Students start Denver Urban Semester

The first group of students to study in Northwestern College’s new Denver Urban Semester (DUS) arrived in the Mile High City Jan. 5. Three Northwestern senior social work students will participate in the semester-long program: Tayler Kelly, Orange City; Angie Sas, Hull; and Jennifer Kahanic, Sioux City.

Northwestern’s partner in the DUS is Mile High Ministries, which includes more than 30 nonprofit organizations in Denver focused on mobilizing neighborhoods, equipping leaders and empowering the poor.

Several Northwestern students have interned at Mile High Ministries during past summers, explains Dr. Doug Carlson, Northwestern’s associate dean for global education. Their experiences set the stage for the semester program, which focuses on service-learning and community development. The DUS costs the same as a semester on campus and offers students 12 to 15 course credits and 6 to 8 internship credits.

Greg Fuchs, director of Mile High Ministries, is overseeing the academic program and students’ internships at nonprofits that serve Denver’s vulnerable urban populations, including people who are homeless, pregnant teens, victims of domestic violence, and recovering addicts.

“The Denver Urban Semester offers great hands-on experience for students in the social sciences as well as any student who aspires to a career in nonprofits,” says Carlson.

In addition to interning, students take courses in Race and Ethnicity in American Society, Intercultural Communication, Global Urbanization, and Incarnational Spirituality. All the classes are accredited by Northwestern College and taught from a Christian perspective by faculty in the Denver area who meet NWC’s standards for academic rigor and spiritual integrity.

Fuchs, the program’s director, has a master’s degree from Denver Seminary and has worked as a chaplain, youth pastor, Young Life director and vocational coach. 

The Denver Urban Semester is Northwestern’s third semester-long study abroad program, joining two international programs, based in Oman and Romania.