New Programs Launched at CMU
The menu of options available to students at CMU is growing, now that the
university is adding or formalizing programs in Communication & Media, Disaster
Recovery Studies, Business & Organizational Administration and Master of Arts in
Through the new major in Communications & Media, students can develop their
communication skills while using “faith-informed thinking to examine the ways
society tells stories and communicates values,” says Donald Benham, who directs
Additionally, students can take various electives that can help them “gain an
understanding of, and appreciation for, the wider world--a background that will
make them better and more employable communicators,” he adds.
Benham, who has a Bachelor’s of Journalism and an M.A. in Canadian Studies,
has worked as a writer and editor for several newspapers and as a host and
producer at CBC Radio. He has also taught journalism at Winnipeg’s Red River
Benham says that CMU’s program will provide students with a foundation for
future work, service or study through classroom instruction and practical
The new major has been made possible by the generous support of Elmer
Hildebrand, founder and owner of the Manitoba-based Golden West Radio Network.
He sees the program as a way to help students develop skills they can use in
journalism and other communications-related work.
Of special interest to Hildebrand is how the program can graduate students
who are sensitive to the spiritual dimension of life. “Relatively few people in
the media today seem to have a spiritual grounding or ability to understand the
spiritual dimensions of so many news stories,” he says. “My dream is that this
program can produce graduates who are skilled communicators, but who are
grounded spiritually as well.”
The Disaster Recovery Studies (DRS) program, created in partnership with
Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), is designed to provide students with the
experience, skills and knowledge they need to be involved in the many facets of
long-term disaster recovery.
“The goal of the program is to help students understand the nature of
disasters, their aftermath and the best ways to help people and communities
recover physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually,” says Academic
Dean Gordon Zerbe.
Unlike other disaster studies programs in Canada, CMU’s program targets “the
extremely important-but often overlooked-long-term work of helping residents of
a community recover from a disaster,” he says.
The three or four-year program combines classroom instruction with two
hands-on practical field assignments in a disaster area with MDS; students
accepted into the program will be eligible for bursaries of up to $2,500 upon
completion of each of the two field assignments.
“Across Canada, there is an increasing awareness of the importance of
long-term recovery, like that provided by MDS,” says Gord Friesen, who formerly
directed MDS in Canada. “But if it is going to be done well we need
specially-trained people to fill the growing number of job openings in this
important area, working alongside our thousands of volunteers cleaning up and
rebuilding homes after disasters.”
The new program has been made possible by a grant from MDS, together with
support from the estate of Jacob and Maria Ens of Rheinland, Man., and from C.N.
and Laura Friesen of Winnipeg.
From its founding in 2000, CMU’s vision included offering courses in
business, leadership and organizational administration. “There is the need for a
solid, credible degree that combines faith and business studies with strong
links to the church and with Christians working in the business world,” says
David Leis, Vice President for Advancement.
The program, which has been made possible by the financial support of
Mennonite church members involved in business across Canada, is slated to begin
as a major next fall. It will offer students a three-year B.A. in business and
organizational studies “that integrates the study of business and organization
with a Christian worldview, along with practical hands-on internships,” Leis
The program will challenge students with rigorous academic programming and
practical hands-on internships, he adds, noting that it is intended to “help
students develop their character so they can deal with the real ethical and
moral issues they will face in a complex marketplace.”
At present, no other Canadian Mennonite post-secondary institution offers a
program in this area. “Our world needs inspired, competent and creative
Christian business and organizational leadership more than ever,” says Leis. “I
believe this program will enable CMU to prepare the next generation of Christian
business and organizational leaders.”
In addition to the new undergraduate programs, CMU launched its first
graduate program this fall.
Called the Master of Arts in Theological Studies, it is designed for people
who want to prepare for doctoral programs or strengthen their capacity for
ministry. Twenty-eight students have registered for classes offered in the
program for the 2007-08 academic year.
“This degree provides graduate theological education for women and men who
wish to nurture their capacity for theological reflection at the intersection of
learning and life,” says program director Gordon Matties.
In addition to offering CMU’s own graduate courses, the program draws on
CMU’s partnership with the Winnipeg Centre for Ministry Studies, to which
Steinbach Bible College, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Mennonite
Brethren Biblical Seminary contribute courses. M.A. Students can also take
courses through the Winnipeg Theological Cooperative, with is centred at the
University of Winnipeg Faculty of Theology.
Posted November 17, 2007
For more information contact CMU Communications Director, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 2N2, telephone: 204-487-3300 ext. 630, fax: 204-889-1694, (www.cmu.ca)