'We're getting to know one another'
MU's four-day student orientation was a flurry of activity. Newcomers eagerly greeted fellow classmates, toured campus and explored Portland under the guidance of some seasoned MU students. But one aspect that truly stood out was the time spent with MU's faculty. Our university has several differentiators, but its emphasis on solid student-professor connections is one of its strongest.
"The Multnomah experience has its foundation in the mentoring and discipleship that takes place between students and faculty in and out of the classroom," says Dr. Debi Miller, MAT Program Director. "Parts of orientation lay the groundwork for those kinds of relationships to start." One special component is a dinner held in the JCA cafeteria for new students and professors. After the meal, the students split into groups, and each group follows a faculty member to his or her home for dessert. "I like hanging out with students at our house," says Dr. Tom Hauff, Bible and Theology professor. "It's nothing fancy. But we're getting to know one another."
Learn more about the MU MAT program.
Learn more about the MU Bible & Theology degree.
'Everyone cares for them'
Tim Bieri, head coach for MU's volleyball and women's basketball teams, says Multnomah's orientation is unique for the very same reason the institution itself is different: "Everything here is centered around Christ and the Word of God," he says. "It's always exciting to see students at the start of this new 'Multnomah Adventure'. Hopefully they catch on to how much everyone cares for them right from the start."
Leah Hernandez, a psychology major who transferred from community college, has caught on. The junior was surprised when she saw MU's low student-teacher ratio, 15 to 1, and when she heard that faculty members hung out in the cafeteria alongside their students. "I never imagined I'd be having lunch with my professors," she said. "I'm excited to see them not just as teachers, but as human beings. I want to grow here."
MU's professors have the same desire. Dr. Karl Kutz, Biblical Languages Chair, spoke to MU's new students Friday morning, encouraging them to take advantage of connecting with their professors in and out of class. "Don't be a passive learner," he said. "If all I do is tell you what I think, then you walk away having been handed something without embracing it yourself. We're here for you. Be honest about the questions you have. Discover who you are and who you want to be."
Learn more about MU's athletic programs.
'A transformational experience'
After Kutz spoke, each new student was given a card, envelope and pen, and asked to write letters to themselves describing what they expect over the next two semesters. Next spring, the letters will be delivered to their owners. Hernandez bent over her card, writing for a few minutes before sealing the envelope. "I want to get to know people - not just superficially," she says. "I want to make lifelong friendships."
Just as every student has dreams for the coming year, every faculty member does too. "I want all our students to become more Christ-like every day they’re at MU," says Hauff. "I want their time here to ground them in the idea of how precious they are to God." Bieri agrees: "I hope to see students grow in their passion and love for the Lord and overflow with goodness, grace and truth," he says.
College is all about stretching, changing, growing. MU's professors are committed to walking alongside their students through each valley and up every hill. "To us, orientation is more than welcoming you to campus and being sure you know where to pick up your mail and pay your bills," says Miller. "We're inducting you into a transformational experience intended to deepen your relationship with Christ so you can fulfill his call."
Are you a new student? What are you hoping to gain this year?
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