Experts on "Intercultural Studies"

Marla Campbell

  • Professor Emerita of Intercultural Studies

Presently Dr. Marla Campbell teaches with the faculty of the School of Intercultural Studies following five years in the Education Department at Biola University. Prior to this, Marla served as Dean of Students at Bethany College and as a missionary in the Balkans of Eastern Europe then later with Asia-Pacific Education working with Bible colleges. All of these have offered opportunities to fulfill her desire to reach the lost, especially through the teaching and training of others who will carry on the task. During her 14 years of teaching in Christian high schools, Dr. Campbell had a vision for taking drama ministry teams nationally and internationally with the development of Parable Drama. Her mission opportunities have taken her throughout the USA and to over 60 countries. Whether at home or abroad, Marla has always had a focus on education and ministries with a strong passion for biblical integration, intentional living and spiritual formation. She enjoys opportunities to teach and speak in a variety of these venues as well as in women's ministry settings. Equipping Christian educators in public or private schools, whether at home or abroad, remains a primary focus for both speaking and publishing.

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Stephanie Chan

  • Assistant Professor of Sociology

Stephanie Chan is a cultural sociologist who teaches courses in introductory sociology, globalization, cross-national sociology, Chinese society, and research design. Her research centers on issues of cross-cultural and international cooperation. She has conducted research on cross-cultural cooperation within transnational non-governmental organizations in China and on debates over U.S. policy for promoting human rights in China. She is currently an assistant professor of sociology at Biola University. Chan received her bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She continued to earn her master’s degree in East Asian studies from Stanford University and her doctorate in sociology from the University of California, San Diego.

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Murray S. Decker

  • Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies

Murray Decker has taught at Biola University since 1993, teaching courses such as Interpersonal and Intercultural Adjustment, Foundations of Global Studies, Short-term Mission Leadership, Experiential Learning Theory, Intercultural Internship, Cross-cultural Issues in Spiritual Formation and Gospel and Culture. His field experience includes serving in Cameroon, West Africa as a missionary, as well as numerous trips to serve in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Turkey. He serves as a missions consultant to churches and has spoken at numerous missions conferences at churches, schools and seminaries. Decker's research interests include sojourner adjustment (the process of cross-cultural adaptation and adjustment to living in new environments), missions mobilization, spiritual formation and experiential learning. Murray's passion over the years has been to mentor students and journey with them in life as they prepare to impact the world for Jesus. Murray is married to DeAnn, and has two children. They make their home in La Mirada.

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Octavio Javier Esqueda

  • Professor of Christian Higher Education

Octavio Javier Esqueda is a professor of Christian higher education in the doctoral programs in educational studies at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He was born and raised in Guadalajara, México, where he graduated with honors with a Licenciatura in Latin American Literature from the University of Guadalajara as well as two additional diplomas, one on religion and society and the second on journalism. He graduated with honors from Dallas Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Christian Education and completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of North Texas. Before coming to Biola University in 2011, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas for over seven years. He and his wife, Angélica, have two children Darío and Salma. Esqueda has several publications on theological education, Christian higher education and literature. Teaching is his passion and has had the opportunity to teach in several countries on different academic levels. He is an avid soccer fan.

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Douglas Hayward

  • Professor Emeritus of Intercultural Studies

Dr. Hayward was a missionary for 20 years among the highlands Dani people in Papua, Indonesia. His ministries include church planting, community development coordinator, leadership training and staff development, and supervision. He has written three books on the Dani people, plus numerous journal articles, encyclopedia entries, and chapters in books on missiological topics. He teaches classes in anthropology, folk religion, contextualization, ethics, new religious movements, and spiritual warfare. His outstanding contributions as a teacher have been acknowledged by awards from Who's Who Among America's teachers, the Marquis Who's Who in the World, and Who's Who in American Education.

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Gary L McIntosh

  • Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership

Gary L. McIntosh is a nationally and internationally known professor of Christian Ministry & Leadership. He is recognized as the foremost spokesperson for classical Church Growth Missiology in the USA. As a church growth expert, he publishes Growth Points, a monthly publication read by over 7,000 church leaders. McIntosh is in wide demand as a speaker and seminar leader on numerous subjects related to church life and ministry. He has published over 300 articles and reviews in Christian magazines and theological journals, and is the author of twenty-two books including One Size Doesn't Fit All; One Church, Four Generations; Staff Your Church for Growth; Biblical Church Growth, and the award-winning What Every Pastor Should Know: 101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church (Baker Books, 2013).

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Alan McMahan

  • Undergraduate Chair, Cook School of Intercultural Studies
  • Program Director Undergraduate Studies for Intercultural Studies
  • Professor of Intercultural Studies

Alan McMahan has served in churches in North America and on the Pacific Rim as well as taught in the areas of missiology, church growth, leadership, organizational development and evangelism. He has been active in training undergraduate and graduate students including mid-career professionals, Bible school teachers, pastors and denominational leaders through the U.S., Canada, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia in the effective means to develop leaders and grow churches. He maintains an active consulting service in churches and is the former President of the American Society of Church Growth. He has earned degrees from Fuller Seminary, Asbury Seminary, the Alliance Theological Seminary and Nyack College. His Ph.D. dissertation was entitled, "Training Turnaround Leaders, Systemic Approaches to Reinstate Growth in Plateaued Churches." He has served as a Vice President for the Alliance Theological Seminary, and as the Academic Dean at The King’s College in mid-town Manhattan. McMahan now works at Biola University as an Associate Professor in the School of Intercultural Studies and serves as the Department Chair for the Undergraduate Intercultural Studies Program. He is married to Terri, and has two sons.

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Ashish J Naidu

  • Associate Professor of Theology

Ashish Naidu's interests are in the areas of historical and systematic theology, particularly in exploring the historical-theological foundations of the Christian faith. Besides contributing to various publications and regularly presenting at academic societies, he relishes teaching theology enriched by insights from the great tradition of historic Christianity. Naidu desires to serve the church by assisting it to advance from the knowledge of sacred Scripture to the knowledge of sacred doctrine for the practical Christian life that is deeply committed to glorifying God. He is married to Sabita and they have two delightful children named Sharon and Nathan. Naidu is an ordained minister and has served in various capacities in the church, including preaching, teaching, pastoral care and evangelism-discipleship ministries in Asia, North America and Europe.

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Kenneth Nehrbass

  • Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies
  • Program Director, MA Intercultural Studies

Kenneth Nehrbass was a pastor before he and his wife Mendy joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 2000. In 2002, they moved to the island of Tanna (in Vanuatu) to translate the New Testament with a team of nationals. In 2012 they moved back to the USA, and Nehrbass became assistant professor of International Studies at Belhaven University. In 2014, he moved to Biola to teach and direct the M.A. and Ph.D. Programs in intercultural studies. He continues to volunteer as a translation and anthropology consultant with SIL and the Seed Company. His research focuses on contextual theology and missiological anthropology. He and his wife have four children.

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Katherine Purgason

  • Chair, Department of Applied Linguistics & TSEOL
  • Program Director, Applied Linguistics & TESOL
  • Professor of TESOL

Kitty Purgason brings to her classes in TESOL methodology, curriculum, materials and intercultural communication her years of experience living, studying, serving and teaching in India, Russia, Korea, China, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Mauritania, Indonesia, Kuwait, Oman, Tajikistan, Vietnam and Spain. She has received three Fulbright fellowships and the Biola Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. She has been a U.S. State Department English Language Specialist. Her professional interests include methodology in local context and professional ethics.

Purgason has presented on methodology and materials-related topics at more than 30 local, state and national TESOL conferences, and has spoken about TESOL at Urbana and other similar conferences. She is the author of "Planning Lessons and Units" in Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Snow (2013), "Classroom Guidelines for Teachers with Convictions" in Wong and Canagarajah (2009), English Language Teaching in Theological Contexts (2010), and “A Clearer Picture…A Reader Responds to Julian Edge’s ‘Imperial Troopers and Servants of the Lord’” in TESOL Quarterly 36:4 (2004).


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Judith Mendelsohn Rood

  • Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies

Judith Mendelsohn Rood received her Ph.D. in Modern Middle Eastern History from the University of Chicago and her M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. She earned her B.A. at New College, an experimental liberal arts college modeled on the Oxford University curriculum, and did undergraduate and graduate work at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Rood was the first woman ever permitted to undertake research in the Islamic Archives in Jerusalem, and was the first American since 1967 to do so. Her specialization is the Muslim community in Jerusalem during the Ottoman period. She is especially interested in the relations of Muslims, Christians and Jews from an historical perspective. Currently she is working on writing a history of world civilizations. Rood loves the arts, hiking, swimming and good conversation.

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Richard L. Starcher

  • Professor of Intercultural Education & Missiology
  • Associate Dean
  • Chair, Doctor of Intercultural Studies

Richard Starcher served as a pastor in rural Nebraska and as a missionary in Africa for 20 years. He taught at the Goyongo Bible Institute in Zaire, at the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology in the Central African Republic and at the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Kenya where he also served as Dean of Extension Studies. He continues to teach and serve as an educational consultant in Africa. He is particularly interested in research methods and in exploring models for equipping leaders for the majority world Church. He also edits Missiology: An International Review, the official journal of the American Society of Missiology.

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Allen L. Yeh

  • Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies

Allen Yeh is a missiologist who specializes in Latin America and China. He also has other academic interests in history, classical music, homiletics, social justice, the California missions, the Maya, and biographical interest in Jonathan Edwards (America's greatest theologian) and Adoniram Judson (America's first intercontinental missionary). He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia. He earned his B.A. from Yale, M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell, M.Th. from Edinburgh, and D.Phil. from Oxford. Despite this alphabet soup, he believes that experience is the greatest teacher of all (besides the Bible). As such, Allen has been to over 60 countries on every continent, to study, do missions work, and experience the culture. As Mark Twain said in 1857, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

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