DISTANCE LEARNING: BRIDGES OF TECHNOLOGY GROUNDED IN GRACE
Global Education continues to expand at an exponential rate! As we anticipate the Fall Semester unfolding for the new academic year of 2016-2017 at Chestnut Hill College, I am gratefully aware of all that unites us with our Sisters from West Africa studying through ASEC Program and distance learning. Though the Sisters continue their ministries in parts of Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria – simultaneously embracing their course load and textbooks – technology bridges the thousands of miles between student and instructors who together explore what learning can reveal through common goals... and grace!
It has been a privilege for me to be a part of the ASEC Program since it began at CHC in 2013. In annual collaborative meetings with Administrative Leaders from this Program & our Campus in Philadelphia, we are reminded that the educational efforts of each cohort contributes to the overall benefit of the people served by the Sisters within their Countries and ministries. The ripple effect of these efforts seems to match the exponential growth of technology to me! Sisters continue to serve the People of God and their Communities each day, while taking up texts and syllabi after their daily work is done. These tireless energies directly strengthen their abilities to build stronger bases under healthcare, social and family issues, education, and the accompanying business concerns associated with a more hopeful future among the People of Africa.
Annually I have accompanied 15-18 Sisters in courses of Psychology and Religious Studies. Though each year the group of Sisters is unique in their geography, ministries, and educational goals – what unites us all and bridges our efforts as we learn and share is a desire to grow in the skills each of us possess. It is through this learning that we become more fully aware of who we are, are becoming, and how we are to serve the Church, the People of God, empowered by the grace grounding us all. The bridges formed by technology – and grace – decrease the miles between us and increase the global and reciprocal effects of all efforts in the ASEC Program I am privileged to be a part of through Chestnut Hill College!
Sr Pat Mengel, IHM is an Instructor in Psychology and Religious Studies in the ASEC Program and within the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Within her own Community of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pat serves as a Pastoral Liaison and is a certified Spiritual Director/Supervisor.