Academic center helps CBU faculty integrate their faith into curriculum

Published Aug 01, 2018

Riverside – Dr. DawnEllen Jacobs, director of new faculty development, wants faculty to know their teaching purpose at California Baptist University.

To assist with this goal, she oversees the Teaching and Learning Center at CBU, which aims to empower educators to use their God-given gifts and talents to develop Kingdom professionals.

“Faith integration is a huge part of what we do, and we also desire them to hone their skills as teaching practitioners in their field,” Jacobs said.

The academic center, located in Lancer Arms, serves full-time faculty in their first year at CBU. The center organizes the Seminar on Faith in the Academic Profession (SOFAP), which is a training program that spans more than 70 hours through the faculty’s first year. The seminar is aimed at helping professors ground their curriculum in a biblical worldview.

Dr. Yeesock Kim, associate professor of civil engineering and construction management, said he learned valuable insights through his time in SOFAP.

“We shared great ideas and techniques on teaching, faith integration and how to love our students,” Kim said. “I believe SOFAP promotes strong support of the CBU’s mission and vision.”

Jacobs said for some professors, learning how one’s faith translates into academia can be a new endeavor.

“We have to acknowledge God’s place in the discussion. That’s what makes California Baptist University a university committed to the Great Commission,” Jacobs said. “We can’t equip Great Commission Christians if they don’t understand how God fits into their academic preparation that will inform their service.”

Mary Ann Stahovich, assistant professor of physician assistant studies, took part in SOFAP in 2016-17.

“One facet of SOFAP that I particularly appreciated was the opportunity to regularly engage in the Christian worldview with other new CBU faculty,” Stahovich said. “Since then, I have been grateful to collaborate with some of these faculty, knowing that they, and others at CBU, could all share the Christian worldview in the classroom.”

Jacobs said the Teaching and Learning Center’s name was chosen for the acronym—TLC.

“The faculty needs TLC, and we need to care for our faculty,” Jacobs said. “This is safe space to nurture them, to help them grow and bring them together in community.”

The center also assists in the development of returning faculty by offering workshops and training in areas of integrated teaching, scholarship activities, assimilating to new technology and learning about innovations in teaching and learning. The center also coordinates learning communities for faculty who want to focus on a topic, book or prayer.

The center seeks to be interdisciplinary in the services and the training it offers, Jacobs said.

“Our God is interdisciplinary by nature. He is equally artistic and scientific, so we should break down those artificial silos of academia and think cross-disciplinarily,” Jacobs said.