Center for the Study of Narrative Receives Five-Year, $500,000 Grant from Georgia Compassion Project


ATLANTA – Mercer University's Center for the Study of Narrative has received a five-year, $500,000 commitment from the Georgia Compassion Project to further the work of the multidisciplinary service and research initiative housed within Penfield College's Department of Counseling.

“The Center for the Study of Narrative offers students and faculty members throughout undergraduate and graduate programs in Penfield College a unique opportunity to combine service to the community, research and presentation in a variety of public forums,” said Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of the College. “We are tremendously grateful for the continuing generous support of the Georgia Compassion Project and for Dr. Don Redmond's strong leadership of Center initiatives.”

Launched in 2014, the Center for the Study of Narrative supports narrative-related research agendas of students and faculty in Penfield College. The Center's work draws from a variety of academic disciplines – including communication, psychology, sociology, human services, literary studies and writing, historical studies, counseling and mathematics – and uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to study the lives of individuals and cultures, giving students practical education while promoting community outreach and service.

“We're grateful for the continued support of the Mercer University faculty and administration along with the very generous additional funding we've received from the Georgia Compassion Project,” said Dr. Redmond, assistant professor of counseling and director of the Center for the Study of Narrative. “This grant will allow us to continue building on the early success of our community outreach, service learning and research. Further, the increased annual amount fully funds a doctoral fellowship and will add to our ability to support innovative qualitative dissertation research.”

“The Center for the Study of Narrative clearly demonstrates the importance of narrative as a form of teaching, learning and counseling,” added Dr. Karen Rowland, associate professor, chair of the Counseling Department and coordinator of the master's degree program in school counseling. “This grant has and will continue to offer opportunities for faculty and students in the Department of Counseling and Penfield College to engage in the scholarship and research of narrative in all disciplines within the College.”

This year, the Center for the Study of Narrative is offering a variety of activities, including an International Narrative Holiday Celebration of personal narratives from immigrants and refugees from Nigeria, Mexico, Jamaica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The Center also conducts community outreach activities with the Children's Restoration Network, Kate's Club and the Friendship Center of Holy Comforter Church.  

The Center's third annual student showcase on April 13, 2017, will include a keynote address from Dr. William Randall, professor at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, and an internationally renowned scholar in the field of gerontology.

The Center will also send students on Penfield College's sixth annual Narrative Theory study abroad experience in Leiden, Holland and France in June 2017.

The Georgia Compassion Project is a private, nonprofit granting organization.

About Penfield College of Mercer University

Penfield College of Mercer University, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional learners and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program transitions students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, criminal justice leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology, communication, homeland security and emergency management, and healthcare leadership. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County and Newnan, and online. To learn more, visit