HDS Course Spotlight: Three Students’ Semester Favorites

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As the spring semester draws to a close, three HDS students discuss their favorite courses of the semester.

Erika Carlsen, 3rd year MDiv:

My favorite class this semester so far has been Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change, offered at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS). In this class, we’ve learned about the difference between exercising leadership and authority, understanding the different ways in which group dynamics can affect our ability to effect change in a given system, and strategies for mobilizing groups to face difficult topics head-on. In addition to our weekly class, we also meet in a small group each week where one individual is responsible for presenting on a leadership failure she or he experienced, after which s/he petitions the wisdom of the group to help her/him address the blind spots that might have led to that failure. It’s a dynamic class filled with students from HKS, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and some cross registrants from the MIT Sloan School of Management. This diverse mix of students lends itself to one of the most interesting and engaging learning environments I’ve found at Harvard thus far.
Rod Owens blog picRod Owens, 1st year MDiv:

This semester I am taking a course called Sexualities and Gender in the African Diaspora offered by Dr. Jennifer Leath, a visiting professor. It is a course that explores our construction of sexuality and gender within communities of African descendants and how we can challenge these constructions within the context of religious expression. I am also a member of a reading group called Racial Justice in Relief where the practice of racial justice is examined in the work of several writers, including Ida B. Wells, Bayard Rustin, Howard Thurman, Dorothy Day, etc. The reading group is also taught by Dr. Leath and is an extension of dialogues connected to liberatory models of education and transcending suffering of difference.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 1.25.37 AMChris Alburger, 3rd year MDiv:

My favorite class this semester is Administration and Leadership, with professors Emily Click and Laura Tuach. Emily Click has us journal about leadership questions every week, write a personal mission statement, and do debates and role plays. Everything is treated as an experiment and growth opportunity. We’re encouraged to bring our whole selves to the classroom, take an honest look at ourselves, be vulnerable with one another, and make our own unique contributions. Last week, Laura Tuach started section by having us get out our journals and asked: “What is your sense of overall driving purpose? What have you been put on earth to do? What brings you irrepressible joy?”

“I Could Belong Here”: Open House and Deciding on a Graduate School

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As you deliberate on your plans for the upcoming academic year, you might be curious about how our current students decided to commit to HDS. Below, second year MTS student Cody Musselman reflects on how her experience at our Admitted Students Open House confirmed that she would thrive here at HDS.

Photo by Caroline Matas

Photo by Caroline Matas

In the spring of 2013, I arrived in Boston for the Admitted Students Open House at Harvard Divinity School. I was nervous and still unsure about whether or not I should attend in the fall. I was fortunate to have other offers and to be in the position of finding the best fit for my ambitions, interests, lifestyle, and personality. It was a wonderful, yet overwhelming position to be in. Visiting the schools in person, I had decided, was the best way to determine the proper fit.

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Congratulations to the HDS Incoming Class of 2015!

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Photo by Caroline Matas

Photo by Caroline Matas

Decisions have already been released online, but we like to keep things old-school: Look out for a hard copy of your letter of admission in the mail next week, along with plenty of new information about housing, summer programs, and more! We can’t wait to welcome you to our school.

HDS Course Spotlight: Christian Ethics and Modern Society

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As I entered my second semester as an MDiv student at HDS, I looked forward to branching out and taking courses that were cross-listed with other Harvard schools and composed of students from different parts of Harvard University. My favorite course so far this semester has been one such course: Christian Ethics and Modern Society with Dr. Charles Lockwood. The diversity of my class represents everything I like best about being a Harvard student. In addition to coming from all different parts of the University–from Harvard College to Harvard Divinity School to alumni working as fellows at the University–my class comprises students of various faith traditions, gender identities, sexualities, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and philosophical camps.

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The Meaning of “Home”

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As the winter semester wears on and students settle back into their routine here in Cambridge/Somerville/Boston, some find it a good time to reflect on what “home” means during the transition-filled graduate school years. Below, 2nd year MDiv student Aisha Ansano shares her thoughts…

“Where are you from?” It’s a question I’ve gotten more times than I can count since I’ve been at HDS. “Well,” I typically begin, “I was born in the Caribbean, on a small island called Curaçao, but I moved to Durham, North Carolina when I was 10, and I lived in the California Bay Area for 5 years before I came to HDS.” It’s a long answer, but the only one that feels authentic – these places are all my homes, even though I now live in a wonderful apartment in Cambridge.

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Winter Storm Juno: How Your HDS Admissions Graduate Assistants Weathered the Monumental Blizzard

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On Tuesday, January 26, Winter Storm Juno raged across New England with a vengeance. Although a former Harvard Dean of Students once remarked that “Harvard University will close only for an act of God, such as the end of the world,” even our doors were forced to close, leaving our students with a rare snow day. Our two graduate assistants, Sarah and Caroline, found that they spent their snow day in quite different ways…

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Current Students Reflect: What Surprised You Most About the HDS Application Process?

Applying to graduate school can bring many new things to light: Is my application process something I want to discuss with everybody, with nobody, or with a few trusted confidants? How well can I juggle my everyday commitments with this extra task? What is it that is truly driving me to apply for graduate study, and how can I best translate that into my statement of purpose?

As application season rapidly draws to a close, current HDS students stopped to reflect on what surprised them most during their own application processes…

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What HDS has taught me about #selfcare

You know those kids in high school and college who did all their homework all the time, the ones who always had something to say in class discussion and had questions for the teacher every week? I was one of THOSE kids. I guess that’s not too shocking of a confession to come from a Harvard graduate student, but in hindsight I feel a little sheepish about those days. The most important thing I’ve learned in my time at HDS so far is how to prioritize and balance the things in my life, and homework just doesn’t always make it to the top of the list.

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Current Students Reflect: Advice on Beginning Your HDS Application

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Wherever you are in the application process, we current students at HDS remember the discombobulating stress that can accompany embarking on the massive undertaking of applying to graduate school. Below is some of the advice we wished we would have known as we clicked “Begin an application” on the HDS website

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