Trevecca's Center for Social Justice



Dr. Sherman has had the distinct privilege of helping to design and launch the new J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. Over the course of nearly two years, she conducted research on existing initiatives, led the design of a new four-year curriculum for a B.A. degree in social justice, and provided leadership in acquiring grant funding and university funding to support a variety of innovative programs that serve both campus and community.

Through a rigorous, interdisciplinary academic program and supporting hands-on service learning opportunities, the Center equips students to devote their skills to the public good. Through hands-on service, training conferences, environmental and business initiatives, and a variety of community partnerships, the Center seeks to strengthen human flourishing in the economically distressed neighborhoods immediately adjacent to campus and throughout Nashville. Even in its first months, it has served as “leaven in the dough of the University” as it has partnered with existing departments in new initiatives:

  • With the Center for Leadership, Calling and Service, a new “Nashville Immersion” component was incorporated into the required all-freshmen course, “Life Purpose and Calling.” The Center brought in several Nashville civic leaders to address students on the city’s historical and contemporary issues and sponsored an Intercessory
  • Prayer “blitz” on behalf of several local social service nonprofits;
    With the Communications Department, the Center launched a new, student-led online magazine, Micah Mandate. Journalism majors and other talented young writers, as well as graphic design and IT majors, are learning and practicing marketable skills as they deepen their awareness and understanding of social justice issues in the city and around the world;
  • With science professors and the student environmental club, the Center has launched composting initiatives, established an aquaponics ecosystem for urban fish farming, and in fall 2010 is sponsoring an energy efficiency competition across dorms;
  • With the University Chaplain’s office, the Center sponsored a film discussion on Mighty Times: The Children’s March, a stirring civil rights documentary. In November 2009, the Center and Chaplain’s office offered a Poverty Simulation for the campus community.
  • With Trevecca’s Center for the Worship Arts, the Center sponsored a major conference in November 2009 focusing on international justice issues, with speakers from the International Justice Mission in Washington D.C. and Freedom in Creation, Inc. from northern Uganda.

The Center has also moved quickly to build relationships with local nonprofit and faith-based ministry leaders engaged in serving Nashville, as well as with the local Residents’ Association in Chestnut Hill, and various city officials. These relationships have led to several opportunities for Trevecca to serve its community. For example, community gardens are have built in numerous urban locations and student groups now cull and collect food weekly from local farmers markets for distribution among needy families. In addition, Sherman has provided free trainings on fund-raising and program evaluation for nearly 100 local nonprofit directors. Looking ahead, the Center envisions launching an urban farm on Trevecca’s campus and investing in local entrepreneurs through its Neighborhood Empowerment Program.

about us
| site map | contact us | © Faith in Communities 2009