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December 2017 Newsletter

Feb 28, 2018

In This Issue

  1. A Word from Our Dean
  2. Making an Impact in Cambodia
  3. Students Serve in Zambia with Dr. Cid
  4. Faculty Introductions
  5. SOE Reunion 2018
  6. Did You Know...
  7. Alumni Spotlight
  8. Read More


A Word from our Dean

june hetzel

Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading the Biola University School of Education newsletter. This is your go-to source for SOE news, events and features.

In this letter, read round-the-world adventures from our faculty, students and alumni.

We're grateful you're in the SOE community, and we look forward to connecting with you soon!

For God's glory,

June Hetzel's signature




June Hetzel, Ph.D.
Dean of School of Education



Making an Impact in Cambodia

Khmer teachers and Biola professor with Cambodian preschool students

Khmer teachers being supported in learning by Biola SOE professors. Alumna and Adjunct Professor Carly Bedard, students and teachers in the Asian Hope preschool program.

During 1975–1979, Cambodia was ravaged by the systematic genocide of over 2 million men, women and children at the hands of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Approximately 80% of Cambodia’s teachers were killed in a deliberate attempt to exterminate all facets of education. Today, the educational system is still plagued by poorly organized government agencies, outdated and scarce curriculum, inadequate teacher training and teacher shortages. In addition, Cambodia has struggled to offer equal access to primary education to children living in poverty within the city and those living in remote village areas. The lack of educational opportunity places these children at high risk of being exploited for labor or sold to child traffickers, who supply them to brothels both locally and throughout the country. Biola University’s School of Education faculty help equip local educators who are committed to making a difference to be effective classroom practitioners in an environment that combines educational theory with clinically-based practice.

Biola professors have worked directly with the nearly 125 teachers serving within the Asian Hope schools, impacting nearly 3,500 students for the past five years. The Asian Hope Catch Up Programs serve approximately 500 students. These students need additional educational support in order to be caught up academically to their peers attending public schools. In addition to providing professional development training to the teachers of Logos International School, Asian Hope International School and the Asian Hope Catch up Programs, the professors from the School of Education help prepare future teachers in Cambodia through a partnership with The Teachers Training Program (TTP).

Cambodian children in schoolThe comprehensive training (over five years to date) focuses on teaching and applying specific skills in a classroom setting by providing instruction in classroom management, lesson planning and innovative teaching methods.

This coming fall, a School of Education graduate student will be joining the Biola professors and participate in the training of the Asian Hope teachers at all three sites. We welcome participation from all students, both graduate and undergraduate, as we help build capacity within an organization and serve children well in Cambodia. Our goal is to equip others to serve the Lord Jesus Christ via educational ministry.

If you are interested in joining the fall 2018 team, please contact and for further information.



Students Serve in Zambia with Dr. Cid

Dr. Cid and Biola students with Zambian teachers

Front row: Alyssa White, Mary Bwlal, Charley Parker and Kirstin Bishop
Back row: Lazarous Chinsanga, Phellestars Chinsanga and Dr. Cid

Biola University is partnering with Operation Mobilization (OM) on efforts to provide professional development for teachers, emerging teachers and potential teachers. Operation Mobilization in Zambia currently offers a teacher training program for national citizens on the Kabwe base. Biola’s School of Education (SOE) is partnering to take these trainings out to the villages in the surrounding region.

Zambian children holding up their coloring projectsThe country of Zambia is located in southeast Africa. The country borders eight countries. In the summers of 2016 and 2017, students accompanied a Biola SOE professor to the region to support the teacher training efforts of OM.

It is important to note that the mortality rate in Zambia is 48 years of age and that most girls are not educated. Girls, living in the villages, are the primary work force. The girls raise the other children and serve as laborers for the household to survive. Many villages that OM serves do not have electricity or running water. The act of simply keeping the family members served with water can be a full-time job for the girls in the community. The girls spend many hours walking to wells and bringing the water back to the family home.

Most of the children who do get to go to school in the rural areas of Zambia walk miles to reach their destination. Mostly one will see boys in school uniforms heading to school as the girls are usually required to stay home and take care of siblings and basic survival needs. In the three trips taken by four professors in the School of Education (SOE), it was noted that school attendance, even for the boys, was inconsistent.

In the Lake Tanganyika region, the young boys are taught to fish at an early age. The girls participate in the activities noted above. The culture in the Lake District is one of superstition. In a visit to this region to work with the teachers at an OM school for orphans and a visit to the lake brought clear understanding of the challenges of spreading the gospel in combination of educating students and teachers. The villagers shared that every fishing boat had “blood” on the vessel. (This is, of course, an exception for the OM fishing boats.)

These boats have scriptures written on the sides. The other fishing boats literally have blood on them. Every fishing season each boat represents a human sacrifice. The head boat master must sacrifice a favored child or the strongest and best fisherman on the boat. The thinking is that the spirit of the child or fisherman is always with the hull of the boat and brings favor so the catch is increased each season. One of the interesting aspects of this practice is that the boats with the scriptures written on them almost always have the largest catches of the season. This is a testimonial opportunity for the Christian fishermen. They are able to share that the blood of Christ is all one needs for salvation and protection from evil spirits and that this salvation is not just for the fishermen from OM, but is offered to all who believe.

Group picture of Zambian students and a Biola studentThe lack of educational opportunities for those living in the village regions place young girls at high risk of being sold into marriage at a very young age. In June 2016 one SOE professor and graduate student spent two and four weeks respectively providing professional development to developing teachers and current teachers. During one of the visits, a sixth grade student (Grace) was sold into marriage. The head teacher worked diligently to raise the money to buy this young girl back. She was able to raise the five dollars necessary to purchase this girl and Grace returned to school.  This is not an outlier situation. This is common in this region.

It is easy to see the need for quality teachers in all countries. It is easy to see that education makes a difference and that educating parents and students is critical for economic success. However, when one comes alongside teachers, missionaries, students and people who love the Lord, God does amazing things. Education offered by Christian educators is much more than education of mind and skills. Christian educators offer change in the eternal realm: an introduction to the One True God, salvation, calling, understanding of eternal life with Christ, cultural impact on community practices and hope for the future.

Training modules and clinical preparation models are woven together to provide teachers the opportunity to translate knowledge into practice in a much more fluid and authentic context than if they were sitting in a traditional professional development seminar. Biola’s School of Education is continuing the partnership with Operation Mobilization in Zambia in an effort to support teacher training and serve these families and children with quality education and perhaps another option for a different future.

In the summer of 2017, Dr. Luciano Cid took three Biola SOE students to Zambia to participate in the teacher training. Students are welcome to apply to be part of the summer 2018 trip. Students may also take the aligned three-unit course if interested. Please contact Luciano Cid for further information.



Faculty Introductions

Virginia Johnson

Virginia Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education

Dr. Virginia Johnson has served at Biola University since 1996. Most every student who has gone through the Liberal Studies Program and/or the multiple subject teaching program during the last 20 years in Biola University's School of Education has had Dr. Johnson as a professor.

Dr. Johnson is currently on a year-long Sabbatical, resting, writing and enjoying the fruit of her labor over the last several decades. She is also transitioning into retirement. Whether teaching, writing or counseling, Dr. Johnson has served our students well and has been and continues to be well loved by our current student and alumni.

Join us April 28, 2018 for the Education Reunion as we honor Dr. Johnson for 20 years of faithful years of service. This is a "don't miss" event!



SOE Reunion 2018

Join us on Saturday, April 28, 2018 for the School of Education reunion.

Reconnect with your classmates and professors as we celebrate all that the Lord has done in SOE.






Did You Know...

You can become a special education intern and work your way toward a credential? In a traditional credential program, students are required to spend a semester student teacching as the final step of the credentialing process.

In Biola's Special Education Intern Credential program, students hold a full- or part-time (paid!) teaching position throughout the program which replaces the fieldwork and student teaching requirement. Students in the intern program can obtain a job under a two-year intern credential and receive invaluable supervisor support during the first year or two in the classroom.

Our first Biola student in this program, Ashley James, began teaching at LAUSD this fall as a (paid!) Special Education teacher while she completes her Special Education Credential through our online program. Way to go Ashley!

Special Education credential students must complete several prerequisites
prior to applying to become an Intern. These requirements include a semester or two of coursework, passage of all CSETs, among others. Once all prerequisites are met, students can apply to become an intern and find a teaching job. In the field of Special Education, the need for teachers is great!

If you’d like more information on our Special Education Intern program, please email Kimberly Van Lant.

View application online.



Alumni Spotlight

Josehine Mucharia-Lowe

Dr. Josephine Mucharia-Lowe

Congratulations to alumna Dr. Josephine Mucharia-Lowe who just graduated with a Ph.D. from Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.

Her dissertation is titled, "Evaluating Cross-cultural Acculturation Experiences Influencing International Black African Students' Academic Success in a United States University."

Dr. Mucharia-Lowe earned her Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education and her Master of Arts in Education from Biola University. Currently, she is raising her family, teaching at Mt. San Antonio College and mentoring international college students. To see her flourish in her education, her entire village — back home in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya — helped contribute towards (harambee) paying her Biola education. She has given back by starting a literacy center in her home village.

The entire School of Education applauds Josephine's success and ability to overcome obstacles and rejoices in her current contributions to higher education. Congratulations Dr. Macharia-Lowe!


Know any SOE Alumni Worthy of the Spotlight?

Reply to this email with their name, graduation year and why the School of Education community should hear their story. (Self-recommendations are welcome!)


Read More

A teacher and elementary students looking at a globe

Enroll in Homeschool Courses!‚Äč Join Biola Youth Academics in Southern California or online.

Educating students with autism spectrum disorders

New Book! Educating Students with Autism Spectrum DIsorders (Sage) by School of Education professor Robin LaBarbera.


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