C-N to Offer New Graduate Program

Changing the Future - Rising sophomore Julie Davis works with an elementary school student through BOOST, an innovative, frontline service program developed by C-N students, the Bonner Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement and the Jefferson City Housing Authority. Osborne cites BOOST as one just example of a C-N program through which students help others while learning the ins and out of program development and making a positive societal impact.

A new graduate program offering at Carson-Newman will provide innovative avenues for those who want to work in either non-profit or social ministry work. The Master of Arts in Applied Social Justice offers two possible tracks.

A hybrid online/low-residency program designed for working adults, the MAASJ is a part-time, two-year program. The residency requirement is met by a few on-campus weekends and an off-site conference that amount to a total of less than 20 days. Both online courses and intensive weekend studies are led by C-N faculty.

The rigorous, experiential degree program allows students to be shaped and formed for community education both in the academic environment and in practical, on-the-ground, settings. It provides education and training for those drawn by their compassion, faith commitments and religious values to serving others through social agencies and service-based organizations. Students complete a core curriculum and the requirements of the particular emphasis.

“We are pleased to launch the Master of Arts in Applied Social Justice because it fits our mission to develop ‘educated citizens and world-wide servant leaders,’” said Dr. Kina Mallard, C-N’s provost. “As Christians, we are called to advocate on behalf of those who have no voice, to seek justice, and correct oppression.

“Carson-Newman has always had a heart for ministering to people, for understanding how systems and policies affect the human condition and for developing transformational practices in hopes of freeing the world from oppression and poverty. This program will build on our strong social science undergraduate curriculum to equip social justice advocates from across the world.”

Those interested in the humanities or social sciences may choose to pursue the Christian Community Development track that is designed for faith-based organizational work. 'Those called to apply their business acumen to serving others may choose the Social Entrepreneurship track that will help participants develop economic opportunities to combat poverty and the effects of it.

“Carson-Newman is fertile ground for mission-minded people and those going into social service fields,” said Dr. Larry Osborne, the director of C-N’s Social Entrepreneurship program who developed the MAASJ. “This is about more than helping students get jobs; it’s designed to help them create their own programs and create conditions that change root causes of problems, including those that foster poverty and their associated ills.”

While traditional models of providing for those will remain important in coming years, Osborne says a new wave of programing and social action is essential for “longer term approaches that empower people to help themselves and that address root causes of poverty by changing the ways communities and society work. That includes increasing access to a good education, job training, and adequate health care.”

According to Osborne, tomorrow’s change agents will create new opportunities to encourage self-help and independence while reducing dependence on charity. Students will explore poverty and the social contexts for optimum human development, including strategies for empowerment and growth. Courses will examine connections between Christian faith and ethics, including the Baptist context and the biblical mandate for justice.

The program, which is under review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, will begin this fall. Those interested in pursuing new avenues in social justice and nonprofit development should access the graduate tab found at www.cn.edu or contact Dr. Laura Wadlington at 865-471-3270 or lwadlington@cn.edu.