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15th Anniversary of Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development at WIU

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Uploaded on Dec 21, 2009

MACOMB, IL -- "The Peace Corps represents some of, if not all, the best virtues in this society. It stands for everything that America has ever stood for -- it stands for everything we've ever stood for and hope to achieve in the world. " -- Sargent Shriver, First Peace Corps Director

Founded in 1961, the Peace Corps is on the precipice of an historic milestone, one that will likely review the almost 50 years of not only extolling the virtues that many feel embody the United States of America, but also of actually putting those virtues into practice across the globe. As the national Peace Corps program readies to celebrate its golden anniversary in a little over a year, the Peace Corps Fellows Program (PCF) in Community Development at Western Illinois University caps it 15th year in 2009 and can tout similar accomplishments. After 15 years, the program's alumni and current Fellows can recall how the PCF Program in Community Development has helped them achieve a master's degree and required them to explore the theories of community development. They can also look back at how they were able to put theory into practice and survey how their service and knowledge has contributed to the development of rural communities across Illinois.

The Mission
A unit of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA), which is housed at Western, the PCF Program in Community Development provides former Peace Corps volunteers the opportunity to pursue a master's degree with a specialization in community development, explained Karen Mauldin-Curtis, who has managed the program since 2004.

"Students, referred to as 'Fellows,' can pursue an advanced degree in one of six fields of study offered at WIU," noted Mauldin-Curtis. "After each Fellow has completed his or her coursework, they then each serve an 11-month internship in a rural community in Illinois. The internship provides the students with practical experience as they help lead community development projects in the town or county in which they are serving. Since the program was established 15 years ago, we have had more than 89 Fellows serve in towns and counties in Illinois."

Currently, the master's degree offerings via the PCF Program in Community Development include business administration (MBA), economics, political science (public administration), recreation, park and tourism administration, geography (regional planning) and health sciences.

For the full release, see http://www.wiu.edu/newsrelease.sphp?r....

For more information about the Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development at Western Illinois University, visit http://www.peacecorpsfellows-wiu.org/

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