CST Receives Grant to Develop Interreligious Internships Program
Claremont School of Theology (CST) has received a planning grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation to support the development of a new Interreligious Internships Program. The grant, in the amount of $50,000, will support staffing, technology, training and other resources necessary to lay the foundation for a new approach to hands-on, practical interreligious training for faith-based professionals at the graduate level.
The proposed Interreligious Internships Program is the product of a visionary process conducted by a working group comprised of faculty and staff from the Academy of Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA),Bayan Claremont, and CST. Representatives of all three institutions agreed upon the educational value of an internship experience that would place students of differing religious traditions side by side in a practical setting. They agreed that such a program would represent a new and novel approach to training religious leaders capable of sustaining faith-based communities in an increasingly complex and pluralistic socio-political context.
“We believe that this program will help us to produce a very different kind of religious leader for our society and our world,” says CST President Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan. “Our hope is that students will emerge from this program with skills, relationships, and understanding that are rooted in vibrant, ever-changing dynamics of life in Southern California.”
The working group established three core values that would guide the program’s design:
First, that the program should be immersive and offer students a depth of exposure to their peers of differing religious traditions, as well as sufficient time within any given internship placement to gain a depth of appreciation for its context and mission.
Second, that the program should be collaborative. In order for students to maximize the benefits of interreligious learning, they should be called upon to work in teams that foster engagement and intimacy.
Third, that every aspect of the program should be purposeful. The emotional, spiritual, and intellectual investments such a program will require of its participants in turn demand substantive content with real-world value.
Over the coming year, representatives of Bayan Claremont, AJRCA, CST, and the University of the West will work together to design a program curriculum, and to establish relationships with religious communities, faith-based organizations, and secular non-profits in Southern California willing to serve as placement sites for future intern cohorts.
CST is currently seeking a qualified candidate to serve as the project manager for the program design process. He or she will be called upon coordinate logistics for the new working group and to conduct best practices research on collaborative practical training models used in other disciplines and professions. Interested parties are encouraged to consult the position description posted on the CST website.
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