A team of Corban administrators, faculty, and staff traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia last week to meet with representatives of Universitias Pelita Harapan. While there, a memorandum of understanding was signed that will facilitate student and faculty exchange between the two schools, and as many as 800 high school students were encouraged to picture themselves at Corban. On the visiting team were President Reno Hoff, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Linda Samek, Dean of Education, Matt Lucas, and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Heidi Stowman.
Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH) is a university in Indonesia’s capital city that is considered to be a “global campus” and whose leadership has high goals. Founder of the institution, visionary and professing Christian, James Riady, plans for the student population to reach 20,000 and extensions of the school to reach to other parts of Indonesia and neighboring countries in the near future. Currently with 9,000 students, UPH prepares its graduates for professions in dozens of fields while openly striving to strengthen spiritual values and glorify God in the process.
Dr. Hoff and UPH Rector Jonathan L. Parapak signed the memorandum of understanding in a special ceremony on October 23. President of UPH, Sheldon Nord, (Corban’82), and Dr. Samek added their signatures as witnesses. The agreement provides for the exchange of students and faculty as well as joint activities in research and academics, and fosters a furthering relationship between the two schools that will be of mutual benefit.
Other institutions already sharing similar agreements with UPH are the University of Singapore, La Trobe University of Australia, and Ouchita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Arkansas) in the United States.
Corban works with 15 other study abroad programs in schools across the globe, including the AmbEx Exchange Program in Amberg, Germany and Saints Bible Institute in Italy.In addition to the ceremony, team members embarked on a number of other pursuits during their week in Indonesia. Drs. Samek and Lucas had rounds of meetings with deans and faculty on campus and also interacted with students. Dr. Hoff spoke for a faculty/staff chapel meeting at UPH, while Heidi Stowman presented chapel messages at six different high schools affiliated with UPH. She noted that two students are already in the application process to become students at Corban.
Dr. Hoff explained after his return from Indonesia that UPH looks to Corban as a model of integration for Bible and liberal arts. The Indonesian government issues guidelines for the university curriculum which do not include liberal arts courses. Riady and others in leadership of the school have made it clear that they want to work within the government framework and creatively come up with ways for their students to receive Bible training and a liberal arts education. “Corban impresses them because of our total integration of both,” Dr. Hoff related.
Dr. Samek said that the most important outcome of the meeting, both short-term and long-term, will be the sharing of ideas. The actual exchange of students and faculty may be a year or more away, but she sees professional development going both directions as more immediate.
“I think our faculty can learn from theirs about integrating their personal and professional lives,” she reflected. “They can learn from us about ideas and methods of integrating Bible and liberal arts into their programs.” She indicated that some of their faculty will be invited to join Corban faculty in an online discussion of teaching worldview integration.
Dr. Lucas found an immediate area of involvement for Corban grads as teachers in the K-12 schools affiliated with UPH. “If we can supply that need for them, it can also benefit us in the long run when some of their high school graduates, in turn, come to Corban to study,” he said. Lucas also noted that the predominantly Muslim culture of Indonesia offers all the more reason to work with the Universitas. “There’s a lot for us to learn as a university from them in being change agents for Jesus Christ instead of just teaching about it,” he said.
To read more about the memorandum of understanding between Corban and Universitas Pelita Harapan, visit the UPH website.