Looking Back and Looking Forward

What a year 2021 has been! For some, the year has been an extremely difficult continuation of many of the struggles of 2020. For others, it’s been a year of new opportunities as adjustments have been made to new global realities. At BGU, we’ve faced our fair share of struggles just as so many other organizations in higher education have faced. Yet, 2021 was also a year of breakthrough in many ways for BGU. There is much to celebrate.

Even though we postponed an urban immersion to Honduras, BGU hosted our first ever virtual urban immersion where students traveled virtually to eight different cities around the globe to learn about transformational leadership with the guidance of one of BGU’s most innovative professors, Dr. Dotun Reju from Nigeria. The enrollment for the Philadelphia urban immersion course in October was about half of the number of students that might ordinarily register for a course like that, and, yet, we moved forward with it and the students who attended had a one-of-a-kind experience as Dr. Wayne Weathers did a masterful job utilizing the city of Philadelphia as a classroom for leadership studies over ten power packed days. And, BGU’s traditional online courses equipped hundreds of leaders to recalibrate their leadership approaches and organizational strategies in light of complex global realities.

With the spirit of innovation and creativity that comes with training leaders during tough times, BGU has rolled out new courses in Spanish and Korean throughout the course of 2021. Our partnership with CETI has been going strong with several excellent courses in Spanish at the MATL level, and a cohort of leaders from Korea is learning about Theology of Work with other leaders from around the world through usage of the latest translation technology that is available in higher education. Both of these new programs are contributing to the overall growth at BGU, which is very exciting. We currently have 230 active students at BGU, well on our way to exceeding our goal of having 250 active students by the year 2024. And, that growth is happening even with graduating nearly 50 students at an in person and virtual graduation ceremony that was held in Dallas in June of 2020. All of BGU’s five programs seem to be stabilizing or growing, especially including the new PhD program in Innovative Urban Leadership that is attracting many students who are producing world class research.

As we turn toward 2022, the future is bright. The world will still be facing unique challenges, and BGU will be positioned to equip transformational change agents in cities throughout the world who are working in many sectors of society. There will be new partnerships, new technology and teaching methodologies, new research, new students, new faculty and staff, and new ideas to fuel our important work in God’s redemptive mission. We’re hoping to roll out new course offerings in timely topics such as missional spiritual formation, urban arts, peace and conflict resolution, and educational leadership. Our revamped Board of Regents is collaborating on ways to help BGU to become even more global and contextualized in our approaches to training leaders. There’s so much going on. We’re looking forward to what God is going to do in 2022!

Dr. Bryan McCabe

Academic Dean