Why I Teach? - An Interview with Prof. Dr. Oladotun Reju

Interviewer: What is your academic background?

I concluded my bachelor’s degree in Lagos, Nigeria, with a degree in Sociology in 1985. My dream was to build a career in the police force with a bias for Mass Communication – I am always amazed at the strange combination. My career path was a total departure from that as I joined the banking industry for a whole decade during which I was apprehended by God in 1990 and I started experiencing a providential life convergence. The church I was part of then ventured into some intensive social-economic ventures called COMMUNITY REFORMATION – this led to the establishment of many initiatives including a Micro-Finance Bank which I eventually joined to continue my banking career but with a new twist. That twist became my baptism into theology of work. I recall my interview chat with the Board when one of the panel members asked me if I realize that my being engaged in the bank is my entrance into ministry. I later transitioned into pastoral ministry after a brief stint as the Chief Accountant of the denomination. Dateline 2008, I decided to further equip myself and got admitted into the West African Theological Seminary where I obtained a master’s degree in Christian Leadership. My first course was Church and Society and my professor was Dr. Gwen Dewey who was visiting from the US. She was accompanied by her husband, Don Dewey. We bonded and the relationship led to my connection with Bakke Graduate University where I obtained my DMin in 2012.

Interviewer: What course do you teach?

I teach three courses for BGU: Theology of Work, Transformational Leadership and Entrepreneurship for Wealth Creation. It’s really very exciting for me to teach these courses because they resonate so much with my personality and the daily activities in which I find myself. I lead a young community of believers in Nigeria who are mostly at a stage in life where they are asking themselves what makes life worth living. This is appropriately complemented by the caliber of students who are being attracted to BGU – a combination of experience and life starters – these courses offer an excellent platform for me to both learn and teach.

Interviewer: What is your teaching style?

I am highly relational person. I love to have meaningful, engaging, and intellectual conversations. As a provocateur by nature, I usually stir up my students’ minds to confront their previous positions on life issues, ideas and thoughts to reflect upon for whole life integration. This relates so much with the courses I teach in BGU especially the theology of work, which challenges learners to see and experience life from a wholistic perspective. My students have described me as a disruptive teacher, which I take as a compliment.

Interviewer: What motivates you to teach?

My primary motivation to teach is to share what I am learning. I describe myself as a lifelong learner which includes but is not limited to academics. This is likely influenced by my father (a teacher), who uses every moment as a learning moment. I recall learning all highway signs as a toddler while travelling with him. It is the desire to share the totality of my life experiences with others that motivates me to teach.

Interviewer: What is unique in the way you teach?

I think this is better answered by my students because of their unique opportunity of comparison with other professors; however, as a scholar practitioner, I have had the rare privilege of functioning as scholar and a field person in leadership development and actual organizational leader/community development practitioner. This coupled with the opportunity of working across diverse cultural and religious divides as a global leader, gives me a unique insight into current global leadership issues and insight into opportunities and possibilities for sustainable systemic change and wholistic transformation. I believe this experience has tremendously carved out a niche for me as a teacher.

Interviewer: What brings joy to your heart?

I’ve not really given a thought to that but reading this now makes me realize the excitement I always get when I read the evaluation and feedback chapter in my students’ project papers. The stories of how my course content has inspired ministries and affected lives goes beyond excellent grades to the wholistic human flourishing in places beyond my horizon.

You can read Dr. Reju's bio HERE.

Watch a video of Dr. Reju HERE.