Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Greg Burch’

Watch our new global studies major video

The global studies program equips students for a deep commitment to understanding and engaging in the global issues affecting our world today.

"You don't have to wait to put things into practice...this program connects you with people working in cross-cultural settings right now," says global studies major Kevin Perry. "It's all about understanding other peoples' worldviews and understanding how I can love them better through understanding their cultural context."

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.

Truly Holistic: MA in Global Development & Justice Flourishes

The inaugural year of Multnomah's MA in Global Development and Justice (MAGDJ) is in full swing. The program, launched last fall, equips students for a lifetime of fruitful service in the vast world of justice initiatives, poverty alleviation, disaster response and compassion projects. I'm happy to highlight this program, especially in light of the two justice-centered events MU hosted last week: the Global Missions Conference and the Justice Conference Portland. The MAGDJ ties in beautifully with Multnomah's holistic approach to the world's toughest problems. I sat down with Intercultural Studies Chair and Director of the MAGDJ, Dr. Greg Burch, to find out more about this dynamic degree.

'A globally-focused graduate program'

imageBurch earned his bachelor's degree at Multnomah in 1994, and then immediately jumped into global development work in Venezuela. He ministered to homeless youth for several years before moving to Costa Rica to teach at a seminary.

One day, he received an email from MU's Intercultural Studies Chair, Dr. Tom Kopp, who asked him what he thought a globally-focused graduate program in humanitarian studies would look like. Many students had been asking about such a degree, and Kopp wanted to turn their hopes into a reality.

Burch sent Kopp his thoughts. The program never got off the ground, but when Kopp retired from Multnomah two years later, Burch applied for his position. He got the job, and moved with his wife and two kids to Portland. As soon as he began working at MU in summer 2012, Burch threw himself into crafting a program proposal for an MA in Global Development and Justice. The board and accreditors approved it, and a new major was born.

'A fabulous place to prepare'

Students received the program with open arms. Karen Sele says she always knew MU was an intentionally Bible-based university, but she wasn't prepared for the personalized care and customized teaching the MAGDJ program gives her: "I'm impressed that the most intensive assignments are flexibly structured to complement each individual’s focus," she says. "The members of our cohort bring a valuable tapestry of backgrounds, experiences and views to our discussions. After only one term of learning and supporting each other, we’ve developed a deep community of friendship which will extend beyond this program as we come alongside God in his work of restoration here and around the world. If God is calling you to this kind of work, Multnomah is a fabulous place to prepare!"

Sele and her classmates will completes 300 hours of internship before graduating. Burch is currently helping students find their ideal internship matches; he's compiled a list of organizations they can work for, and is busy writing several letters of recommendation. His students are applying to International Justice Mission, World ReliefSamaritan's Purse and several other well-respected for-profits and nonprofits. "We do a good job of networking with organizations who can hire our students after they get their degree," he says. "I want my students to go all over the world after they graduate."

Serving in a quality way

Burch says his students are very different from one another, but they're all earning a MAGDJ degree for the same reason — they have a deep desire to help others and to make the world a better place. "These students are amazing," he says. "They're so passionate about reaching out to people on the fringes of society."

But it takes more than passion to work in the field. Early burnout is a common issue. "Many people only last about two years when they work with a group like at-risk youth," says Burch. "But I want our students to be able to serve a lifetime." Burch and his team of professors make it a priority to train students in the art of soul care, self-care and spiritual formation, "so they can serve in a quality way," he says.

Although Burch dreams of growing his program, he's more concerned about making sure his students are equipped to tackle anything that comes their way. "I'm not numbers-focused," Burch says. "I want to mentor my students and walk with them."

'Truly holistic'

There are other global development and justice degrees out there, but Burch recommends MU's program for a few good reasons: "It's faith-based and truly holistic," he says. "We incorporate spirituality into the curriculum. We want the people we help to develop in their relationship with God and grow in their leadership abilities. A lot of programs just focus on the financial aspect, but humans are whole beings, and we have more than economic needs."

Burch says there are more jobs in this field than anywhere else. More than 1.9 billion people live on less than $1 per day. Sixteen thousand children die from curable diseases each day. "If you're looking to get rich, then this type of work isn't for you," Burch says. "But if you're looking to serve people and see lives change — this is it."

To learn more about this program, check out the MAGDJ page and read Dr. Burch's article.

MU will also offer a part-time MAGDJ program at its Reno-Tahoe site beginning fall 2014.

You’re Invited to the 74th Annual Global Missions Conference

Olivia Morud — a student volunteer who's helping organize the Global Missions Conference (GMC) — tells us what we can expect from this year's event. The GMC will be held on MU's campus February 18-20. All classes will be cancelled so students can attend event sessions.

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Dr. Dan Video – Global Missions

Comments Off Written on May 3rd, 2012 by
Categories: Alumni, Dr. Lockwood
Dr. Dan Video – Global Missions

In this latest edition of his Conversations series, President of Multnomah University Dr. Daniel Lockwood discusses Multnomah's 8th core value: Global MissionRead the rest of this entry »