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North Park’s Liberal Arts, Experiential Learning Curriculum Aim to Keep Graduates Working in Illinois

North Park University President David L. Parkyn addresses the City Club of Chicago on how liberal arts education keeps an engaged citizenry working and living in Illinois.

CHICAGO (January 6, 2017) — On Thursday, January 19, North Park University President David L. Parkyn, along with Dominican University President Donna Carroll, will speak at an event hosted by the City Club of Chicago. The day’s topic is the national challenge of growing tomorrow’s workforce, as well as the state-wide challenge of keeping Illinois’ graduates here post-degree. The panelists will explore how a liberal arts education prepares students with the in-demand skills that keep businesses competitive—and the programs they implemented to help students build ties with the community.

Building an Engaged, Employable Citizenry through Experiential Curriculum

For Parkyn, “connecting college students to the world that surrounds them is key to building an engaged citizenry.” North Park University recognizes a close link between students engaging in hands-on experiential learning opportunities and building a connection to their surroundings. The University has established meaningful learning opportunities outside the classroom that help students become active citizens, who contribute to Illinois’ workforce by landing jobs in the state.

North Park’s experiential learning curriculum—offered through programs including Engage Chicago, the Chicago Intensive, and CRUX—prepares students to work in diverse environments. These hands-on experiences teach students how to be agile in diverse settings—skills transferable to the workforce. Situated in an urban setting, North Park embraces the city of Chicago as part of its curriculum. Students enjoy direct experience working with partner organizations, including nonprofits and civic organizations. “Having the chance to be part of the inner-workings of an organization prepares undergraduates with an understanding of what it means to make a contribution as they enter the workforce,” says Dr. Parkyn.

Value in the Liberal Arts

By way of example, professional services like accounting and tax firms are increasingly changing their business models. Many manual tasks have been eliminated by technology and automation. However, these businesses still need to stay connected with their clients to understand their needs and build trust. The client-service relationship requires strong interpersonal communication abilities. An education in the liberal arts, among other foundational skills acquired, provides a well-developed repertoire of soft skills transferable to in-demand jobs.

Soft skills cultivated from a liberal arts education are used in business settings to understand client needs and respond to them strategically, creatively, and with thoughtful communication. Gregor Thuswaldner, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at North Park, points out, “A history major, for instance, learns to digest disparate information, analyze outcomes, and form an analysis to build a case for consideration; an art major must be original in his or her creativity, thinking about how the audience will receive the art form and how to connect with their audience.”

“A liberal arts education is one that stretches the mind to use creativity and critical thinking to solve complex problems,” says Dr. Parkyn. North Park University designs its liberal arts academic programming so that graduates are well-prepared to make a noticeable contribution to the workforce as engaged citizens with transferable, in-demand skills.

Learn more about North Park’s academic programs.

 Watch the Address

Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities: A Hidden Resource for Chicago and Illinois from City Club of Chicago on Vimeo.

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Festival of Lessons and Carols Highlights Talent of North Park Students, Staff

Performances by Chicago Children’s Choir and North Park’s Gospel Choir, Touring Ensemble, and Orchestra highlight Advent themes.

CHICAGO (December 15, 2016) — North Park University presented its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at St. Hilary Catholic Church in Chicago. The Advent service was a collaboration of more than 175 North Park musicians and the Chicago Children’s Choir—Albany Park Division.

The title of the program, Angel Voices Ring, was taken from the finale piece Carol to the King by Mack Wilberg. The performance featured a wide variety of music, sung in multiple languages, as well as original pieces.

Highlights included musical pieces arranged, composed, or conducted by North Park students, staff, and alumni. Stephen Kelly, worship coordinator in North Park’s University Ministries, composed Magnificat, which was performed by the North Park University Gospel Choir Touring Ensemble and Band. The University Choir and the Orchestra performed Glory to God, a piece written by North Park composition student Eric Pearson. “There were people standing on the outskirts of pews, all of them waiting to hear our voices. The faces of the crowd responded to our cries,” said Hannah Geil, a member of the Touring Ensemble.

“We especially rejoice at the hospitality of the Church of St. Hilary. May the light of Advent kindle our lives this night,” President David L. Parkyn said as he addressed the audience. “Let us make this church, dedicated to St. Hilary, resound most gladly with our carols and praise.”

Originally held on Christmas Eve in 1918 in Cambridge, England, the Festival of Lessons and Carols service comes from the Anglican tradition. An alternating series of Scripture readings and music tell the story of Christ, from the creation of the world to the birth of Jesus. Geil summed up the evening, “All I could do was smile, because it was clear that God had used us that night.” 

 

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Illinois State Legislators Call for Unity at North Park University

North Park University and Illinois State Legislative Black and Latino Caucuses came together as a community in a time of political polarization.

CHICAGO (December 13, 2016) — In a forum moderated by Illinois Business Immigration Coalition’s Executive Director Rebecca Shi, Illinois State Legislators engaged the North Park University community on tensions surrounding the past election cycle. To foster a time of healing and reconciliation, the Illinois State Legislative Black and Latino Caucuses along with North Park sought to embody a spirit of hospitality to all students and the community.

Confirmed Legislators

Bringing a unique lens as public officials, Illinois legislators explored concerns the political process has caused among their constituents. Legislators attending the forum included:

  • Ill. State Representative of the 24th District: Elizabeth Hernandez, Illinois Legislative Latino caucus member
  • Ill. State Representative of the 30th District: William Davis, Illinois Legislative Black caucus member
  • Ill. State Representative of the 13th District: Gregory Harris

Building an Engaged Citizenry Through Open Conversation

As part of North Park’s experiential learning philosophy and curriculum, “the forum aims for students to become active participants in the democratic process, one of the hallmarks of a meaningful education,” says North Park University’s Urban Outreach Coordinator, Richard Kohng.

Event Details

This free, ticketed event, along with a dinner, was held Tuesday, December 6, 2016 from 6:00–7:30 pm on North Park’s campus at Hamming Hall.

 

 

 

 

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5 Reasons to Check Out the New Northpark.edu

It’s launch week! We at University Marketing and Communications have been working hard on a new Northpark.edu for several months, and we wanted to share with you a few features we think you’ll love.

1. Mobile-Responsive Design.
First and foremost: the new website works on your phone. No more squinting, flipping your phone horizontal, and trying to zoom in. The site responds beautifully to different devices, so you can easily navigate to all the resources you need—on the fly.

2. Reimagined My North Park.
When we kicked off this project, we held meetings to hear from faculty, staff, and students. We asked questions like, “What was most frustrating on the website? What were you looking for in the new site?”

We heard you loud and clear: Navigating to your email, WebAdvisor, Moodle, and other vital resources was difficult. My North Park was a major source of frustration.

Introducing . . . myNPU! We spent a lot of time prioritizing, reorganizing, and decluttering. Then we represented it in a visual, clean way.

You can now select your profile as Student, Faculty, or Staff Member, and you’ll be served the resources that are most useful to you. Your browser should even remember who you are.

We hope this makes your busy NPU life just a little bit easier.

3. Awesome. Content.
While our on-campus constituents were a major priority while redesigning the website, our number-one goal was to help prospective students get to know North Park more easily—and consider it as a choice for their college education.

To that end, we put together some pretty cool new content to roll out with the new site, which you can enjoy too:

4. Find Your Faculty.
We’ve put together a streamlined faculty and staff directory, where you can get to know (and easily reach) North Park’s accomplished professors and professionals.

5. #NPUBrandNew.
Alongside the website project, we’ve also been rebranding the University. You’ve probably seen our new logo by now. This website is our first major, public rollout of the new brand. We hope you enjoy the visual identity and feel it’s a great representation of NPU.


Honorable Mention
Ever get frustrated figuring out who to call or email with your question? We’ve put together a comprehensive contact list for all the departments and resources on our campus. So you can call, email, or get to know whomever you’re looking for!

Have Feedback?
We’d love to hear your ideas.

Special Thanks

  • York & Chapel, the agency who helped us with this project
  • Our campus partners, who provided input and feedback
  • The entire University Marketing and Communications team
  • Our wonderful student worker, a talented photographer who shot most of the headshots on our website: Leah Emerson
  • President Parkyn, Vice President Genaro Balcazar, and all the NPU administration for their support
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Campus Message from North Park University President David L. Parkyn

The safety and support of our students are our highest priority.

President David L. ParkynCHICAGO (November 22, 2016) — One week ago I wrote to our campus community twice on the same day in related messages. On each occasion the general topic of my communication was to reiterate our campus commitment to civility in our life together. In these messages I stressed that interactions based on hate have no place at North Park.

The second message in particular was prompted by an incident of intolerance that occurred in a student’s off-campus residence. I’m writing today to notify our community that this incident has been fully investigated and resolved. Sadly, we discovered that the incident and related messages were fabricated; the individual responsible for the incident is not continuing as a student at North Park. We are confident there is no further threat of repeated intolerance to any member of our campus community stemming from this recent incident.

I want to state again two central topics of my previous messages. The first is that the safety of and support for our students is of highest priority for us as an educational community. The second is that, rooted in our understanding of and commitment to the Christian gospel, we are committed to embracing all people who enroll as students and who are employed at North Park. Interactions between individuals should always reflect our campus ethos of “open inquiry, integrity, and civility;” these are the principles that guide our life together, the dialogue between us, and the learning context of the university at large.

When student safety is compromised, and when institutional values are not maintained, we will respond with resolve as we did in the most recent incident. Additionally, we ask members of the community to reflect our institutional ethos and commitment in our interpersonal relationships—through inclusion, civility, dialogue, respect, hospitality, and a mutual love for God and all people.

As is our national tradition, this week we gather with family and friends across our country to give thanks—for our community, for our nation, for each other. We do so at North Park as well, giving thanks to God for this special community that is our educational home. Blessings to each one as we travel near and far; may God protect us by his gracious and ready help.

David L. Parkyn
President

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Introducing North Park University’s New Logo

The new mark honors the institution’s 125-year legacy, while pointing to a bold future.

CHICAGO (November 17, 2016) — North Park University this week unveiled its new logo, which harkens to the University’s history in Chicago. The cupola is a depiction of the first campus building, Old Main, built in 1893. Once the tallest point on the north side of Chicago, the cupola was historically used as a guiding landmark for pilots landing at Orchard Field (now O’Hare International Airport).

In the new rendition of this architectural feature, the steeple breaks out of a shield, emphasizing North Park University’s continued role as a directional point for students, alumni, and community members. A cross is visible towards the top of the symbol, a reflection of the University’s identity, which is “rooted in Christianity, with open arms.”

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Founded by the Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church, North Park has long identified with the colors blue and gold, originally drawn from the Swedish flag. This is maintained in the new logo, as well as the marker “CHICAGO,” indicating North Park’s continued commitment to engaging its urban environment.


Located in Chicago, North Park University is a Christian comprehensive university that serves nearly 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students from around the country and the world. Within a diverse, close-knit, urban community, North Park offers a values-based education to students through more than 40 undergraduate majors and an adult degree-completion program, as well as graduate and continuing education in business, nonprofit management, nursing, education, music, and theology. By integrating faith with learning—as it has done since its founding in 1891 by the Evangelical Covenant Church—North Park University continues to focus on the important task of preparing students for lives of significance and service.

Follow North Park University on Twitter @NPU. Learn more about North Park University.

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An Update from North Park University President David L. Parkyn

Taking action.

President David L. ParkynCHICAGO (November 16, 2016) — In a campus-wide communication on Tuesday, I reminded us that all are welcome at North Park University. I noted that our Christian values call us to be present with each other, to be a neighbor, to welcome, to walk alongside, to show love, to do justice, and to show mercy. Our student standards of conduct exist to teach students how to live in relationship to each other and behave respectfully.

Additionally, I noted that messages and expressions of hate have no place on our campus. Words and symbols of hate are not only hurtful and cause pain, they demonstrate intolerance for others, place victims in positions of fear, and threaten their personal safety. On our campus, the safety and security of our students is our highest priority. It is because of this priority, alongside our commitment to being a welcoming and hospitable community, that we denounce hate speech in any form.

Of late, there has been evidence of intolerance that is counter to our climate of civility. We fully investigate all incidents that involve violations to the rights and dignity of any person. We follow with appropriate action through student conduct proceedings.

We ask God to send us His amazing grace as we work to love and care for all students on our campus.

Please keep North Park University in your prayers,

David L. Parkyn
President

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A Message from North Park University President David L. Parkyn

Remembering who we are.

President David L. ParkynCHICAGO (November 15, 2016) — Many from our campus community gathered yesterday morning in Anderson Chapel for conversation. Our topics ranged widely from our individual and collective thoughts on the presidential election, to life on campus, learning together, and living together. Deep emotions were evident among us, including expressions of grief, fear, pain and uncertainty, alongside a desire to know how to care for each other. As university president I was pleased to be present and to participate, primarily by listening, as did many others.

I am grateful for the leadership of Provost Emerson and Vice President Koslow Martin in organizing the event. And I join the rest of our community in thanking the members of the panel which guided and informed our discussion: student government president Steve Smrt; professors Joe Alulis, Sarah Doherty, Rupe Simms, and Jon Peterson; and staff members Pam Bozeman and Jonathan Dodrill. The discussion was also strengthened by questions and comments from students and others from our community in attendance.

Where, now, should we turn to guide our life together going forward?

We turn in this direction: We remember who we are.

At North Park we hold to seven educational ideals—principles that shape learning on our campus. Though all seven are important, today I’m drawn especially to two.

First, at North Park we hold to an education that “embraces all people and celebrates the richness of cultural difference.”

All students are to be welcomed at North Park, no exceptions. The same holds true for members of our faculty and staff, with one caveat: as an expression of our Christian mission, members of our full-time faculty and staff are to be people of Christian faith.

Differences between us at North Park reach across culture and ethnicity, to be sure, yet they stretch much further than this. Our diversity includes where we come from, the languages we speak, our places of citizenship, our commitments of faith, political perspectives and preferences we embrace, gender and sexual identity and orientation, and much, much more.

Our commitment to embrace all people at North Park is rooted in our understanding of and commitment to the Christian gospel. In just a few weeks, Christians around the globe will celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas. The story of the incarnation reminds us of who we are, people welcomed by God who “was made flesh” to be present with us. Our responsibility is to “put on flesh” as well, to be present with each other, to be neighbors, to welcome, to walk alongside, to show love, to do justice and show mercy.

Second, at North Park we hold to an education that “encourages dialogue as a means of learning where open inquiry, integrity, and civility guide our life together.” All people are welcome at North Park so that we can talk together, and thereby learn together. There is privilege in this, yet there also is responsibility.

If North Park were a community in which we all thought the same and agreed on every question we would not need to worry much about dialogue. Conversation would be filled with perspectives much like our own. In such a setting we would not hear much from each other we didn’t already know or agree with, and as a result North Park would not provide a very rich or deep learning community. And through this kind of environment students would not be “prepared for lives of significance and service.”

By contrast, the people who comprise North Park are characterized by difference and diversity. This is how we want it—this is who we are. Throughout this school’s history, we have agreed that learning is enriched by the inclusion of a wide array of individuals and perspectives, and we have purposefully fostered this kind of community in our faculty, staff, and especially our student body.

At North Park each student (as well as faculty and staff) brings to our campus an anthology of life experiences—a personal story. Each story counts, it is a story to be shared, a story through which others can and will learn.

One challenge, of course, is that while differences of thought and perspective can lead to learning they can also lead to misunderstanding. This in turn can feed bias, and bias can sometimes give rise to responses which offend and are occasionally characterized more by hate than by love.

Interaction based on hate has no place at North Park. Our lives together and our conversations should radiate respect, civility of thought and speech, an embrace of love and care. Because we affirm difference as a university, it is essential that we each learn to live lovingly in this community. This commitment to be a community guided by Christian love was expressed eloquently by several members of yesterday’s panel.

The differences between us—regarding how we express faith, a relative position on a political continuum, sexual identity and orientation, ethnic and cultural norms, and a host of other topics, questions, and points of conversation—are real. Our differences will challenge us, but should our diversity be a force that separates us or can it be a course that draws us toward each other? At North Park we do not seek to eliminate difference and disagreement within the campus community, yet we do seek to draw people closer together—through inclusion, civility, dialogue, respect, hospitality, and a mutual love for God and all people.

We live together; we learn together; even as we worship and pray as a campus community. Let’s commit over the days and weeks ahead to remember who we are.

David L. Parkyn
President

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New Diversity Team Focuses on Intercultural Campus Initiatives

Alumna Jacqueline Strapp began as director of diversity this fall

jackie-strapp-copyCHICAGO (October 24, 2016) — In an effort to better serve its intercultural campus community, North Park University launched its strategic new Diversity Team this academic year. Consisting of University Dean Dr. Liza Ann Acosta, Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement Dr. Barrington Price, Director of Diversity Jacqueline Strapp, and Director of the International Office Dr. Sumie Song, the team will focus on student success and recruitment, as well as retention of diverse students and faculty.

Strapp, who joined the staff this fall, is a 2008 North Park graduate. Her return to campus follows the appointment of Acosta as University dean and the creation of Price’s new role over the summer.

Acosta works with deans across campus to create strategies for faculty development and diversification, while Price, formerly the director of student success, provides leadership for students to effectively navigate college transition and establish clear pathways to graduation. Song will now also guide global campus conversations within the context of the diversity team.

Strapp calls the University’s approach to diversity programming “cutting-edge.” Here, she shares her thoughts on what compelled her to return to North Park, how the Office of Diversity is expanding its initiatives, and how their work addresses everyone on campus.

North Park: What made you want to return to North Park as a staff member?

Jacqueline Strapp: Having the chance to come back to North Park and really make some changes that I wish were being done for me when I was a student was an amazing opportunity. So I jumped at the chance to do that. I worked for some great institutions before I came here, but nothing can compare to being back where you started everything. I have a vested interest in North Park.

NP: What are some of the new initiatives that the Office of Diversity will be pursuing?

JS: We’re going to have a real focus on student success. It’s something that’s worked very well for the COMPASS program, helping students get integrated into college life and providing them with success counselors. So we’re going to emulate a lot of those practices. My background is in student success, making sure we’re increasing retention rates, specifically with students who are of minority status. So that’s really going to be helpful for us.

We also want to talk about topics that maybe have been avoided in the past on campus. What I’m hearing from students in conversations and from the administration is that we’re in a climate where we can’t ignore things anymore, we can’t talk around it.

NP: What are some of the sponsored talks you’re hosting?

JS: We’re going to hit things head-on, and we’re going to do things like talk about Black Lives Matter; immigration; “Race and Politics,” an event we just held, focused on some of the racial tensions that have been expanding in our country, and what that means for students.

This relates to student success because it’s very difficult for students to be successful with a lot of these things playing in the backdrops of their mind. You can’t separate a successful student from their experience—it goes together. So we’re addressing these issues and giving students places to talk about them safely.

We’re going to make sure we have a wide spectrum of views, and give students a chance to voice things that they’re thinking about. The process of letting people hear from others that are different from them, and becoming informed on things that maybe they weren’t before, is going to be huge. So this is going to play out on our campus in a lot of different areas.

 

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NP: How does the work of the Diversity Team differ from how we’ve approached these issues in the past?

JS: The Division of Student Engagement has been really intentional in making sure we’re giving focus to each one of the areas represented on the team, whereas before, it’s largely fallen only to the Office of Diversity. So now with me specifically focusing on students, Barrington expanding his programs, Dr. Acosta focusing on faculty and staff, and Sumie focusing on the greater global picture, I feel like we have a dream team. I’m excited about the role we’re going to play on campus, making sure that we’re keeping leadership informed about things that are happening, how what’s going on in the world is impacting our students, and the changes that they want to make.

We’re going to start off by making sure our approach is data-driven. We’re going to conduct focus groups, including a climate survey for diversity across the entire campus, and we’re going to use the results from these focus groups and surveys to influence what we’re going to tackle first.

NP: How does Dr. Price’s work in student success within Student Engagement interact with yours within the Office of Diversity?

JS: Barrington has done great work with the COMPASS program, and working withLighthouse and those cohort models. So our future-thinking is that we’re going to implement some cohorts and expand on what has already been done in COMPASS. They’ve done a great job of mentoring students—minority students, specifically—and encouraging their retention at North Park. I looked at the data and said, “Whoa. We’re going to have to emulate this elsewhere.”

The Office of Diversity is under Student Engagement, and we’re going to be more intentional about making sure that our efforts are the same. We’re going to expand programming, and some of them will be working directly with me.

The Diversity Team is about focusing our positions, and zooming in on these specific things. That’s the difference that I love about this job. When I first heard about it, I thought, “Wow, that’s very intentional.” It’s cutting-edge for an institution to even take the time to change the structure and think strategically in this way.

NP: What are some of the ways that work will be expanded?

JS: We’re not just focusing on creating groups and places of community for individuals of minority backgrounds, but we’re also focusing on educating students that are outside of the minority status on issues and sensitivities that they need to have in order for them to be successful as whatever they plan to do in the world. They have to learn how to work with people of diverse backgrounds.

So that’s something else that’s going to be very intentionally targeted. Our events will not just be for minority students, although we do still have those. We’re going to be intentional about addressing the entire campus.


Follow North Park University on Twitter @NPU. Learn more about North Park University.

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Q & A with Provost Emerson on North Park’s Chicago Intensive

Chicago Intensive program part of University curriculum combining classroom and experiential learning

michaeloemerson-250CHICAGO (October 21, 2016) — North Park University’s Chicago Intensive is a semester-long urban experiential program with all classes and hands-on learning focused on the city of Chicago. Designed to foster learning in the context of relationships, students in the program share the same curriculum, with opportunities for group discussion and interaction.

Intended for students in their second year at North Park—after they’re comfortable with the university experience, but before being fully immersed in their major classes—the program’s cohort serves and learns together. Courses address the urban context, students volunteer with community-based organizations across Chicago, and faculty facilitate firsthand exploration of the city.

The Chicago Intensive first ran as a pilot program last spring, continues this fall, and will expand next semester. Here, Provost Dr. Michael O. Emerson shares his thoughts on the nature, history, and future of the program.

What was the thinking behind launching the Chicago Intensive?

I believe it’s important to find meaningful ways to engage North Park students with the world around them—but also to bridge the gap between theory and practice. There’s plenty of valuable learning happening in the classroom, but with North Park situated in Chicago, it’s a terrific opportunity for students to get to know the city and our world on a much deeper level.

What is the Chicago Intensive concept?

The concept is likened to study abroad, where students have the opportunity to learn about something entirely new in a hands-on experiential learning format. The program taps into the city right here, and engages our students in a unique way not found in the classroom.

Will it take longer to complete my undergraduate degree?

The curriculum is designed to work in conjunction with meeting general education requirements, so there is no time lost in completing your degree.

What does the Chicago Intensive curriculum entail?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the cohort takes classes together on campus. The curriculum is designed around best practices of educational goals—both in-the-classroom academic and hands-on experiential learning—and each course is focused in some way on Chicago. On Mondays and Fridays, the students spend time in their assigned nonprofit organizations, organizations striving for a better Chicago. On Wednesdays, the cohort travels together with their instructors to visit specific sites, and then spends time processing the experience and talking about how it all fits together.

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 What kind of outings do students go on?

Students have had hands-on learning experiences ranging from community-based organizations like urban gardening to business-oriented subject matter like visiting a downtown courtroom.

 

How does the Chicago Intensive tie into North Park’s Christian, urban, and intercultural mission and values?

The origin of the program is very much connected to our Christian tradition and commitment to intercultural community. Students engage the city not just through academics, but by serving its people through our ministries, and learning from the diverse people of Chicago. The Chicago Intensive is designed to provide ample opportunities for students to focus on the meaning of living a life of significance and service.

What is behind North Park’s focus on students having a complete and fulfilling college experience?

Our faculty is here to teach and prepare the next generation. The student body is diverse, and as a society, we need to educate a broader base of students—the educators at North Park are in tune with what’s needed for a thriving society, and recognize that the status quo of only educating the elite is something we need to be active in demystifying.

What type of student will get the most out of the Chicago Intensive?

Students who are motivated by justice and making the world a better place. We’re here to teach and support students in being part of a team to make a real difference.

Why is North Park investing in this program, without a tuition increase?

We care deeply about our students and their success and are always looking for ways to provide our students the highest quality comprehensive college experience, expanding academics, faith, and exposure to hands-on learning off-campus. Our Christian values are rooted in making a high-quality education accessible to a student body made up of diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Because Chicago is a world-class city, our students will benefit greatly from understanding it and learning from it. They will be prepared for today’s global world.

Given your background as an urban sociologist, what are your thoughts on how living and working in a major metropolitan city influences a career?

Studies have shown that students who have their first job in large cities like Chicago—regardless of their actual job or title—rise up the ranks faster, are promoted more often, and earn a higher wage. This is because the best and brightest are attracted to global cities, and they are the sites of the world’s innovation, creativity, and inventions.  Rubbing shoulders with such people and organizations benefits students for a lifetime.

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How far back do North Park’s roots go to being in a major metropolitan city?

North Park just celebrated its 125th anniversary. Over the years, the University was offered land outside the city, but the decision was made in 1980 to stay in our original urban location. This decision was thoughtful and deliberate, as North Park’s identity as an Christian, urban, and intercultural institution has remained consistent—students and graduates develop real connections with the city, the people around them, opportunities for career growth, and opportunities for truly rich, meaningful lives in service to others.

How is being in a cohort part of the Chicago Intensive experience?

In a cohort, you learn from one another’s strengths, and in the same way, students get to role model their strengths—it’s a win-win where students serve as leader and learner. And together, the cohort works to problem-solve, a valuable skill, transferable as students and graduates pursue their career paths.

How does the Chicago Intensive contribute toward growing Illinois’s workforce and building an engaged citizenry?

Participating in the Chicago Intensive is engaging in nature, where students are exposed to the complexities of community-related and real business issues, requiring creative thinking, problem solving, and polished communication skills to work together in a team environment. The hope and goal is for students to form relationships within the community, build a connection to Chicago, and find good and meaningful careers and vocations.

What faculty members are leading the program?

Dr. Rachelle Ankney, professor of mathematics, and Rich Kohng, Urban Outreach coordinator with University Ministries, launched and lead the Chicago Intensive and continue to monitor learning best practices.

To learn more about North Park’s Chicago Intensive, please contact Dr. Ankney at rankney@northpark.edu, or Rev. Kohng at rkohng@northpark.edu.


Follow North Park University on Twitter @NPU. Learn more about North Park University.

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