By Linda Bailey, Student Reporter
ACU will offer a minor in peace and social justice studies next semester. The 18-credit hour interdisciplinary program is available to all students as a complement to any major.
Dr. David Dillman, professor of political science, said the minor will be a combination of old and new classes.
“The purpose of the minor is to use some current courses and combine them with some new courses to form some sort of a whole,” Dillman said.
The minor will draw from seven different departments and three colleges in the university.
“We hope by doing that, people who have a little room in their majors can find room to add a minor,” Dillman said. “In many cases they would have already taken one or two of these courses anyway.”
The Department of Political Science is in charge of the minor, but Dillman said he could see it getting rotated to someone else down the road.
“We don’t really want one department to have ownership of it,” he said. “It really is a joint endeavor.”
Dr. Debbie Williams, associate professor of English, said she thinks the interdisciplinary approach is the strength to this minor.
“I think it will allow us to use principles from different major fields to look at ways that we, as Christians, can impact people in the United States, as well as people around the world, to effectively be advocates for them and help improve their quality of life,” Williams said. “Thus, ministering to them as Christians in a way that perhaps we won’t think to do if we just focus on our major’s field only.”
Dillman said he hopes the minor’s classes will help students discuss and think about how to resolve tensions.
“We live in a time of a lot of world tension, and I think we need to be thinking about those issues,” he said. “I think these courses are designed to help people think about those issues.”
The minor also will focus on the Christian call to create peace on both a large and small scale.
“I think as Christians we have a special obligation to be peacemakers, and this is a way to focus on issues of peacemaking and how we can be peacemakers in the world as we interact in the world,” Dillman said. “We need to prepare not only from an academic view, but from a Christian point of view.”
Williams said, based on her observations of students on campus, she thinks the minor will be popular.
“I think the response that the main student body has to projects like Wishing Well speaks to the majority of students’ commitment to helping others,” Williams said.