Communities of Learning are collaborative, ecumenical, and geographical cohorts of students and ministry leaders committed to connecting congregations with their communities. Through this program, M.Div. students participating in field education placements in the same geographical area meet together with ministry and nonprofit leaders to collaborate on strengthening their communities.
Communities of Learning affirm what we already know: that churches do not exist in a vacuum; they exist inside a larger context, a community of stakeholders who share a vested interest in the community’s flourishing. The Communities of Learning model for field education forms ministerial leaders with the competencies, leadership skills, and missional imagination to impact a community through churches and nonprofits, while contributing to systemic change, community development, and serving others.
Thriving Communities Fellowship
While Communites of Learning are open to all M.Div. students through field education, the program is an important component of the Thriving Communities Fellowship. In addition to receiving full-tuition scholarships, Thriving Communities Fellows participate in signature programming tailored to their vocational aims, including mentoring, a travel experience hosted by Duke faculty, and cohort-based professional formation and events. Fellows, along with other M.Div. students, are also eligible to receive stipends totaling up to $30,000 through participation in the Communities of Learning program.
Connecting Congregations to Communities
Through Communities of Learning we are:
- utilizing the rural church as a teaching and learning context for student interns
- cross-pollinating and collaborating among community stakeholders for strengthened relationships and sustained engagement
- forming leaders who can lead both inside the church and within a community
- fostering excitement and theological imagination about the pastoral vocation in both students and current practitioners
- including faculty and staff partners in each cohort, bringing the classroom to the field and creating a feedback loop to the classroom
- practicing building community through conversations
Students participate in Communities of Learning in fulfillment of the field education requirements of the M.Div. degree. Communities of Learning take place in both the summer and academic year placement periods in a variety of contexts. Ministry leaders who are interested in participating in a community of learning are encouraged to contact the Office of Field Education.
Building Community Connections
Our students have found that participating in a Community of Learning gives them a chance to discuss and explore a wide variety of topics that are important to the life of their community, and work together with other ministry and nonprofit leaders to connect congregations with their communities.