November 24, 2017

Gordon Partners With Wycliffe On New Program

Ethnomusicologists from Wycliffe lead worship. Photo by Deepak Bardhan.

By Katie Simpson ’20
Editor-in-chief

Gordon announced the creation of a new Bible translation program during a convocation celebrating the life and legacy of distinguished linguist and Gordon alumnus, Kenneth Pike.

The program will not fall under any specific department. Instead it will be a collaboration between members.

Various departments and faculty members across campus have had input within the development of the program including the Global Education Office, the Global Honors Institute, the Education and Biology departments, as well as specific faculty members from the Computer Science and Mathematics (Russ Tuck),  Kinesiology (Jessica Ventura), Languages and Linguistics (Damon DiMauro, Leasa Lutes, and Graeme Bird), Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries (Sharon Ketcham, Dan Darko, and Bob Whittet), and Psychology departments (Susan Bobb, who helped lead the team), Curry said.

“This has truly been an intercampus endeavor,” Curry said in her announcement.

Bobb said, “It is both a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary program, in the best tradition of liberal arts.”

“The Bible Translation Program is so called, because it is meant to support Bible-translation efforts around the globe, though it draws perforce on a great number of different fields in order to achieve that overarching goal,” she continued, adding that undergraduate students from all majors are welcome to apply to the program.

The announcement follows a week of events highlighting members of Wycliffe Bible Translators, who are working with Gordon on the program. Susan Bobb, a Gordon psychology professor who has been involved in the development of the program, said of Wycliffe, “what excites us about this partnership is their passion for mentoring and stewarding students – equipping them for the work to which god is calling them.”

Bobb described the creation of the program as, “a bit like many threads coming together at a Kairos moment.” She added, “The faculty who serve on the committee each have had personal experience with or a connection to missions, translation, or Wycliffe/Wycliffe Partners.”

The collaboration was also made possible by Senior Vice President for Advancement, Paul Edwards, who had worked with Wycliffe in the past and worked with Curry to find interested faculty to work on the program, Bobb said.

“Several of us went on a blitz visit of the Wycliffe USA headquarters down in Orlando over quad break last spring to meet some of the staff and join a Scripture Celebration, much like the one we experienced last Thursday evening,” Bobb said. “Those of us who went came away with a deep sense that connecting with Wycliffe was an exciting opportunity, and that what Wycliffe offers fits well with the interests we currently see in our students.”

Bobb is hopeful that this program will not only serve the academic needs of students, but also allow them to develop and follow their vocation regardless of finance. This will be made possible through mentorship opportunities, specific courses and projects developed by Gordon professors in conjunction with Wycliffe, and financial support.

“In a word, we want to see those who participate feel as though they have a strong basis from which to enter ministry— personally, professionally, and financially,” Bobb said.  

When asked why Bible translation is a worthwhile program for Gordon to pursue Bobb said, “the creation of the Bible Translation Program brings together Gordon College’s 128-year commitment to teaching the Scriptures and to missions.”

She continued, “the program also dovetails with the strategic objectives that the college is currently pursuing. Gordon has recently committed to increasing internships for students and providing tuition support to enable entrepreneurial pursuits by students.”

Students will be required to take 20-28 credits of “common coursework” in topics including Foundational Skills, Cultural and Interpersonal Awareness, and Historical or Political Context, as well as participating in an Experiential Learning capstone. Next, students will work with their major/minor advisers and their Bible Translation advisor to determine courses in topics ranging from technological support to education and literacy.

Why such a broad range of topics? “Workers are… needed in virtually every domain, from teaching to engineering, from finances to human resources, from information technology to ethnomusicology,” Bobb said.

The program is scheduled to begin accepting applications in Fall 2018 for the first cohort to begin studies in Spring 2019.

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