University of Dubuque

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August 12, 2004
University Receives Valparaiso Grant:

The University of Dubuque recently received a $10,000 grant from the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith for a proposal developed by Paul Jeffries, associate professor of philosophy and religion. This "Practicing our Faith" grant will focus on UD students enrolled in the 3/3 Program (for non-traditional, second-career students pursuing their undergraduate studies as well as master of divinity degree in a six-year time frame.)

Students enrolled in the 3/3 program encounter a variety of challenges as they begin undergraduate and graduate education in order to prepare for ministry- adjusting to academic study, balancing family and work obligations with their studies, and beginning to make plans toward their future in ministry. The grant will enable the development of a university project that will create a nurturing environment for our undergraduate 3/3 students focusing on the study and integration of Christian practices into their class work, personal lives, and future ministry activities during their undergraduate experience.

"First and foremost, we hope to learn how to better support, encourage, and prepare our undergraduate 3/3 students as they prepare for their transition to the seminary and to a life in Christian ministry," stated Jeffries, project director for this grant. "We also believe that by focusing on Christian practices, we will help nurture not only these students in their spiritual development, but also strengthen the communities in which these students participate."

The Valparaiso Project provides financial support for ventures that help specific communities nurture a way of life shaped by historical Christian practices that have been instrumental in the formation of Christian communities. Such practices include honoring the body, hospitality, household economics, forgiveness, and discernment, to name a few of the behaviors that arechampioned by the Project. Funds provided by the Valparaiso Project enable creative leaders to strengthen teaching, learning, and reflection on, as well as the implementation of, Christian practices within a variety of contexts. Through these diverse activities, the Valparaiso Project seeks to develop resources that speak to the spiritual needs of contemporary society using the substantive wisdom of the Christian faith, especially as this wisdom takes shape in these Christian practices. Previous Project activities include conducting seminars, commissioning books, developing interactive resources for adults and youth, and supporting innovative strategies to strengthen participation in Christian practices in a variety of life settings.

The Valparaiso Project is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., a private philanthropic foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana and is based at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.