Editor’s Note: For this section of our new Newsletter, we thought that the best way for you to know more about our students, staff and faculty is I have the pleasure to introduce Munther Isaac as our new Academic Dean. He also happens to be a good friend mine, my favorite teacher and my boss.
Dr. Munther Isaac holds a PhD degree from Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, and is the director of the influential Christ at the Checkpoint conferences. He is also in the process of getting ordained at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
Munther will take over from Dr. Yohanna Katanacho, who served in this position for many years and developed the academic office in many different ways, especially in emphasizing bringing the Palestinian context into the theology and academic process. Dr. Yohanna will remain part of the BBC family, and focus his ministry in the newly establish Nazareth Evangelical College.
“I am grateful for the foundation laid by Dr. Katanacho and also Dr. Salim Munayer who served before him, and I can only hope that I follow in their footsteps”, Munther said.
The Beginning of a New Semester
This is an exciting year for the college! Every two years the college accepts new students for the Media and Tour Guide Departments. This means that this year we will be welcoming more than 40 students to our different programs: Biblical Studies, Media, Tourism, and Master in Christian Leadership. ‘This semester we will have a big number of new students and I am sure they will give new life and color to the college’s atmosphere,’ Munther explains.
For Munther the first weeks of the new semester are crucial to make the new students feel at home. That is why at the beginning of each academic year, we have a big open day to welcome new students and a barbeque party to celebrate their coming. ‘That’s an excellent way to integrate the students to their new life at the college,’ explains Munther. Additionally, for Munther, the Chapel services represent an important part of our campus life and are a great opportunity for our new students to meet the staff, students and professors.
What Makes Bethlehem Bible College so Special?
People come to the college because we are known for good education.. But at the same time Bethlehem Bible College offers each student a warm and welcoming Christian atmosphere to study in. ‘Even though we are an academic organization that emphasizes the importance of academic standards, we are also intentional in caring for each of our student’s life. That makes everyone feel part of a big family,’ explains Munther.
New Programs at Bethlehem Bible College
Munther also shared his excitement about the development of two academic initiatives that will be launched this year.
Starting from September 2015, the college will offer a Masters in Peace studies. ‘We have about 8 Christian and Muslim students,’ comments Munther. ‘These students will have the opportunity to learn about nonviolence and peacemaking from professors from around the world and members of the BBC faculty.’
Another exciting development for this year is the launch of our e-learning pilot project. In this new semester, we will be teaching 4 different courses via e-learning.
‘We will be offering a blended e-learning course for our students in Bethlehem, taught by one of our faculty members who lives in Haifa “Piere Tannous”. In addition, there will be two full e-learning courses to be taught for our students in Gaza, one on Biblical Exegesis and another on Biblical Theology. Also, we will start using e-learning in two of our classroom-based courses. All assignments will be submitted online and all of the course materials, class notes and recommended reading will be uploaded to our portal.’
For Munther, incorporating e-Learning techniques in our classes will enhance the quality of our education and allow for a better communication between students and faculty. Furthermore, Munther explains that ‘after the one year pilot phase, we hope to launch e-learning courses to students from around the Arab world who want to study at the Bethlehem Bible College.
As new Academic Dean of the college, Munther aims to encourage more research and academic publications from the faculty. ‘As Academic Dean I want to encourage our faculty to write more, especially in Arabic, and I am committed to provide them with the necessary space and time to accomplish this endeavor.’
I am sure Munther will fulfill his aim to encourage the college’s faculty. I know this from experience. Throughout my years of studying at the college, Munther was always a source of support for me. He always encouraged me to keep studying, to read and write more and to develop all of my skills. I believe Munther’s new position is a blessing for the college. He is intelligent, young, fun and full of life What is more, Munther is loved by the students and faculty and he is a very talented lecturer, one of those people who you can listen to for hours and never get bored.
Amira is the Communications Coordinator of Bethlehem Bible College. She is a committed Palestinian Christian who has a passion for writing about the intersection of faith and seeking justice for her fellow countrymen. To read more of her writings sign up for Bethlehem Bible College’s monthly newsletter.