About the Center
Biola University values experiential and cross-cultural learning. We are committed to providing opportunities for our students to participate in Study Abroad & Study USA programs. These programs offer a unique opportunity for students to make the world their classroom, going beyond the confines of the traditional classroom experience. These are vital to our ability to fulfill our mission to educate students in mind and character and to impact the world for Christ.
Students who are interested in this type of educational experience should begin planning as early as freshmen year. Most programs welcome juniors and seniors to apply, however, some programs are available to second semester sophomores.
The Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement (CCCE) creates, promotes, and facilitates opportunities for faculty and students to better understand cultural differences with the purpose of engaging and learning beyond Biola's cultural frame of reference.
To ensure that Biola students have the opportunity to engage in significant cross-cultural experiences through community engagement, Study Abroad, and Study USA programs via academic service learning.
In 2010 a Cross-Cultural Engagement Task Force was charged with exploring the question, "How can we move toward the day where it is essentially impossible for a student to graduate from Biola University without having engaged in a significant cross-cultural experience?" One of the most important factors in addressing this question involved the development of an infrastructure to support a curricular approach for Biola students to have a significant cross-cultural experience. The development of the infrastructure and curricular approach would address two of the seven University aspirations:
- Cultivate competent and courageous graduates
- Build a cross-cultural Christian community
A Vice Provost for Multi-Ethnic and Cross-Cultural Engagement (VPMECCE) was hired to begin the initial process of development of an infrastructure. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current cross-cultural educational (domestic and international) experience at Biola, multiple meetings were held with key stakeholders across campus.
Faculty members, student development staff, student and parent representatives as well as an outside consultant collaborated as a think tank to develop elements of Biola's cross-cultural engagement desires and needs. The university also became a member of a national and regional organization that provides academic resources for schools desiring to engage cross-culturally through the approach of community-based or academic service learning both locally and globally.
In fall 2012 the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement was actualized. Located within the Mosaic Cultural Center, CCCE is the hub for local and global cross-cultural engagement. CCCE encompasses the following: Faculty Fellows Engaging Community (FFEC), Study Abroad and Study USA, Faculty Study Tours and the Biola Student Exchange Program.
Therefore, it is in a spirit of courage and conviction that the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement continues to move forward to strengthen and sustain a campus community to further impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gail Buck, Director
Dr. Gail Buck is Director of the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement and Faculty at Biola University. Her tenure in higher education encompasses 24 years. At Biola University, she oversees a very unique amalgamation of study abroad and civic engagement integrated with academic service learning. Working with non-profits in alliance with faculty study tours, domestic and international study abroad programs, Dr. Buck leads a staff who is able to enhance the transition of understanding, mindset, and character as students and faculty engage cross-culturally.
In 2013, Dr. Buck developed the curriculum for a first time Faculty Fellows Engaging Community initiative that supports gifted and ambitious faculty scholars at Biola University. This initiative integrates an Academic Service Learning (ASL) component in one or more of their courses connecting academic study and civic engagement through reciprocal cross-cultural relationships within communities.
Dr. Buck's research comprises of social behavior of college students, the analysis of social networks and racial stigmas on college campuses, cultural competency, and college student development and retention. She received her Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership / Urban Education from the University of Southern California, Masters of Education, College Student Affairs from Azusa Pacific University, and a Bachelor's degree in Communications at California State University, Fullerton.
Amy Agadoni, Associate Director
Amy Agadoni began working at Biola University in 2005 and was appointed Associate Director of the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement in August 2012. With over seven years of experience in the Office of the Registrar, Amy has transferred her academic expertise in Study Abroad, Study USA, and Faculty Study Tours with Academic Service Learning. Amy earned a Master of Arts degree in Education, with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership in May 2014. She is passionate about higher education and enjoys walking alongside students in their academic journey as they receive clarity and direction about where and how to engage cross-culturally.
Nicholas Jeschke, Coordinator
Since September 2013 Nicholas Jeschke has been the Coordinator for the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement. He previously worked for CCCE as a Graduate Assistant in spring 2013. Nicholas is currently a graduate student in Biola's M.A. Anthropology program.