Thursday, December 8, 2011

Teaching to Learn

As the fall term rushes to completion, I'm looking ahead to Spring 2012. I've asked our university leaders to teach next semester and I'm leading Marketing Research, a required course for marketing majors in the School of Business.

In most of my 25 years in higher education, I've taught both undergraduate and graduate courses including the teaching of Marketing Research many times. However, this will be my first time to teach marketing at LeTourneau and so I am excited. It will be a new venue to interact with our students and I'm sure it will be beneficial for all those who serve on the President's Cabinet.

In thinking about how this course would be different at LETU than at other universities where I've taught, I came upon a lecture given recently at Baylor University by University of Virginia economics professor Kenneth Elzinga. In considering the differences between Christian and secular higher education, he said,

"I would expect Christian higher education to be characterized by professors who mentor students; not just teach them chemistry and accounting, not just teach them biology and Spanish, but model out for them how to walk with Jesus. Not because these faculty members have mastered how to do this, but simply because they've been pilgrims longer, because they have more experience with the consequences of sin and redemption."

Well said! This is a real distinctive of LETU: a faculty who take an active role in mentoring their students. Disciple-making happens simultaneously with higher learning. In fact, the lessons on following Christ may linger long after the learning objectives of the syllabus have been forgotten. It's an important reminder for me: answering Christ's Great Commission to make disciples should be my most important objective in teaching next semester.