ELIZABETHTON — With five new residence halls opened this academic year on the Milligan campus, there came a new course which has its roots deep in the college’s tradition of developing Christian servant leaders for the community.
The Living and Learning Community Discipleship is a course open only to juniors and seniors who are residents of the new academic village built on the highest point on the campus.
Five men and five women were selected from those who applied to take the course, which offers two credit hours per semester.
The students not only take a weekly class together, they experience life together as suite mates. They also have dinner together on Sundays.
Five men live together in one of the new suites and five women live together in another suite. This year’s class was especially nice, because the students became the first to live in the new residence halls.
Two of the students in the class are Courtney Blair, a junior from Cincinnati, who is in nursing, and Christian Brewer, a junior from Knoxville, in business sports management. Both said they are enjoying the course.
Blair said she was not attracted to the course at first. She deleted the first email about it that was sent to all students and tuned out the mention of it during chapel. But she prayed about it and decided it wouldn’t hurt to apply the day before the deadline. “I found it was the most fun application I had ever done.”
Brewer said he had an easier time deciding to take the course. Several of his friends were also applying and were accepted.
Kristal Dove is the professor for the course. She also lives with the students because one of her duties is to be the resident director of the five new residence halls in the village and also three other dorms, Williams, Kegley and Quillen halls.
Dove is also director of campus activities and an adjunct professor. She strongly believes in the value of a liberal arts education and a holistic approach to learning. She said the Living and Learning Community course fits in well with those beliefs.
“The students take the things they are learning in the classroom and apply them to their life outside the classroom,” Dove said.
She said a lot of colleges have developed such courses, both large universities and smaller liberal arts colleges. Milligan’s emphasis on developing Christian servants is seen in how the class is structured.
Each semester, the students must choose two service projects. One is for service on campus and one is to serve the community. Dove said the students make all the decisions on what to do and when to do it. Since they all have different schedules, they must work out a time when they can do the service project together.
For their campus project in the fall, the class decided to pick up litter. Their community project was to assist Northridge Community Church in setting up a new campus on West Market Street in Johnson City.
Blair said the students have already decided on the projects to do for the spring. The on-campus project is to cultivate a small garden. The community project is to work with the Melting Pot in Johnson City one Saturday in April.
Blair said there have been challenging projects in class also. One both Blair and Brewer mentioned was a requirement for each student to develop a spiritual heritage map, to show how the student’s faith developed.
Blair developed a multimedia project that included video, a mosaic, and PowerPoint displays to highlight her spiritual heritage.
Brewer’s project included a real map to show the global impact on his life, His parents were missionaries in Zimbabwe.
The course is just one part of the spiritual journey Blair and Brewer and taking, but the lessons they are learning in and out of Dove’s classroom are intended to blend nicely with all the other lessons that the liberal arts curriculum at Milligan is providing.