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Oxford College receives grant for leadership

OXFORD -- A new grant will benefit student leadership at Oxford College and community engagement in Newton County.

On Thursday, the college announced that its Pierce Institute for Leadership and Community Engagement has received a grant from Emory University's Office of University Community Partnerships to establish a new program, the Ethics and Servant Leadership Forum, which will start this fall.

College officials said the three-year grant will expand Oxford's already wide array of opportunities for student leadership, community engagement, ethics and faculty development.

"The EASL Forum will enable us to strengthen our commitment to developing our students' capacity for leadership and community engagement," said David Gowler, Pierce professor of religion at Oxford and director of the Pierce Institute.

But it won't stop at the college.

"It will also have a positive impact on our local Newton County community and help us live out Emory University's aim of producing socially conscious leaders," he said.

Fifteen students, who apply to the program and will be chosen by early August, will take part in the EASL Forum, engaging in activities that develop ethical leadership and a sense of shared community.

The program will include a two-hour academic course and community partnerships that focus on areas of need within Newton County, which will be set up by the Office of Student Development at the college, taking into consideration the needs of the community and faculty and students involved.

Students will receive ethics training, and their instruction will reflect Oxford's emphasis on inquiry-based learning.

College officials said the EASL Forum will fill a niche at the school by increasing the interrelation of ethical engagement, student leadership activities, community engagement and academic courses. It also strengthens Oxford's connections with Emory's Center for Ethics, which partnered with Oxford in the grant proposal, as well as with other programs on the Atlanta campus, they said.

That in turn will help fulfill a goal to help provide for a smoother transition for Oxford students when they continue to the Atlanta campus in various leadership, ethics and community engagement programs.