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‘God is on the move’: MU launches new programs, opens more doors for students

Comments Off Written on April 14th, 2015 by
Categories: Athletics, Programs, Students

As summer approaches and students glimpse relaxation on the horizon, MU isn't slowing down. In fact, we're launching several initiatives and exciting opportunities that will enhance the student experience for years to come.

"God is definitely on the move at Multnomah University," says Vice President of Advancement Steve Cummings. "Blessing after blessing keeps arriving. More and more students are realizing that MU will prepare them for a meaningful career and saturate them in God’s Word, no matter how they choose to make a kingdom impact."

Here are the latest academic programs, news items and distinctions:

Accounting concentration

Bernie_featureimageIn fall 2015, MU will launch an accounting concentration under its business program that will prepare students for employment in the field of accounting as well as ready them for the Certified Management Accountant Exam and the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam. The program will also provide a significant portion of the requirements necessary to sit for the CPA exams.

Business & Organizational Psychology degree

studying_featureimageMU will launch a business & organizational psychology degree in fall 2015. Graduates will utilize their training to create business policies and methodologies with the goal of improving the organization’s ability to better meet the expectations of its customers and stakeholders.

Biology degree

MU plans to offer a biology degree in fall 2016. More details to come.

Global Studies degree

rachel_mainMU’s intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. Students will specialize in one of four new concentrations:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture & Diversity
  • Global Ministry

Summit (a five-year B.A./M.Div. degree)

summit2_featureimageMultnomah is launching Summit, a five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity program. Summit students will save more than $41,000 in tuition, cut their time in school by two years and receive a Summit Scholarship. The program will launch in fall 2015 thanks to a $565,000 grant from The Kern Family Foundation.

Fully online undergraduate and seminary degrees

FallGrad2014_featureimageStarting in fall 2015, MU will be offering the following programs fully online:

AAOT acceptance

The Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree now satisfies all MU freshman and sophomore general education requirements.

NAIA approval

Athletics Banner BlogThe Lions have joined the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC), which is considered to be one of the top small-college athletic associations in the country. The CCC is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Each year, more than 60,000 student-athletes in the NAIA compete in 13 sports and 23 national championships.

Track and field

CrossCountry_thumb2Multnomah will launch a track and field program in spring of 2016.

Giving record

Multnomah has seen a record year in giving: 2014-2015 were met with the highest number of donations MU has accepted in the past five years.

Learn More

Contact Admissions at 503.251.6485 or admissions@multnomah.edu for more information.

Multnomah University adds track and field to the sports lineup

Comments Off Written on April 10th, 2015 by
Categories: Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Multnomah University Athletic Department is excited to announce the addition of men’s and women’s track and field for the 2015-16 school year.

“We are so thankful for the support and encouragement that we have received from our administration as we continue to grow our athletic offerings here at MU,” Athletic Director Lois Vos said. “Adding track and field is a big step for MU, and we are blessed to have such an experienced and caring leader in Coach David Lee to get things started.”

As coach of both cross country teams, Lee led the Lions to an extremely successful inaugural season. The men’s team qualified for the NCCAA Division II national race, and Nathan Meeker became MU’s first individual national champion. Sindy Larson, meanwhile, also ran in the NCCAA Division II championships, becoming the first female athlete from MU to compete at the national level.

“Coaching at MU is a privilege, and the responsibility of starting programs from the-ground-up is especially joyous,” Coach Lee said. “Getting acquainted with new coaching partners as we share the anticipation of what God has planned for the Lions is a big part of my joy. Everywhere I recruit, the name Multnomah is well received because the school's administration, faculty and staff have held true to the earliest core values of the founders. I hope that our new athletic endeavors meld well with the spiritual heritage that is such a key part of MU and that we'll be recognized  for athletic excellence in the future.”

With the addition of the track and field squads, Multnomah now features 10 teams. Over the past year, MU Athletics has grown by leaps and bounds by adding six programs: men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf. The Lions have a distinguished history in men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

Pending acceptance into the NAIA, all of the teams will compete in the Cascade Collegiate Conference during the 2015-16 season. The NAIA offers 23 different track and field events for student athletes. Madison and Portland Christian high schools have graciously given MU the go-ahead to use their facilities for training in the various track and field disciplines.

DCP student Brian Wiggs: ‘My professors gave me a new hope, a new vision, a new direction for my life’

Brian Wiggs never imagined he could mix his knack for mechanics with his heart for street children. But during a trip to Honduras, he realized he could teach the young men there to fix cars and earn their own wages. “God told me this is where I was going but that I had to prepare,” he says.

And when Wiggs heard about Multnomah’s degree completion program, he knew where he wanted to prepare. “I had the support of the degree completion office and the support of professors that encouraged me,”  says the leadership and ministry major. “They gave me a new hope, a new vision, a new direction for my life.” Read Brian's story.

Spring Thaw energizes, educates 650 students

Whimsical obstacle courses, lanky wooden structures and exotic Egyptian relics peppered campus. Youth Ministry Chair Dr. Rob Hildebrand and his youth ministry majors had spent months building props, planning games and booking entertainment. Now they waited. Anticipation hung in the air.

Buses and vans packed with youth groups slowly rolled into parking lots. Hildebrand watched as 650 high school students began pouring into campus. Then he began to cry.

“It was beautiful to see their energy and excitement over the work we put into it,” he says. “This event says to them, ‘You’re important to us, you’re important to the church, and we love you.’”

‘A catalyst for community’

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 1For Hildebrand, every piece of Spring Thaw is significant. The wild games, the powerful speakers, the silly comedy sketches and the rich theology seminars each play a distinct role in developing students during the three-day retreat.

“Some people think they should be in classes all day, but you can’t expect them to be able to sit down for 20 hours and listen,” says Hildebrand. “The truth is that we learn from watching people and interacting with them. Activities break down barriers between kids and their leaders. It’s a catalyst for community.”

Hunter Johnson, a junior from Mountainview Church, agrees. “I’ve been bonding with my youth mentor this weekend,” he says.

STcamel_featureimageStudents were treated to a variety of activities during the weekend, including bacon bonfires, real-life Mario Kart, a petting zoo, limo rides and a color war. April Fancher-McKinzie, a sophomore from Central Bible Church, loved meeting Curly, a towering camel who visited campus Saturday afternoon.

“Spring Thaw brings youth groups closer to each other, and we get to meet new people,” she says.

‘We’re learning from the best’

But Hildebrand doesn’t stop with games and entertainment. Spring Thaw hosts a main speaker who teaches four sessions during the event. There are also four theology seminars led by Multnomah professors.

STtheology_featureimage“The theology seminars are something I love about this retreat,” says Hildebrand. “Sometimes youth ministry can be shallow. But kids are deeper than you realize; they grapple with tough issues. This is a way they can hear from thinkers who have spent many years studying the deep issues of life.”

Fancher-McKinzie attended Stump the Prof, a seminar where Dr. Brad Harper answered students’ theology questions, which included:

  • How do you know if God speaks to you?
  • Is war ever OK?
  • Does God love something because it’s right or is it right because he loves it?
  • Can you be gay and be a Christian?
  • How does free will work when God is in control of everything?

“It addressed a lot of questions that come up in everyday life,” says Fancher-McKinzie.

Austin Thompson, a senior from Gladstone First Baptist Church, feels the same way. “The seminar was very beneficial to me,” he says. “It helped me understand the Bible more clearly.”

He was also impressed by the professors’ knowledge. “I feel like we’re learning from the best,” he says. “They are people to look up to.”

Supporting the work of the kingdom

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 2It’s Thompson’s second year at Spring Thaw, and he’s soaking in all the information he can. “I’ve only been a Christian for two years, so everything I take in is new to me,” he says. “I’ve become spiritually closer to God and am learning more of his Word.”

Hildebrand says that’s what Spring Thaw is all about. “This event allows us to utilize the assets the Lord has blessed us with to support the work of the kingdom in dozens of our area churches,” he says. “We’ve had people say, ‘Spring Thaw changed my life,’ but really it’s Jesus who changed their life.”

“You guys put a lot of effort into Spring Thaw,” says Thompson. “And it’s not about getting people to attend MU — it’s a chance for people to come together. I think that’s an amazing, selfless thing for a university to do.”

Kenya native and global development & justice student Max Olwa: ‘Living in this community is uplifting’

Max Olwa might be 9,000 miles from home, but he knows he’s in the right place at the right time.

“I came here from Kenya, but I feel like I’ve always been a part of this place,” says the MAGDJ student. “Living in this community is uplifting.” Read Max’s story.

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The ultimate youth retreat: Spring Thaw strengthens churches, educates students and develops leaders

What do Indiana Jones, theology seminars, a real camel, MU’s campus and 650 high schools students have in common? That's right: Spring Thaw. The weekend retreat, open to high school youth groups and their leaders, kicks off Friday, March 27 and concludes Sunday, March 29. Every year brings a unique theme, and 2015 is a mixture of ancient Egypt and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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This year MU will host 625 high school students and 103 youth leaders on its campus.

Youth Ministries Department Chair Dr. Rob Hildebrand has been running the event since its debut six years ago. "I do this because I really believe it's important to the kingdom," he says. "Spring Thaw has helped build community in youth groups, strengthened churches and brought kids to Christ. It helps kids experience solid teaching and grapple with deep thoughts in a world that is often shallow."

Six years ago, Andrew Alfeche was one of those kids. He remembers his first time at the retreat like it was yesterday. "I fell in love with Spring Thaw," he says. "It was an  incredible experience."

During that weekend Alfeche stayed in an MU student's dorm room, where he overheard theological discussions that sparked a nagging interest in the Scriptures. "Hearing how passionate that student was about explaining the Gospel made me excited," Alfeche says, "I thought, 'If students here know the Bible that well, I want that too.'"

ST3

Spring Thaw has been hosted on campus for the past five years. Youth groups from all over the Northwest attend the event.

Two years later, Alfeche enrolled at MU. He's been volunteering at Spring Thaw ever since. "I always enjoy it so much," he says. "It's a lot more than a youth retreat. It's giving students a passion to follow Christ."

Volunteers like Alfeche have always made Spring Thaw possible. Several MU students and staff members plan, build and facilitate the retreat each year. A small group of students majoring in Youth Ministry take on larger leadership roles and serve as interns.

"This event gives them a chance to participate in some advanced youth ministry training," says Hildebrand. "They'll finish their weekend knowing they had a significant part in leading one of the larger youth ministry events in this region. It's very good experience for them in terms of skill development and résumé building."

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Students are treated to comedy skits, theology seminars, real-life Mario Kart, a bacon bonfire, bubble soccer and more.

The retreat is hosting a main speaker, Sid Koop, who will speak several times during the weekend. High school students will also attend theology seminars led by MU faculty. Hildebrand believes students learn best when they're in a balanced environment, so he developed plenty of activities, including comedy skits, a bacon bonfire, real-life Mario Kart, bubble soccer, hockey and a color war.

"Spring Thaw is a lot of work," he says. "But I believe it's important to the work God is doing in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m glad to be a part of that."

Registration is full, but visit the Spring Thaw Facebook page for more info about this retreat.

Chaplain and seminary graduate Emil Khooda: ‘New Wine, New Wineskins is a hidden gem’

When Emil Khooda decided to earn his M.Div., a friend recommended Multnomah for its out-of-the-box thinking and cultural engagement program — New Wine, New Wineskins. That program had a lasting impact on Khooda’s life.

“Christians can get insular and forget to engage with people outside their faith,” he says. “New Wine is a hidden gem — it paints a vivid reflection of who Christ is and how he interacted with people.”

The seminary graduate says the program equipped him to meet his calling as a hospital chaplain. “Now I can meaningfully speak into peoples’ lives,” he says. Read Emil’s story.

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MU’s global studies program prepares students for work around the world

MU's intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. But the switch is more than a name change. I sat down with Global Studies Chair Dr. Greg Burch for the full scoop.

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How is global studies different from intercultural studies?

Global studies provides students with everything intercultural studies did, but changing the name opened up the opportunity to add five concentrations:

  • Global Ministry
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture and Diversity
  • Applied Linguistics
  • International Regional Studies

These concentrations are interdisciplinary. So a student might take an English class on minority voices. Or say you have a student who wants to work in the Middle East after they graduate. Now they can spend a semester over there. Want to translate the Bible? Applied Linguistics will teach you how to preserve culture while giving the written word of God to those who haven't had access to it. Our concentrations provide students with better skills to work in their area of interest.

Why was this change made?

Over the past couple of years our department has been researching a way forward for our program given the complexities of our globalized world. We noted that the intercultural studies program had remained virtually unchanged for a number of years, so we assessed the program through student focus groups and one-on-one interviews. We got the sense that the current program was not connecting as well as it could with this generation of students who were living in a highly complex mission environment.

What kind of feedback were you getting from these focus groups and one-on-one meetings?

Students talked about needing practical skills and a targeted education. Now these concentrations get to the skills they wanted. We’ve also indicated potential career options around each concentration.

Another thing they mentioned was having redundant classes. So I removed an entire class and combined other classes.

What are you most excited about as you move forward?

The Children at Risk concentration. I’ve worked with street children and children at risk for over 10 years. That’s what God has made me for. This concentration prepares them for national and international work with kids.

We’re also enlarging the opportunities students will have for vocational ministry and marketplace jobs. I’m excited about the fact that we’re getting beyond that secular/sacred divide in missions that was so ingrained in many of our Bible colleges and seminaries. We have come to realize that we must engage with our culture and world in vocations that are relevant to where people are at.

Some students are not in the position to raise support for missions the traditional way. But there are things they can do beyond missions work. Their calling can be found in governmental or secular organizations. They can have salaries and still serve Christ in their mission. Others will still feel called to serve with faith-based missions agencies, and we still prepare people for support raising and missionary service.

There is a crisis in missiological education today. The culture of missions is changing, but a lot of missions programs haven’t changed. We’re trying to get ahead of the curve, and we’re trying to engage where we are today without watering anything down.

Who is this program for?

If you’re interested in serving people, working with ethnic groups, church-planting, international vocations — this is critical for you. You’ll be given the tools to thrive. If you want to be a transforming force in the world, these classes will help. Each concentration has its values and provides practical skills in those areas.

What are the benefits of getting the Bible and theology major with the global studies major?

You’ll be well-rounded. You’ll become someone who loves God’s Word. And if you work with non-faith-based organizations, where you might be a minority as a Christian, developing habits of spiritual discipline will be all the more important.

Also, understanding global theology helps us understand what other people are thinking, so we’re not surprised with different ways of processing. We need to think openly when learning from the global church. Our faculty does a wonderful job preparing students for that.

Join the party

The Global Studies Department is having a celebration/informational meeting, and you're invited!

Friday March 13
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.*
Bradley Hall, B3

Intercultural studies students will learn about transitioning to global studies, and others can hear details about the new program. There will also be food, music and a time of international worship.

*This time counts toward chapel credits

Learn more about our global studies program.

Right at home in Reno

When Pastor Mike Stewart decided to spring for a Master of Divinity degree, he knew he couldn’t look far from home. The 43-year-old’s roots had burrowed into Reno, Nev. — and into the church he and his wife planted 10 years ago.

So when Stewart discovered Multnomah’s Reno-Tahoe campus, he was delighted. “I love the convenience of experiencing world-class education 15 minutes from my office,” he says. “With my family being planted in Reno, an accredited resource like Multnomah is a God-send.”

'Equipped to minister'

MU’s presence in Reno-Tahoe was a long time in the making. Conversations began more than 15 years ago when several church and business leaders from northern Nevada approached Multnomah about the possibility of creating a Bible college in Reno.

“Many of our young people were leaving Reno for their college education,” says Dean of Students Tony Slavin. “But then they would never return to Nevada. We needed a place where they could be equipped to minister in the church here.”

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Director of Reno-Tahoe John McKendricks and Dean of Students Tony Slavin.

'Filling a role no one else is filling'

In 2008, MU’s board of trustees approved a recommendation to merge with a little school in Reno called Meadows Bible Institute. After the board at Meadows accepted, both institutions negotiated an agreement that would transfer all Meadow’s assets to Multnomah. Under the direction of former president Daniel Lockwood, the agreement was signed that summer, and the first accredited biblical university in Nevada was born.

“We’re filling a role that no one else is filling,” says Director John McKendricks. “And we’re maintaining connections with the broader faith community.”

Slavin agrees. “What’s going on in the classroom is inseparable with what’s happening in local churches,” he says. “Students are gaining a hands-on approach to ministry from well-educated pastors.”

'A strong biblical foundation'

One of those students is Alina Bjerre, a 25-year-old kindergarten teacher earning her Bible and theology degree. Like Stewart, Bjerre has deep roots in Reno and wanted an education close to home.  Multnomah was the perfect fit. “I was so excited about what I would learn here,” she says. “I see value in getting this degree. We should all have a strong biblical foundation.”

Bjerre is building that foundation with the help of some talented and caring faculty. “The professors are fascinating to listen to and passionate about what they teach,” she says. “And they’re so personable — I feel like I can talk to them about anything.”

But what stands out to Bjerre the most is the unique community Multnomah attracts. “People come here with different interpretations, but we all love Jesus,” she says.

'Diversity within our unity'

Slavin feels the same way. “We have amazing students spanning across all ages and representing 17 denominations,” he explains. “MU creates an atmosphere that encourages diversity within our unity. These students have become my family and friends and co-learners. We teach them how to study and how to think, but not what to believe.”

That’s something Stewart has greatly appreciated. “There's a grounded, practical feel to the classes and intended outcomes at Multnomah,” he says. “I've been able to connect so much of what I’ve learned to the church I pastor. MU also provides a place for students to gather in a neutral environment for fellowship and discussion. My education has been valuable, but the relationships I’ve developed have been invaluable.”

Learn more about Multnomah Reno-Tahoe.

MA in TESOL graduate Bernie Bernardo: Representing the Master Teacher

Comments Off Written on February 25th, 2015 by
Categories: Students

Bernie Bernardo, an English instructor at Portland Community College and Columbia School of English, says MU’s MA in TESOL program didn't just teach him practical methodologies — it taught him to own an uncompromising faith.

“At Multnomah, you learn how to become a teacher who represents our Master Teacher,” he says. Read Bernie's story.

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