Director, Noah Toly
The city is a persistent motif in Christian thought and a constant object of Christian and non-Christian inquiry. Scholars have long explored the significance of the city and its circumstances. While reflection on industrial and post-industrial urban conditions has focused, in large part, on the causes and consequences of urban decay and revival, a broader approach to urban studies requires careful consideration of the city’s presence and influence in the world. A rapidly increasing urban population and an emerging global urbanism highlight the continued importance of scholarly engagement with the city.
A number of global forces (e.g., trade liberalization and economic restructuring) and local challenges (e.g., gentrification) are reshaping both domestic and global urban landscapes. At the same time, city governments, urban populations, and the church have responded to emerging threats and opportunities. Interdisciplinary urban studies explore these developments, considering the causes and consequences of the urban condition, examining the origins and implications of urban issues, and analyzing the presence and influence of the city in an increasingly urban world.
In order to earn an Urban Studies certificate, students must complete at least 24 credit hours in Urban Studies, some of which can also count towards general education or major requirements. All Urban Studies students are required to take "Chicago I: An Introduction " (URBN 231) as the introductory course, which also can be taken for general education social science credit. They must also complete an internship and the “Advanced Urban Studies Seminar” (URBN 494), a two-credit capstone course.
The Urban Studies Program offers students two options for completing the Urban Studies Certificate. Students can earn the bulk of their credits on-campus, or they can earn the bulk of their credits through the Wheaton in Chicago program, a semester-long, residential, experiential program of urban studies. In either case, Wheaton's Urban Studies Program offers students a unique opportunity to learn about urban life through a combination of classroom study and field experience.
The Urban Studies Program is open to all students, and the Urban Studies Certificate can be completed in conjunction with any major. It is also possible to complete the Certificate in conjunction with the HNGR program, in which case a student would complete their internship in a two-thirds world city. Enrolling in the program will give students a broad understanding of urban theory and experience. It examines the ethical and theological dimensions of urban life and seeks to instill a Christian perspective on social change.
In order to complete the on-campus Urban Studies Program, students must meet the following requirements. Students are strongly encouraged to choose a course of study that will include global dimensions. This may be satisfied through on campus coursework (e.g., ANTH 362, PSCI/URBN 362), off-campus coursework (Urban Studies abroad), or an internship in a global context.
1. Core (4 hours)
2. Content Units (10-16 hours from a and b below)
a) Social, Historical, and Global Context (at least one required)
b) The City
3. Internship (2-8 hours)
4. Flexible Course Additions (0-4 hours). On a case-by-case basis, the Urban Studies Certificate can include courses and independent study work in which students participate in a course with urban-related topics and/or pursue work directly related to the issues addressed in the Urban Studies Program. These must be approved in advance and can occur in one of three ways:
a) Independent Study courses that are directly related to urban studies.
b) Experimental and Special Topics Courses that are offered on an occasional basis and address urban-related topics may be petitioned for acceptance as partial fulfillment of the Course Content Units.
c) With permission of the course instructor and Urban Studies Program, students could take a course that is not explicitly urban in orientation in which they pursue urban issues as a significant part of the course. Examples include, but are not limited to, SWEL 331, in which a student might focus on social welfare in the urban context., in which a student might focus on the impacts of the digital assemblage upon public space and community in the city, and
Wheaton in Chicago is a semester-long, residential, experiential program of study. During the Wheaton in Chicago semester, students examine the origins and implications of urban issues through coursework, internships, and service opportunities. Since the program’s inception, more than 200 students—representing every division and more than 20 majors—have joined us downtown. Wheaton in Chicago prepares these students for a lifetime of engagement with the presence and influence of the city in an increasingly urban world while requiring that they do so in a way that integrates a faithful Christian worldview.
Students live in apartments located in Uptown—one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods—along Chicago’s north lakefront. Renovated to Wheaton College specifications for student life and instruction, the building and its location permit robust instructional and experiential opportunities. Student activities are overseen by the Assistant Director of Urban Studies. Courses are taught both by Wheaton faculty and practitioners from the city, while drawing on a rich array of guest speakers. Students will also receive an in-depth exposure to a wide range of Christian ministries and other service organizations in the city. The " Chicago I: An Introduction " course (URBN 231) is a prerequisite for the program.
The fall program integrates faith and learning, theory and practice, through a curriculum that combines upper division Urban Studies with upper division Biblical and Theological Studies.
1. Core (10-16 hours)
URBN 351 Chicago II: Contemporary Issues and Controversies (4)
BITH 376 Theologies of Transformation: Public and Political Theologies in Urban Context (4)
URBN 496 a two-to-eight hour internship (Students must also have completed 16 credit hours within their major in order to receive major credit for their internship.)
2. Students may also register for
URBN 391x Community Based Research (4)
URBN 371 Race, Poverty, and Reconciliation (4)
The spring program integrates faith and learning, theory and practice, through a curriculum that combines upper division Urban Studies with general education.
Students register for
URBN 351 Chicago II: Contemporary Issues and Controversies (4)
URBN 352 Comparative Urban Studies (2)
ENGW 103 Composition and Research (4)
MUCS 103 Introduction to Music: World (4) / 20th Century (2)
URBN 371 Race, Poverty, and Reconciliation (4)
Students who are not interested in the Urban Studies Certificate are welcome in the Wheaton in Chicago program, but students who do intend to complete the certificate will be given priority enrollment status if applications exceed capacity for a given semester. In order to receive the Urban Studies certificate, students who complete the Wheaton in Chicago program will need to complete the “Advanced Urban Studies Seminar” (URBN 494) and 2-8 credits from sections 2 and 4 under “On Campus Program” above.
URBN 231. Chicago I: An Introduction. An introduction to urban life. Survey of the city's ethnic, economic, and institutional diversity will be presented through lectures, slides, and field trips. Special emphasis on the problems and promises of urban life.Diversity designation. (2)
URBN 321. Urban Issues and Active Faith. An interdisciplinary course designed to help students integrate their internship, classroom, and daily life experiences while living in the city under the program.
URBN 331. Comparative Urban Studies: Cities of South America. Urban studies concerns the causes and consequences of the urban condition, the origins and implications of urban issues, and the presence and influence of the city in the world. With respect to causes and consequences of the urban condition, cities have much in common. With respect to the origins and implications of urban issues, they often differ greatly. This course explores significant similarities and differences between various cities of South America. Every other summer, part of URBN in South America. (2)
URBN 351. Chicago II: Contemporary Issues and Controversies. This course examines seven contemporary issues or controversies in Chicago, considering the ways in which those are representative of U.S. and global urban experiences as well as the ways in which they play out idiosyncratically in the Chicago landscape. Each issue or controversy will be examined over the course of two weeks and will include at least one guest speaker and at least one field trip.
URBN 352. Comparative Urban Studies: Chicago and Los Angeles. This course is taught during Wheaton in Chicago’s spring semester program and includes a spring break trip to Los Angeles. Through readings, discussion, field experiences, and guest lectures, students will study the different ways in which three governance challenges are handled in these two cities.
URBN 371. Race, Poverty, and Reconciliation. This course examines the social, economic and spiritual factors involved in racial reconciliation and overcoming poverty and how people of faith are developing strategies to build bridges across racial and economic barriers.
URBN 391x. Community Based Research and Public Health. Theory and practice of public health program planning and evaluation in partnership with community public health organizations in urban Chicago. Students will integrate principles of community building and organizing to address community-identified health issues in the context of social change. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of faith-based cultural humility for the recognition and empowerment of existing healthy community assets for the improvement of urban health and quality of life. Quantitative and qualitative research methods will be utilized and integrated throughout all phases of health planning and program evaluation. Prerequisite: or .
URBN 494. Advanced Urban Studies Seminar This capstone course requires integrative, interdisciplinary reflection upon emerging urban forms, urban field experiences, and vocation. Undergraduate students must have completed and urban field experience (e.g., Wheaton in Chicago) or internship prior to enrolling in the course, unless they secure the consent of the Urban Studies Program Director. (2)
URBN 496. Internship. Supervised field experience in an urban setting, usually Chicago. The internship is designed to meet the particular interests of the student, as well as the needs of the host organization and neighborhood. Graded pass/fail. (2-8)
Revision Date: June 1, 2012
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Wheaton, IL 60187