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Summer Break? It's Hardly That for Busy APU Faculty

by Michelle Bonja '12

For students, summer inspires visions of relaxation, catching up on sleep, or completing additional courses or internships. Azusa Pacific faculty, however, often rely on the summer months to embark on significant scholarship- and service-related projects. Whether they are traveling, conducting research, presenting papers, or leading mission trips, the months leading up to a new academic year are anything but a break for APU faculty. This summer:

  • Alan Oda, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology, teamed up with an organization called Christian Relief, Assistance, Support, and Hope (CRASH). His home church, Venice Santa Monica Free Methodist, along with its sister church, travelled to Ichinoseki, Japan, to convert an elementary school into the Maharlika Missions Center and reach out to those in need after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
  • Edmund Mazza, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of History and Political Science, researched a book on the history of Christian understanding of truth and tolerance before heading to Rome to continue research at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. He plans to conduct interviews with bishops, cardinals, and professors. “The question of how to promote the Gospel in a pluralistic environment is an enduring one,” said Mazza.
  • Chong Ho (Alex) Yu, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology, partnered with Chinese Outreach, a Christian organization that uses radio programs to reach the Chinese audience in Los Angeles. He has participated in three programs thus far. “The programs don’t ‘hard-sell’ the Gospel. Rather, they discuss different social and cultural issues, and introduce the Christian perspectives,” explained Yu.
  • Christopher Flannery, Ph.D., professor in the Department of History and Political Science, traveled to Ashland University in Ohio to teach a course that wrestled with what it means to be an American. He has taught several courses in the past to help high school teachers across the nation get their master’s degrees in American history and government. “I teach in the program because the curriculum is excellent, and the teachers enrolled are committed to teaching the coming generations of citizens how to understand their country,” said Flannery.
  • Mark Eaton, Ph.D., professor in the Department of English, joined seven other faculty members on a trip to Oxford for a faith-based seminar designed to develop both knowledge and resources for faith integration in the classroom. They explored John Wesley’s influence, the 19th century Oxford movement, and C.S. Lewis. “We also discussed the changing face of Christianity in the 21st century, reflecting on the potentially visionary role Christian higher education can play,” said Eaton.
  • Priscila Diaz, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, conducted a mock research conference in which 12 students presented an original research project to other students and faculty. Participants appreciate the discussion-like and one-on-one presentation format in a friendly and intimate environment. “The purpose of this exercise is to practice what is expected at a professional psychology conference,” said Diaz.
  • Rachel Sharpe Bodell, assistant professor in the School of Business and Management, directed the European Study Abroad L’APEU trip. Students across all business majors visited eight countries and 10 international organizations during the five-week intensive program that included two business classes. In addition, the trip provided other cultural activities, such as a Vespa tour in Rome and a bike tour in Paris. “My greatest joy is watching these students become empowered, confident, and more energetic about investing in others through business and service,” said Bodell.
Students share original research projects at a mock research conference directed by Priscila Diaz, Ph.D., over the summer.