimage

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Vaya con Dios - Mossy Creek Teacher-Scholars Awardee Dr. Mary Baldridge (left) is congratulated by Dr. Kina Mallard, who established and endowed the program to celebrate C-N’s legacy of great teaching. The award was made during the institution’s annual Community Honors Banquet.

While she has been planning it for several months, Dr. Mary Baldridge’s 200-mile walking journey was made a bit easier with the recent announcement that she is the 2012 recipient of the Mossy Creek Teacher-Scholars Award. The competitive grant, which offers awards of up to $2500, is presented annually to a selected faculty member whose research or international travel is designed to enhance classroom teaching.

The grant, established by Provost Kina Mallard in 2010, denotes the importance of faculty development and impact such support has for professors and students. “It seemed to be a good way to honor those who have given their lives and work to students here for 160 years,” said Dr. Mallard. “Life-changing education takes phenomenal educators and that has been the case from the establishment of Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary until today. Teaching is the most important thing we do.”

Baldridge, dean of the School of Humanities and associate professor of foreign languages, will follow the original (primitivo) path of the Camnio de Santiago (Way of St. James), a 200-mile trek from Oviedo to Santiago de Compestela, Spain. Having taught “A Protestant Pilgrim on the Primitive Path,” an on-campus course which combined information about the journey with language, history literature and culture, Baldridge’s sojourn will help her determine the viability of creating a study trip for students.

The opportunity also offers two other purposes, noted the professor.

“This will provide much-needed time for reflection and spiritual renewal, and I will use what I learn to infuse my classes with more historic information, cultural understanding and personal knowledge,” Baldridge said.

The Knoxville resident expects that, as one of the lesser known routes, the Camino Primitivo will afford her the opportunity to research a book with new information about the path. She also hopes to include excerpts from medieval literature related to pilgrimage with personal narrative and spiritual lessons learned from putting one foot in front of the other.

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