by Robert Stockman
The Wilmette Institute’s relationships with degree-granting institutions continue to bear fruit.
Last spring the Institute offered its first course for credit through the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, California—”Anti-Black Racism in the United States and Building a Unified Society”—and it had one GTU student register, who greatly enjoyed the course and produced a remarkable final project looking at racist tropes in old Walt Disney productions. In the fall semester, the course The Bahá’í Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction had two credit students. One is a Bahá’í interested in the relationship between science and religion who has enrolled in a remote-learning Master’s degree at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and the Wilmette Institute has an articulation agreement with United that states that any student there can take up to six Wilmette Institute courses toward one of United’s Master’s degrees. Since Wilmette Institute is running all of its credit courses through GTU’s online course delivery platform currently, she will be taking most of her six courses through GTU’s system, but receiving a Wilmette Institute transcript, which United accepts for credit.
The other student in the course is a Bahá’í who just began a Masters in interfaith relations at GTU. She plans to take 3 or 4 Wilmette Institute courses for her degree. Because Wilmette Institute is an affiliate of Graduate Theological Union, it can submit courses to GTU’s approval committee, and if approved, the course is available to all of the hundreds of students taking courses through GTU and its various related educational institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley.
A priority of the Wilmette Institute is to continue building interest in its social transformation courses, so that the Institute gains experience teaching them and offering them to a wide audience. Such courses have great potential to strengthen social discourse, especially if large numbers of students who are not Bahá’ís take them. The Institute also wants to encourage Bahá’ís to look into the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, California, as places to apply for graduate programs in religious studies and in leadership in social change agencies. During the spring semester starting January 31, the Wilmette Institute will be offering three courses for credit through GTU: Anti-Black Racism in the United States, Introduction to Bahá’í Scripture: The Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, and Bahá’í Theology.