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JCFS honours CMU Music Therapy practicum collaboration

On June 19, Jewish Child and Family Service (JCFS), honoured Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) Music Therapy program, for their collaboration with JCFS’s new Music and Memory program.

In January, staff at JCFS approached CMU about partnering in a brand-new program for older adults in different stages of memory loss.

Cheryl Hirsh Katz, Lee-Anne Adams, and Einat Paz-Keynan
L-R: Cheryl Hirsh Katz, Manager of Adult Services, JCFS, Lee-Anne Adams, Instructor of Music Therapy, CMU, and Einat Paz-Keynan, Manager of Volunteer Services, JCFS, celebrate the collaboration between CMU’s Music Therapy program and JCFS’s Music and Memory program.
(photo courtesy of JCFS).

“We thought it would be a good fit,” says Einat Paz-Keynan, Manager of Volunteer Services at JCFS. “Between our needs for the Music and Memory program, and their skills in Music Therapy, as well as their field placement requirements, it was a perfect match.”

The goal of the Music and Memory program is to help people with memory loss unlock memories not yet lost to illnesses like Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and to reinvigorate participants, enabling them to converse and stay present.

From January to April, CMU Music Therapy program students Deidra Borus and Michaela Olson, met with clients in their homes, bringing iPods pre-programmed with music specially selected for the client.

Initially, they would play the music from the iPod, and listen to it with the clients. But as the semester progressed, Borus and Olson started to bring in the element of live music.

“I would find out what their favourite songs were, and I would learn it on guitar,” says Borus. “Playing and singing provided a different perspective.”

One client Borus met with showed little response at first. But on one particular day, Borus began playing a traditional Jewish hymn, and within seconds, she recalls, the elderly client started speaking the lyrics and was eventually singing along.

“That reaction blew my mind. I’ve never had a client of any age respond to a piece of music that quickly.”

“Deidra and Michaela were able to take it a lot further because of their music therapy skills and training,” says Lee-Anne Adams, one of two Music Therapy Faculty at CMU.

CMU’s Music Therapy program trains students in the skillful and systematic use of music and all of its facets—emotional, mental, social, physical, cognitive, and spiritual—to assist in promoting, maintaining, and restoring health. The program is the only one of its kind offered across the prairie provinces and is accredited by the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT).

“At the beginning, we didn’t know where this would lead,” says Paz-Keynan. “But we’re very happy with the outcomes of the program.”

In the future, Paz-Keynan says JCFS hopes to have more CMU Music Therapy students doing practicum placements with the Music and Memory program.

“I’m really proud of the work our students have done this year,” says Adams. “They did some very beautiful work. And I’m really pleased to have JCFS acknowledge the success of our partnership this way.”

For more information about studying Music Therapy at CMU, visit: http://www.cmu.ca/academics.php?s=musictherapy.

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Articles

Students to explore gender and violence in peacebuilding course

When Dr. Carol Penner was asked to teach a course at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) examining gender, violence, and peacebuilding, she was happy to oblige.

“I think it’s a course that’s really needed by the church,” says Penner, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, ON. “People need to think more about gender and the difference it makes in the church, especially in terms of peacebuilding.”

CMU’s 2017 Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP) is offering the course, titled Gender and Violence: Theology and Peacebuilding, June 19-23.

Carol Penner, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, ON will teach a course titled Gender and Violence: Theology and Peacebuilding during the week of June 19 at CMU’s Canadian School of Peacebuilding

The course will examine the task of peacebuilding from the perspective of feminist theology. It will seek to hear from a variety of voices and explore a range of experiences and thought.

Among the topics the course will explore is that of the role Christianity has played in perpetuating gendered violence.

“In a society that’s ordered in a patriarchal way, where men are at the top of the ladder, women are at the bottom… how does power get distributed?” Penner asks. “Violence is something that happens when there’s unequal power, so for women who have traditionally been at the bottom… violence comes their way.

The church, Penner notes, is part of this ordering of society that puts men in charge and tasks women with doing whatever men say—even the Mennonite church.

“As Mennonites, we’re often brought up to think that we’re all brothers and sisters, (and) you’re not supposed to look at power dynamics—who’s on top and who’s on the bottom,” Penner says.

“Why do men have the power? Why is it this way?” she asks, pointing out that in all Mennonite denominations, men still far outnumber women when it comes to leadership roles.

Penner’s course asks how to construct theologies of peace that are good news for both women and men.

To do that, Penner says, people must listen to the voices of people in both church and society who are in pain.

She points to missing and murdered indigenous women, as well as people who have been victims of physical, sexual and other forms of abuse within many church communities, as two examples.

For Penner, a key question is: How can people in the church use scripture to build mutually supportive relationships, where people can be everything God wants them to be, rather than reducing them to gender stereotypes?

Penner, an alumna of Canadian Mennonite Bible College, one of CMU’s predecessor institutions, has worked for more than two decades as a pastor, a chaplain, a university lecturer, and a freelance writer.

Her experience in the field of peacebuilding, as well as her academic background, made her an obvious choice to teach at the CSOP, says Val Smith, co-director of the school.

“This idea of how gender intersects with violence and peacebuilding felt like an extremely important topic to keep working at,” Smith says. “The subject matter is extremely relevant to our world today, and Dr. Penner comes highly recommended as an excellent teacher.”

Penner will have a full classroom of 30 students when she teaches the course. Her hope for the week is that the students will form a community where they can learn not only from her, but from one another.

“I hope people leave the course perhaps thinking in a new or refreshed way about gender, and feeling positive,” Penner say.

“God calls all of us—women and men—to a deeper life. I’m hoping students leave feeling they have encountered something deeper in their faith in God.”

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General News News Releases

CMU faculty awarded prestigious federal grants

Two professors from Canadian Mennonite University’s Menno Simons College (MSC) are recipients of prestigious federal grant funds through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Dr. Jerry Buckland, Professor of International Development Studies, received a grant worth $263,000. Dr. Kirit Patel, Assistant Professor of International Development Studies, received $75,000.

“These successful grants are a testament to the impressive research track-records of these two professors,” said Dr. Neil Funk-Unrau, Associate Dean of the college. “For MSC, it is an affirmation of the academic community that sustains and supports the work done by our researchers.”​

Dr. Jerry Buckland, Professor of International Development Studies
Dr. Jerry Buckland, Professor of International Development Studies

Buckland’s grant is for a five-year project using financial diaries to better understand the finances of vulnerable Canadians, with a view to financial empowerment.

In two phases, Buckland and his team will explore the economic, social, and regulatory implications of financial products and policies for vulnerable Canadians.

The first phase will look at the financial patterns of participants from Winnipeg and the surrounding area over an 18-month period. The second will follow participants for a further 18 months, but this time the team plans to intervene, providing financial tools for financial empowerment.

“The economy is becoming more financially challenging,” Buckland said. “There are more financial products, more decisions to be made. We’re facing more complicated choices, so we want to understand how vulnerable people work through these complicated choices and difficult challenges.”

Patel’s grant of $75,000 will go toward researching the impacts of Green Benches of State High Courts and National Green Tribunals on disadvantaged communities in Tamil Nadu, Kamataka, and Gujarat states in India.

Dr. Kirit Patel, Assistant Professor of International Development Studies
Dr. Kirit Patel, Assistant Professor of International Development Studies

“Just as divorce cases go before the Family Court, and criminal cases go before the Criminal Courts, in India, environmental cases go before the Environmental Courts,” Patel said. “It’s an innovative idea, and we want to understand the intended and unintended impacts.”

In this initial phase, Patel will examine participation in the environmental judiciary through the lens of local NGOs, women, and the science of Environmental Impact Assessments.

“In developing countries, issues of poverty and the environment are overlapping more and more,” Patel said. “And in these cases, there are often tradeoffs between the environment and the poor.”

SSHRC mandates the training of students, whether undergraduate or graduate.

To that end, Patel and his team have hired three MSC undergraduate students as research interns.

In the fall, Buckland and his team have plans to hire senior undergraduate and graduate students to participate in data collection from the financial diaries.

Both professors are excited to receive funding from SSHRC.

“It was a long process. I would say it was a year in the making,” Buckland said. “SSHRC has a highly acclaimed process for vetting applications. That I got this the first time I applied, I was just thrilled.”

 

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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General News News Releases

CMU announces 2017 Leadership Scholarship winners

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is pleased to name the recipients of this year’s Leadership Scholarships: Nathan Dueck, Westgate Mennonite Collegiate; Bryn Friesen Epp, Westgate Mennonite Collegiate; Joefin Mildred Peter, Johnston Heights Secondary School; Nicole Ternowesky, Vincent Massey High School.

2017 CMU Leadership Scholarship Recipients
2017 CMU Leadership Scholarship Winners: (clock-wise from top left) Nathan Dueck, Bryn Friesen Epp, Joefin Mildred Peter, and Nicole Ternowesky

Four Leadership Scholarships are offered to students who demonstrate significant leadership ability, academic excellence, personal character, service, and vision. Worth up to $14,000 over four years, the Leadership Scholarship is awarded to recent high school graduates.

“CMU received many outstanding submissions for the Leadership Scholarship,” says Lois Nickel, Director of Enrolment Services. “I found this year’s recipients particularly engaging and articulate. We look forward to having them at CMU this fall.”

Students applying for the Leadership Scholarships are required to provide a resume of their leadership involvement, along with two letters of recommendation, and an essay reflecting on a leader who inspires them.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue a humanities degree in a Christian setting,” says Nathan Dueck, whose inspiration comes from Sir Thomas More, a 16th Century lawyer, politician, and later, Catholic Saint.

More’s devotion to public service and the courage to abide by his convictions are traits Dueck hopes to emulate.

Bryn Friesen Epp draws inspiration from Clare Schellenberg, Pastor at Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, who he says, exhibits vulnerability, strength, integrity, and commitment to service—important qualities of good leadership.

“Clare modelled great leadership for me, and I look forward to learning from more great mentors at CMU,” says Friesen Epp.

Joefin Mildred Peter is inspired by Emily Stowe, an educator, women’s right’s activist, and Canada’s first female medical doctor. Stowe’s perseverance, passion, and willingness to share ideas are what stand out for Peter.

“God paves a great path for everyone,” she says. “CMU is an opportunity for me to spread my wings, without hesitation.”

For Nicole Ternowesky, her grade nine social studies teacher, Ms. Harvey’s compassion, and dedication to social justice and service, inspired her to get involved in her local community.

Now Ternowesky is looking forward to getting involved at CMU.

“I’m very grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to study in an environment rich in diversity, compassion, and love for God,” says Ternowesky.

 

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Articles Faculty Profiles

Faculty: In Their Own Words – David Balzer

David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media, has taught at CMU since 2009.

What do you love about your work here?

I love it when I can mentor students to find their voice. I mean that almost literally, because when students first walk into the recording studio, it’s often quite an unnerving and anxious-filled experience for them to speak into a mic and literally discover the tone of their voice—and then on a deeper level, to find out who they are as creative communicators.

What are you researching and writing?

I’ve got two projects on the go. One of them is on the history of Mennonites and radio in Manitoba. I’m looking at two seminal radio programs that originated in the late 1940s and 50s: “The Gospel Light Hour” from the Mennonite Brethren community, and “Abundant Life” from what was then known as the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. I’m trying to understand the way these programs were shaped theologically as well as shaped from a communications theory perspective. My hunch is that exploring these two programs might tell us something about why we’re doing broadcasting the way we are now. The other thing I have on the go is my ongoing “Oh My God” project.

Where or how do students give you hope?

A student who is originally from Uganda walked into my office the other day and she said, “I have a dream.” The media in her country is governed by a very different system—one that doesn’t allow grassroots efforts to easily have a voice or access. She wants to take what she’s learning here at CMU and bring it back to her home country. She’s started to understand the power of media, and she wants to empower local writers and journalists to be able to tell their stories. That’s inspiring. That gives me hope.

What do you most long for in your work?

The thing I really long for is for students to recognize communication as a gift from God. We’ve been given this incredibly beautiful ability to communicate. That’s something that’s fragile, so how do we give that gift away in a way that is life-giving? I hope students will get that.

Do you have any interesting projects underway in the broader community or church?

I’ve developed a series of workshops that I present at schools and churches called, Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful. It tries to get participants thinking about how we use social media, and also presents some very direct how-tos they might use if their social media use is going to be beautiful in the end. I don’t go out there as an expert, but instead I tell people, I’m living the question just like they are.

What saying or motto inspires you?

I have a couple one-liners that I use to keep me focused. One that I like is, “Communicating for Life,” with a capital L. That in a nutshell encapsulates my desire to equip and help people, and also produce things that at the end of the day lead people to capital L Life with the One who created us.

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Video

With Gratitude 2017 | Hanna Stoesz (video)

This video features Hanna Stoesz (CMU ’17) at With Gratitude, April 22, 2017.

Hanna Stoesz
Bachelor of Arts, 4 year
Major: Social Science – Counselling Studies

With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

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Video

With Gratitude 2017 | Meara Sparling (video)

This video features Meara Sparling (CMU ’17) at With Gratitude, April 22, 2017.

Meara Sparling
Bachelor of Music
Concentration: Music Education – Early/Middle Years

With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

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Video

With Gratitude 2017 | Nolan Kehler (video)

This video features Nolan Kehler (CMU ’17) with Samatha Klassen, piano at With Gratitude, April 22, 2017.

Nolan Kehler
Bachelor of Music
Concentration: Performance – Voice

Songs: Let me enjoy the earth, Since we loved

With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

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Video

With Gratitude 2017 | Ayla Manning (video)

This video features Ayla Manning (CMU ’17) at With Gratitude, April 22, 2017.

Ayla Manning
Bachelor of Arts, 3 year
Major: Communications and Media

With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

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Video

With Gratitude 2017 | Peter Thiessen (video)

This video features Peter Thiessen (CMU ’17) at With Gratitude, April 22, 2017.

Peter Thiessen
Bachelor of Arts, 3 year
Major: English

With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

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