And now for our illustrious Executive Director ... Clinton Stockwell!
Posted by Clinton Stockwell in Staff Stories | Jul 16, 2010
Well, welcome all to our new staff blog! I was asked to give my story here, next to Phil and Janelle. So, as the “old timer” of the group, I’ll share a short bio. I moved to Chicago in 1981 to complete the SCUPE year-round urban studies program. Tim Douma, an urban pastor and Practicum Group Leader at Chicago Semester, is also a graduate of SCUPE. Since that time, I have continued my education and have had the unique opportunities of working in four different urban studies programs, which culminated for me with Chicago Semester. I joined the Chicago Semester staff way back in 1992 as an instructor of the Metropolitan Seminar and as a Practicum Group Leader. In 1999 I became Director of the program. Since that time we changed our name (from Chicago Metropolitan Center), received the honor of being the Experiential Education Program of the Year award from the National Society for Experiential Education, moved to our new space at 11 East Adams; and as a result, the program’s enrollment has increased overall by 30%!
Why am I still here? The easy answer is because this is my dream job! This is true for a number of reasons. I get to study and engage the city. I get to work with some amazingly bright and articulate young people (staff and students). I get to teach and interact with students around relevant subject matter. We get to attend some amazing art events as a program. And the best part of it is I get paid for doing my own version of “living, learning and working” in the city.
I have always thought of myself as a “streetwise academic.” That is, I am very interested in all the things scholarly and academic about the city; but I am also a committed citizen in the city, and so I seek to understanding the city as it is and work for the city as it should be. In short, working at Chicago Semester allows me to combine many of my interests (except maybe gardening which my wife and I do at our residence)!
I have had an amazing academic journey. I have a B.A in sociology; and have graduate degrees in theology, history, urban planning and in the liberal arts. I get to check out the new books at local bookstores, take guitar lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music, eat at local restaurants, and pull for our sports teams. Hooray for the Blackhawks who just won the Stanley Cup, and go White Sox who for now are in first place in their division! Yeah, I know this is a divided city when it comes to baseball, but what can I say, I’m a transplant, so I cheer for whoever has a chance to bring home the trophy.
So, if you are an alum or friend of CS, I hope you will tell us what you are doing. If you are new to Chicago Semester, I hope you go to our website and check out the program. Chicago Semester is connected to this city, a city of 500 green rooftops, 3 million tulips in April, 70,000 students studying downtown, and yes, it is also the home of the current President of the U.S. I know some of you didn’t vote that way, but that’s okay. I do hope you will consider becoming one of the new “creative class” of people (from author, Richard Florida, Cities and the Creative Class) who are helping to shape a better world and a more vibrant city. As one our former students said: you “won’t be bored,” and as a staff person famously said: “just do it!” I sincerely hope you will!
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