Radford University Peace Studies faculty Alan Forrest, Michele Ren and Courtney Ross represented the university at the prestigious Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies’ Summer Institute for Faculty from June 9 through 14.
Forrest, Ren and Ross joined 53 faculty members from 18 other colleges and universities for the summer session, entitled "Teaching Peace in the 21st Century." Housed at the University of Notre Dame, the Summer Institute helps faculty explore the launch or expansion of interdisciplinary peace studies programs at colleges and universities.
As an academic field, Peace Studies examines the conditions that best promote peace around the world, from the geopolitical systems to environmental concerns.
"There are a lot of challenges facing the world right now," said Ren, assistant professor of English, women’s studies and peace studies. "Radford wants to engage with all of these local and global issues."
The stated mission of the RU faculty delegates in their application for acceptance to the program was to strengthen the existing Peace Studies curriculum and program, determine possible new course offerings, develop new courses offered in the Core Curriculum and Peace Studies minor and learn from other Peace Studies programs and the Institute how to more effectively take the existing Peace Studies program to the next level.
Participants at this year’s event included faculty teams from a range of institutions - large and small, private and public, faith-based and secular, research and teaching - serving diverse student populations. Radford was the only institute of higher education in Virginia to send a team.
"We met a lot of people that we hope to have contact with going forward," said Ren. "They are doing a lot of great things."
The RU faculty team’s attendance was supported through a faculty development grant from the Scholar-Citizen initiative, the mission of which is to promote an engaged teaching and learning culture that fosters a sense of how to live in ways that best contribute to the world around oneself. An expectation that Forrest, Ren and Ross bring their knowledge back to Radford was a large part of the mission.
"I went there looking to find new and innovative ways to teach Introduction to Peace Studies and further courses in Peace Studies," said Ross, an adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology and in Peace Studies. "We gained practical information for curriculum development and new ways to build our program."
The faculty team will share the many insights, thoughts, and plans inspired by their attendance with the RU community through various programs and outlets this fall.
Radford University’s Peace Studies program was founded in 1994 by faculty in the Department of Philosophy. Students who pursue the minor in Peace Studies design their programs of study with a clearly stated focus and justifiable course selections, with consultation from a rotating committee of advisors.
Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.