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IU 711 Healthy Communities

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Course Description

This course will examine the ecological, economic, political, social, cultural and spiritual health of rural communities in an integrated and experiential way.

To provide an experiential basis, the students (in small teams) will spend part of their time preparing to do a rapid diagnostic of nearby rural communities, learning to detect what hinders or promotes the health of the community.

Part of our time will be spent reflecting on what we have seen and experienced, and in both sociological and theological analysis. As tools for reflection, students  will learn to use a variety of popular education techniques such as Photovoice, casual conversations, role play, community mapping, and developing a ‘tree of life’ of the community.

To deepen our reflection we will plan to bring in a variety of local “experts” who have both practical and analytic skills in dealing with the social, spiritual and economic dynamics of rural communities.

The Instructor

Dr. Hans-Dittmar Mündel is a Professor of Religion and Global & Development Studies at Augustana Campus, U of A, and has taught there for 33 years.

He created and administered the award-winning Prairies-Mexico Rural Development Exchange, which has trained 240 students (Canadians and Mexicans) in participatory action research as well as in popular education techniques to use for rural community development.

Dr. Mündel is co-founder of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life and the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities.

Time and Place

10-14 February 2014

Messiah Lutheran Church
4810 50 St, Camrose, AB

Academic Credit

Participants who hold a Master's degree in Theology or in Religious Studies may take the class for academic credit. This is a DMin-level course.

Others may audit the course, with special permission of the instructor. Auditors participate fully in the class but do not receive formal grades and are not required to write papers or do other major assignments.


Most of the research and reading you'll be doing will come out of these two books. Various other readings will also be made available electronically to participants.

Wendell Berry and Norman Wirzba (ed.), The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry. Shoemaker & Hoard, Emeryville, CA, 2002.

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Global Crises, Local Churches: The Vocation of Neighbour-love in the Face of Structural Injustice. Chester Ronning Centre, Camrose, 2010. (also available from Dr. Mündel in Camrose)


For credit: $1000

For audit: $500

Contact Information

For more information...

about the course
Dr. Dittmar Mündel

about the DMin program
Rev. Dr. Cam Harder

To register
Susan Avant, LTS Registrar
no later than 3 February 2014