Brief History of the Creation Care Study Program (CCSP)
In 1995 the executive director and founder of the Creation Care Study Program (CCSP), Dr. Chris Elisara, founded the Global Stewardship Study Program (GSSP) in Belize under the umbrella organization Target Earth International. Prior to its first semester in spring 1996, GSSP was reviewed by CCCU and obtained official endorsement and registration as a CCCU study abroad program. GSSP retained its CCCU endorsement and registration until CCCU officially ended endorsing and registering non-CCCU study abroad programs. In 2002 the staff, faculty and academic committee left Target Earth International to start the Creation Care Study Program (CCSP) under the umbrella organization of Christians For Environmental Stewardship (CES), which is based in Vancouver, Washington.
GSSP’s founding academic committee comprised of Dr. Jeff Schloss, chair of Westmont’s Biology Department, Dr. David Unander, professor of Biology at Eastern University, and Dr. Timothy Peterson, chair of Malone College’s sociology department, were also instrumental in helping to establish the GSSP program. When the transition from GSSP to CCSP occurred in 2002 CCSP’s academic committee consisted of Dr. Kathleen Braden, Dean of Student Life at Seattle Pacific University, Dr. Janel Curry, Dean of Research at Calvin College, Dr. David Unander, Chair of the Biology Department, Eastern University, Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger Chair of the Religion and Philosophy department at Hope College, and Dr. Joe Sheldon, chair of the biology department at Messiah College and the chair of the academic committee.
As a non-degree granting educational institution CCSP is ineligible for accreditation and does not seek to be a degree granting institution.
In 2010 CCSP founded the Center for Environmental Leadership (CEL) with Houghton College and George Fox University and oversees Renewal, a Christian peer-peer environmental leadership program on 50 Christian colleges and universities.
A New Program and Chapter in CCSP’s History
A new chapter for CCSP opened in late 2010 when we began working with Mustard Seed Associates (MSA) to develop a new program using CCSP’s educational model with a specialty focused on sustainability from a Christian perspective. We are calling the new program CCSP Cascadia because it will be based on Camino Island north of Seattle in Puget Sound. Although seldom used, Cascadia is one of the formal names for this region.
CCSP’s Organizational Structure
GSSP (1996-2002) and CCSP (2002-present) have occupied a unique and successful niche in Christian higher education. CCSP now serves approximately 30 Christian colleges and universities, and more CCSP approved schools are being added every year. In light of this success we believe there is no need to change the content or focus of our Belize and New Zealand programs. On the other hand, over the past 16 years important environmental interest areas have emerged that warrant becoming the foci for new CCSP programs. The challenge, however, is how to give emerging areas due attention without affecting our current core curriculum and program. That is why in 2010 CCSP embraced MSA’s proposal to join forces to offer a new US based program with a curricular emphasis on sustainability.
CCSP’s partnership with MSA means CCSP is now an umbrella Christian environmental educational institution academically overseeing it’s own programs in Belize and New Zealand, plus overseeing new partner programs. These partner programs are co-developed with CCSP’s executive director and academic committee, and adopt CCSP’s educational model, policies and practices, and are directly overseen by CCSP’s academic committee. The only difference Between CCSP Belize and New Zealand is CCSP Cascadia is administered day-to-day by the partner organization (i.e., MSA), which is also solely responsible for CCSP Cascadia’s finances (including a fee paid to CCSP for use of CCSP’s intellectual property and their fair share of CCSP’s marketing and outreach).
Finally, CCSP Cascadia will be marketed by CCSP through all its existing channels (e.g., on the website, flyers, posters, school visits, etc.) as a CCSP partner program.
CCSP’s Educational Mission
CCSP’s mission statement is:
CCSP is a Christian organization whose mission is to educate students to be a part of, and agents for, God’s shalom, particularly through understanding and caring for creation.
Doctrinally, CCSP affirms the international evangelical Lausanne Covenant