Faculty & Administration

The M.A. in International Studies faculty are multicultural educators with global mindsets. In addition to their scholarly training, they bring real-world experience gained from working in a diverse set of international and non-profit organizations.

Schuler, Yi

Director of MAIS Program

Biography

Dr. Schuler has lived and served in higher education in both China and United States. As a multicultural educator with a global mindset, Dr. Schuler understands first-hand the wide range of challenges faced by various communities. She is a strong advocate and practitioner on seeking solutions that would benefit all the stakeholders in a given community. Dr. Schuler earned her doctoral degree in Intercultural Education from Biola University. She also has extensive experience in program development, curriculum design, social research, classroom and online instruction, faculty and student support, student advising and retention, student recruitment, enrolment management, budgeting, marketing and program promotion. Dr. Schuler currently serves as Director for the MAIS program at Concordia University, Irvine. She is also a proud mother of two high school kids, Michael and Michelle.

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Foster, Barb

Academic Advisor

Biography

Barb has served as academic advisor in the School of Professional Studies for five years. Her student populations include Online Bachelor’s Degree, Masters in Healthcare Administration and Masters in International Studies. It has been her favorite career thus far as she is able to encourage students to reach their potential and realize their dreams; professionally and personally. Barb has four children, three granddaughters and one on the way. She moved from the Chicago area 26 years ago and still misses the change of seasons. She look forward to working with you !

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Bongoyok, Moussa

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Dr. Moussa Bongoyok is Professor of Intercultural Studies and Holistic Development at Institut Universitaire de Developpement International (IUDI) in Cameroon of Central Africa. He is also the President of that institution. He lived and taught in various nations around the world. His expertise in intercultural relations and relevant topics is much needed in international studies today. He speaks six languages and can read three more.

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Bongoyok, Moussa

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Professor Michelle Cagnin grew up in Indiana and Hong Kong. She has a MA in International Development Studies from George Washington University and a MA in Education from Concordia University St. Paul. She has lived in multiple cities in China including Hong Kong, Harbin, Qingdao, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Kunming as a student, non-governmental organization (NGO) worker and an English teacher. As a Mandarin speaker and with over ten years of non-profit experience in China and Asia, Professor Cagnin brings both a passion for China and experience in non-profit management to the International Development strand. She is passionate about program management, public health, empowerment through education, and protection of the vulnerable in society. Now based in Kunming with her family, Professor Cagnin serves as adjunct professor for Concordia University Irvine and an active international development practitioner for an non-profit organization.

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Chambers, Paul

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Paul Chambers is a Lecturer and Special Advisor on International Relations at the College of ASEAN Community Studies, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand. In addition, he is a Research Fellow at: the German Institute of Global Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, Germany, the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) in Frankfurt, Germany, and the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He graduated with a Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University in 2003. Chambers’ research interests focus on civil-military relations in Southeast Asia; international politics of Southeast Asia; and the political economy of mainland Southeast Asia. He has written or co-written five books as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters about the military, democratization, and international politics of Southeast Asia. His articles have appeared in Asian Survey, Contemporary Southeast Asia and The Journal of Contemporary Asia, among others. His research focuses upon Thailand, but he has also pursued research pertaining to the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

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Drury, Elizabeth

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Elizabeth Childs Drury, PhD, MA, teaches, writes, and serves to catalyze intercultural effectiveness in global, diverse, or changing contexts. With interests rooted in her own experience of living and working overseas (Germany, Hungary, and Costa Rica), Elizabeth has trained hundreds of teachers for international appointments, directed Central Europe programs for a Christian educational services agency, and served since 1996 in four multiethnic churches in the US, currently as assistant pastor at a Wesleyan church of the urban homeless and poor near Washington, DC, where she lives with her husband and four sons.

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English, Alexander

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Dr. Alex English has lived overseas for over ten years. His first abroad experience was in Chile where he lived with a host family for one year. He traveled around South America and gained a passion for learning languages and foreign cultures. Upon returning to the United States and finishing his bachelor’s degree at Arizona State, Alex enrolled in the MAIS China program in 2007 at Concordia University. He embarked on a one-year teaching and study abroad experience that led him to complete his PhD in China. Dr. English is currently a Research Fellow at the Shanghai Intercultural Institute at Shanghai International Studies University. He is also an intercultural trainer for Cartus and is extremely active in social and cultural psychology. Dr. English is interested in assisting graduate students in complete their capstone projects with an interest in Latin America or Asia.

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Geng, Sophia

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Dr. Sophia Geng is an Associate Professor of Chinese at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Dr. Geng grew up in Binzhou City, Shandong Province. After getting her B.A. from Shandong Teachers’ University and M.A. from Beijing Foreign Studies University, in 2001, Dr. Geng entered the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities for her Doctorate Degree. In 2007, Dr. Geng joined the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University (CSB/SJU), where she became tenured in 2013. Dr. Geng currently serves as the director of the Asian Studies Program at CSB/SJU. Dr. Geng’s academic interest lies in gender studies, migration and diaspora, the safeguarding of cultural heritage, and humanities’ roles in public education. Dr. Geng has extensive experience in faculty-student collaborative research and she believes in a curriculum that balances academic and experiential learning opportunities for students. Dr. Geng encourages students to explore research topics that speak to personal inspirations and advance social progress.

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Griner, Jessica

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Having worked and traveled in over 46 countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa, Jessica considers herself a truly international educator. From 2008-2015, Jessica lived in China and worked in educational capacity building in various sectors. From 2015-2016, Jessica lived in Rwanda and worked with teacher associations across East Africa as an English Language Fellow with the US Department of State. Currently, Jessica is leading the internationalization of a venture capital-backed company assisting community colleges in the recruitment and support of international students. Jessica is an expert on China and East Africa with particular interests in global philanthropy, international student support, social issues, teacher training, and poverty alleviation.

Hooper, Heath

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Dr. Hooper joined the Shorter faculty in 2012 as Assistant Professor of Sport Management and has served as chair of the Department of Sport Management. As dean, Dr. Hooper leads the Ledbetter College of Business, which offers undergraduate degree programs in Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, and Sport Management as well as the Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy programs. Dr. Hooper holds a Bachelor of Science in Sport Studies from Reinhardt College, a Master of Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University – Irvine, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a specialization in Sport Management from Northcentral University. Prior to higher education, He has served three years as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Reinhardt University and Young Harris College. Dr. Hooper also serves as an adjunct instructor for Concordia University-Irvine.

Dr. Hooper resides in Rome, Georgia with his wife, AnnMarie Hooper and their son Tyler Wesley Hooper.

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Marriott, John

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

John Marriott is Professor of Apologetics at Missional University and adjunct professor of Philosophy and Intercultural Studies at Biola University. He is also an associate at the Renaissance Forum, a ministry committed to impacting culture through promoting truth, goodness and beauty. John's research interests include, the theology and philosophy of culture, cultural anthropology and the factors that lead to the loss of faith among Christians. As a former pastor, John seeks to help the Church better understand and interact with contemporary culture and assist our increasingly secular culture to better understand the Church.

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Norton, John

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Dr. Norton teaches courses in Shakespearean drama, 18th-century British literature, and American literature. He also teaches in the English core curriculum. Although primarily a Shakespearean, Norton’s academic interests are wide, and he enjoys uncovering and analyzing the life in Shakespeare and other literature in his classes and in his writing. Norton’s articles have appeared in Shakespeare, Early Modern Literary Studies, and Continuum Renaissance Drama. His most recent book (2018), Killing Physicians: Shakespeare's Blind Heroes and Reformation Saints (New Reformation Press), explores the influence of Reformation theology on Shakespeare's tragedies and late plays.

Norton is one of the leaders and developers of the Around-the-World Semester. He and his family- wife Erica, sons Jack and Sheffield, and daughter Naomi- launched and helped lead ATW teams in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Through his work with the ATW semester, Norton has helped to design the Global Cultural Studies Minor and the International Studies Major.

Some of Dr. Norton’s fondest memories at Concordia are from his years as head coach of the men's and women's tennis teams, 2005-2010.

Education

  • Ph.D. - English, Sheffield Hallam University
  • M.A. - California State University, Fullerton
  • B.A. - Point Loma Nazarene University

Teaching

  • Shakespeare
  • American Literature
  • Seminar in English
  • Core English
  • Writing and Research
  • Literary Theory
  • Modern and Contemporary Drama
  • Modern and Contemporary Novel
  • Creative Nonfiction

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Roger Philips has been in international management for over twenty years. In addition to his consulting practice, he is adjunct professor and lead course instructor for the international business strand of Master of Arts in International Studies program at Concordia University. This program emphasizes study of Chinese business. Prof. Philips also teaches in the MBA program and leads business study tours to Shanghai and Beijing.

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Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

John Straw grew up in Flint, Michigan and received his Bachelors from the University of Michigan with a degree in Spanish and Education. He went on to earn a Masters in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, focusing on social justice and bilingual education. John and his wife lived for five years in Honduras and Guatemala working on a variety of community-based health and development projects. Since 1997, John has worked with Concern America, a globally focused development organization based in southern California, with health, water, and income-generation projects in Latin America. He has been the Executive Director of Concern America since 2012.

In addition to his international development work, John has taught Spanish at the middle and high school levels, education and international development at the college level, has served on a number of non-profit boards, and regularly participates in political, justice, and solidarity efforts focused on Latin America. John and his wife live in Santa Ana, California, are the proud parents of two children ages 18 and 16.

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Waite, Peichi

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Dr. Peichi Waite is a graduate of Harvard University and has advised MAIS students in their research on education (mostly high school and university based projects, including study abroad, student motivation, English instruction, educational technology, student stress, economics); culture and identity (including beauty, politics, and self-image); Internet, social media and technology use (including gaming, politics, crossover with education, and digital piracy); and different aspects of business and marketing (including infrastructure; effects on ecology; beauty, fashion, luxury goods, food and wine consumption).

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Yu, Ashley

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

After years of experience in international education, international development, and public policy, Ashley A. Yu now serves as a Franklin Fellow to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of International Visitors to provide guidance on strategic communications initiatives to highlight the impact of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). She has worked at a variety of NGO and public sector institutions in China, Myanmar, and the United States including UNOPS, Tag International Development, the Korean Resource Center, and more, with a focus in communications. Ashley holds a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. in International Studies from Concordia University Irvine. Her graduate research was published in the peer reviewed Global Studies Journal.

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Zwart, Julie

Capstone adviser/course professor

Biography

Julie is currently a faculty member at Oregon State University, where she teaches and advises international students in the Intensive English Language Program. She has worked on multiple curriculum development projects which focus on bridging the cultural gap between eastern and western education. Prior to her current position, she worked and lived in China, Japan and the Czech Republic. Julie holds a MA from Concordia University and a BA from Hope College. She has been advising MAIS students since 2012 and her primary research interests are cross cultural communication and acculturation, particularly as they relate to US/China relationships.

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