Previous | Next

Fall 2017 · Vol. 46 No. 2 · pp. 134–147 

Faith and Life of the Mind

D. Merrill Ewert

Unlike many academics pursuing the life of the mind, my career path was not linear. I began with no specific goal or clear strategy. Rather, I felt called to service, not to a vocation, profession, discipline, or role. My career has combined thinking and doing, theory and practice, reflection and action. I have worked with mission organizations and higher-education institutions, served in private colleges and public universities, taught in the classroom and held administrative roles. My higher-education experience came through a large land-grant institution, an elite Christian college, an Ivy League university, a Mennonite institution, and the US Department of Education.

Christians ought to embrace the opportunity to study and teach in non-Christian institutions. Too few Christians aspire to intellectual leadership in higher education.

This essay outlines how a combination of intercultural service, great mentors, and some critical incidents offered wonderful opportunities that engaged me in the life of the mind. {135}


A Christian graduate student finishing his dissertation at Cornell University asked for my help in planning his career. When I asked about his dream job, he responded: “Yours! I want your job!” That’s why he wanted to know the steps I had taken, the strategies I used, and the principles I followed. I shared my story.

After graduating from Tabor College (Hillsboro, Kansas), I had spent two years volunteering in Congo with the Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions and Services, managing a relief program, teaching in a secondary school, and engaging in agricultural extension. This led to graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I earned an MA in Cultural Anthropology and completed my doctoral coursework in adult and continuing education. At the invitation of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), I returned to Congo with my wife for a three-year volunteer assignment in community development that also enabled me to gather data for my dissertation. I subsequently spent a year completing it before accepting a faculty position in adult and continuing education at the University of Maryland.

Bored from teaching the same large class over and over, and finding all theses were sounding alike, I was ready for something else. MAP International, a faith-based relief and development organization, invited me to become its training director. Feeling a deep sense of call, I took a significant pay cut, and we moved our family to Wheaton, Illinois. I loved the job, but after several years my nonstop travel became difficult for our young family. I was ready when MAP offered me a position in Kenya as Africa Regional Director. This meant our family could spend more time on the same continent.

Instead, a major famine swept across Africa, and my travel increased. After two years, we concluded that this was not sustainable. I took another pay cut and accepted an administrative role back in Illinois at Wheaton College, a position that had been eliminated earlier but was now being reinstated on a trial basis. I believed God had called me to Wheaton to help prepare graduate students for intercultural ministry. I loved facilitating the extension program and teaching community development courses, but in a budget cut three years later, the college again eliminated my position. I applied for every higher education and international development job around, but came up empty. That’s when Cornell University offered me a tenure-track, faculty position. For the first time in my career, a new position brought a raise.

So, I told my student, the principle guiding my career has been simple: “If you tell God that you’re available for his use, he’ll take you up on it. You probably won’t make much money, but it will be really interesting {136} and lots of fun!” My student closed his notebook and responded: “This is not for me. I’m not going to do that. There’s nothing I can learn from your experience!”


Although I had heard many missionary presentations growing up, Dr. Jacob Loewen’s mesmerizing message at a youth conference captured my imagination. I knew I wanted to help alleviate poverty and suffering through community development. Loewen later taught a short course at Tabor that introduced me to anthropology and the systematic study of culture. Subsequent courses with another visiting professor, Dr. Paul Hiebert, pointed me to graduate studies in anthropology and gave me a new mentor.

During my final semester at Tabor, religion professor Clarence Hiebert challenged me to postpone graduate school for a Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions assignment in Congo. That turned into a life-transforming process during which I met Dr. Harold Fahderau, another Mennonite Brethren linguist/anthropologist. He encouraged me to think of it as “field work” to document what I was learning and to pursue graduate studies in anthropology. I subsequently enrolled in the University of Wisconsin master’s program with no career goal beyond thinking of relief and development work as my calling to service.

After completing my MA, I dropped by my advisor’s office to discuss my doctoral program. Instead of offering advice, he asked: “Merrill, what do you want to do with your life?” Startled, I shared my vision for helping alleviate global poverty and suffering through some international organization. His response stunned me: “Merrill, that’s noble. Very noble! Unfortunately, it’s not anthropology.” After a few more minutes of conversation, he stood and—very uncharacteristically—shook my hand, saying: “Have a nice life!”

He realized before I did that a PhD in anthropology would not get me where I wanted to go. Instead, I met with professors in sociology, rural sociology, agricultural economics, development economics, and development studies. All assured me I could achieve my career goals in their programs, but an adult education professor really got my attention when he asked: “Where have you been? What you’re describing is exactly what we do here!” So I ended up with a PhD in adult and continuing education and a minor in rural sociology.

Three Mennonite anthropologists—Loewen, Hiebert, and Fahderau—helped me connect relief and development with scholarship. All held first-rate doctoral degrees. All were scholar-practitioners, carrying out research, publishing articles and papers, and teaching and mentoring. They whetted my appetite for linking scholarship with service. {137}


Near the end of our MCC term in Congo, I was invited to lead a month-long seminar on relief and development at Bethel College (Kansas). I worked alongside Dr. Robert Kreider, Mennonite scholar, thought leader, and former university president (Bluffton, Ohio). He had served in post–World War II relief in Europe, advised MCC, and designed its Teachers Abroad Program. He had now returned to the classroom and was doing research, writing, and contributing to the intellectual life of the denomination.

In addition to all I learned from him about college teaching (preparing a syllabus, organizing lectures, designing assignments, grading papers, and conducting class discussions), he demonstrated the holistic nature of scholarship. He not only showed me higher education had room for scholar-practitioners, but also became my encourager and friend.

Later, at the University of Maryland, I taught, conducted research, and led staff development seminars for its Cooperative Extension System. Although I published my first refereed journal articles and shared my academic work at research conferences, I deeply missed international development work.

My career trajectory changed dramatically at a conference of adult education professors during a session on the “cutting edge” of research in our discipline. I was very disappointed by what I was hearing. Suddenly, a senior professor from another university, sitting next to me, whispered in my ear. Hard of hearing, he spoke more loudly than he intended. Worse, the speaker had just paused for dramatic effect so my neighbor’s words resonated through the room: “Bulls--t!”

Stunned, the speaker stopped and asked, “What is bulls--t?” “All of it,” my colleague responded, and then suggested this proposed “new direction” sacrificed all the meaning and purpose of our work in some futile search for the scientific credibility of our research. Further, since he “didn’t give a damn” about these supposedly cutting-edge issues, he would “go his own way.” I agreed. By this time, MAP International had been recruiting me. Several months after the conference, I gave up my tenure-track position at the university and became MAP’s director of training.

Those four years in Maryland had sharpened my teaching skills and taught me about doing research, publishing, critiquing dissertations, and the peer review process. More importantly, I had built a network of professional relationships within the academy. Although a practitioner, I worked at the intersection of theory and practice, continuing to publish and speak at academic conferences. I became the person Donald Schon wrote about in The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. 1

Having now returned to international development, I assumed my higher education career was over. A decade later, the professor who had sparked that life-transforming discussion at the conference (and with {138} whom I had stayed in touch) passed away unexpectedly. Cornell hired me to replace him because, as a search committee member told me, “We knew you believed in something!”


Given that all truth comes from God, I’ve never been afraid of ultimate questions. On the contrary, studying God’s creation helps us know the Creator in a more personal and intimate way. My graduate studies exploded some cherished assumptions, but also introduced me to new ideas and bodies of literature. Though my faith in God never wavered, I came to doubt whether the church—particularly the evangelical tradition—was still relevant.

Reading Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed for a graduate course turned my view of education and development on its head. 2 It forced me to rethink the teaching and learning process, challenged my understanding of poverty, changed my “theory of society,” and transformed my view of development. I began engaging people in learning with a view toward social change rather than simply trying to transmit knowledge or teach skills.

Freire argued poverty is systemic and grounded in injustice. Those controlling social institutions not only oppress the poor for their own benefit but also create myths to perpetuate inequality and rationalize their own privilege. The tragedy of oppressive systems, Freire wrote, is that the poor often internalize a sense of inferiority. Those who believe they are poor because of their own failings are unlikely to change anything. Freire, however, engaged them in conversations that both taught literacy skills and stimulated new ways of thinking about their place in the world. This new awareness fostered hope and motivated people toward social and political action.

Although the political elite labeled Freire a “socialist,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” or even “communist,” and the Brazilian government exiled him to Chile, I heard him describe himself as “a follower of Jesus.” For drawing on Freire’s work, some participants in MAP’s health development workshops called me a socialist as well. After I left Wheaton, an administrator told me that some missionaries who had served in Latin America suggested he fire me for my “Marxist” views.

My interactions with evangelical missionaries through MAP and Wheaton shaped my research at Cornell. I became curious about how religious values inform the development philosophies of intercultural workers. With funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts and other foundations, my graduate students and I surveyed nearly 2,500 evangelical missionaries, NGO development workers, and MCC volunteers to examine how people’s worldviews shaped their approaches to intercultural ministry. {139}

Our analysis identified three development orientations. Some defined the “problem of development” as people’s lack of knowledge, so they focused their efforts on sharing information, transferring technology, and teaching people new skills. We called this the Assistance Approach. We found a second orientation among those who engaged groups in communal problem solving; we labeled this the Community-Based Approach. The third group attributed poverty to unjust structures and focused on engaging people in conversations that raised awareness of inequality, gave people hope, and mobilized them to action. We called this the Structural Approach.

Interestingly, people’s political and theological orientations were the most highly correlated variables in the study. Our regression models suggested they were also the most significant predictors of people’s development orientations. The most theologically (or politically) conservative workers generally adopted the Assistance Approach, while the more theologically and politically liberal ones usually embraced the need for structural change and collective action—with the rest falling in between.

Our findings explained some reactions I had received throughout my career. 3 Those familiar with my progressive political views often wondered how I “survived” Wheaton College. Others, referencing my personal faith, expressed surprise that I earned tenure at Cornell. Actually, my Cornell colleagues and students were far more accepting of my theology than many Wheaton students were of my sociology or politics.


Cornell University’s distinguished Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Historian of Science, Will Provine, was a master teacher. A colleague and I who cotaught a graduate course called “Effective College Teaching” invited Provine to share some aspect of what he considered “best practices” with our students. He framed his remarks around his personal relationship and public debates with Phillip E. Johnson, an evangelical Christian, author of Darwin on Trial and one of the architects of “intelligent design.” 4 Both polished speakers, their debates packed Bailey Hall, the largest auditorium on campus.

These debates, Provine suggested, demonstrated effective teaching and learning at their best. We should tackle big issues, debate them vigorously, maintain intellectual integrity and treat those with whom we disagree with great respect. Though Provine said he personally found no evidence for the existence of God or the afterlife, he respected Johnson’s position, debated it with integrity and described him as “a friend.” Provine brought that same sharp intellect and respect to other conversations with Christian professors at Cornell.

Some Christians assume professors in Research I universities are a biased, bigoted, antireligious bunch. That was not my experience, either {140} as a graduate student or as a professor. I found that research universities not only have intellectual space for divergent views, but actually welcome them.

Rather than avoiding these institutions, Christians ought to embrace the opportunity to study and teach in them. Too many Christians have relinquished their places in the academy, historian Mark Noll argues in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. The “scandal,” is that there “is no evangelical mind.” Too few Christians aspire to intellectual leadership in higher education. 5

Unfortunately, in faith-based institutions, professors often limit their scholarship to the application of knowledge, rather than to its discovery. They focus on identifying “a Christian approach” to one’s discipline rather than contributing to the discipline itself. This can foster a perception that Christian institutions settle for second-rate scholarship. As president of Fresno Pacific University, I responded to critics by saying: “We teach chemistry, not Christian chemistry! Our social scientists study psychology and sociology, not Christian social science.” Though we ground our work in kingdom values and view our disciplines through the lens of faith, we nonetheless seek to contribute to the world’s knowledge base.


The Sunday morning after moving to Ithaca, New York, my wife and I randomly picked a church from the yellow pages. The first person to greet me after the service wondered if we were visiting. I explained we had just moved, so she asked what brought us to town. “Cornell,” I said. “Are you a graduate student?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “I’m a new professor.” Expecting words of congratulations, I was unprepared for her response: “You poor man! I’m so sorry you have to teach in that godless place!”

A moment later, the pastor came over. After I introduced myself, he asked me the location of my office. That seemed like an odd question, but I answered. He then shouted at someone across the narthex: “We’ve got another one! We’re now in Kennedy Hall!” Seeing my puzzled look, he explained that people in the congregation were praying earnestly that God would saturate the campus with Christians, “and now we’ve got you in Kennedy Hall!” I was suddenly surrounded—and warmly welcomed—by other Cornell professors and staff from the congregation.

I learned, however, not all Christian professors are equally effective or successful in research universities. Some colleagues carefully hid their faith. I also encountered cultural warriors doing battle with colleagues, departments, and the university itself—fighting perceived “discrimination” against Christians. I read about them in the campus newspaper but kept my distance. They were known for their crusades rather than their academic {141} achievements. Other Christian professors quietly identified themselves as followers of Jesus and concentrated on doing first-rate scholarship.

Cornell’s academic reputation and expertise in international development attracted missionaries and Christian development workers to graduate studies. Many showed up in my office at some point, sent by local pastors or other students. Ironically, I ended up doing exactly what I had done at Wheaton but couldn’t continue when the job was eliminated: mentoring Christian graduate students in community development practice!


I overheard several of my Cornell graduate students reflect on their undergraduate experience at Christian colleges. One said, “I learned how to be a Christian on [his college campus]; I never learned how to be a Christian in [the city where that institution was located].” Another described a college where students were “told what to think” rather than “encouraged to think or taught how.” This sparked a serious conversation on the difference between Christian institutions that foster critical thinking and social engagement, and those that don’t.

This came to mind several years later as I considered whether to leave a tenured faculty position and leadership role to become president of Fresno Pacific University. Reviewing the Christian universities with which I was familiar, I created a two-by-two matrix as a heuristic to differentiate them from each other in how they treat their core values. Was reflecting on those values of “high” importance or “low?” To what extent do these universities engage people in action growing out of their faith? Was “action” of great (“high”) or lesser (“low”) importance? This analysis produced four “types” of Christian universities (see Figure 1).

Churches and denominations founded many colleges that no longer engage in systematic or serious theological reflection. The actions of these once-Christian institutions are not specifically informed by any founding religious values, as James Burtchaell wrote in The Dying of the Light. 6 Any residual theological content within these institutions is minimalist at best. Among the remaining three groups of still-Christian colleges, one helps students expand their theological knowledge and deepen their worldviews through serious reflection. That was my students’ assessment of their experience on Christian campuses. In that environment, they sharpened their critical thinking skills and deepened their faith, but also disengaged from the culture. They saw their alma maters as cloisters, removed from “the world.”

The third group comprises Christian colleges and universities that emphasize the affirmation and transmission of their core values without engaging students in serious theological reflection. Students are taught to {142} share their worldviews without questioning them. For these institutions, education involves extending Christian values without examining them. Instead of teaching critical thinking skills, they foster value foreclosure and turn some graduates into cultural warriors—with a cause, a message, and an agenda.

In this reflection/action heuristic, the fourth group consists of Christian universities that celebrate their core values and faith commitments but engage the culture through critical thinking and social action. Faculty and students not only question their underlying assumptions and core values, but also interact with the culture to transform it.

That’s when I discovered the “Fresno Pacific Idea” through Paul Toews’s book, Mennonite Idealism and Higher Education. 7 These foundational principles affirm that FPU is committed to being thoroughly Christian in its orientation, to function as a community of learners, and to take a prophetic stance vis-à-vis society and culture. The Idea captured my imagination and framed my call to Fresno Pacific University as an engaged university.

Figure 1

Figure 1. A typology of Christian colleges and universities


Having entered graduate school to prepare for a career in community development practice, I was naïve about the nature of scholarship, the life of the mind, and universities themselves. Mentors modeled scholarship, provided direction, offered encouragement, introduced the workings of higher education, and presented opportunities to develop my leadership skills. They also taught me the following important lessons.

1. Follow your passion. If your life as a scholar isn’t great fun on a good day, it will become unbearable on a bad one! Most of us are drawn to {143} a discipline because we find it important and interesting. The fundamental questions make sense and we enjoy its tools. Early in my graduate studies, I found a linguistics course intriguing enough to consider switching fields, but the professor’s response to my major project stopped me cold: “The analysis in your paper is technically correct but not elegant.” He did me an enormous favor by intimating I’d never be a great linguist. I also realized I enjoyed anthropology and sociology much more and could apply those tools to my life as a practitioner and scholar. People passionate about their disciplines do better work.

2. Be informed, but not limited, by the advice of others. Public policy debates on higher education often focus on a discipline’s return on investment (ROI). A recent article suggested anthropology had replaced art history as having the worst ROI. The academic trolls reveled: “You’ll never get a job in anthropology!” “What a waste!” “Worthless degrees like these give all academics a bad name.”

Though I have never worked as an anthropologist, anthropology introduced me to the study of culture, sharpened my powers of observation, and refined my analytical skills. It provided frameworks for understanding social change, introduced me to the social science literature, and helped me appreciate cultural differences. It also opened doors for leadership roles in intercultural contexts.

Before leaving for our MCC assignment in Congo, a respected Wisconsin professor told me, “You’re throwing your life away.” When I gave up my tenure track position at Maryland for MAP, a well-known scholar told me, “We had such hope for you. You had such potential and could have had a great career, but now you’re throwing it away!” A Christian leader whose advice I had sought warned me not to take the position at Wheaton College. The funding was tenuous (as events subsequently confirmed). Additionally, “No self-respecting academic institution will ever hire you again if you go there.”

Despite this advice, I followed my sense of call. We should listen to others but not be constrained by their views.

3. Commit completely. Some dabble in graduate school, taking a course here and another there rather than immersing themselves. Those who attend fulltime have a qualitative advantage over those who stretch their programs out. Some disciplines provide assistantships that enable students to study fulltime and interact regularly with professors, postdoctoral fellows, and other graduate students.

Nearly all my University of Maryland graduate students held fulltime jobs and enrolled in one course at a time. This not only extended their graduate programs for years but also caused them to miss the special lectures and seminars that are part of campus life. At Cornell, my advisees {144} attended fulltime, so we had weekly (or biweekly) conversations over lunch. We discussed articles, critiqued each other’s papers, reviewed research proposals, and commented on dissertation chapters. Most participated in my research projects, built relationships with students and professors from other departments, and usually completed their doctoral programs more quickly than their peers. Before graduating, most had coauthored (with me) journal articles, book chapters, or research reports. They had not only attended conferences and delivered research papers, but also formed a close personal and professional network that continues today.

Academic careers are built on terminal degrees. Some people brag about taking shortcuts and sliding through their programs with minimal effort. Having received little guidance, supervision, or critique, they’re unlikely to contribute to serious scholarship. Nor should they expect to find teaching positions in research institutions. The life of the mind requires a deep and abiding commitment to scholarship.

4. Seek out good mentors. As a master’s student in a large department, I received little direction from my advisor, but through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I met a senior professor in history who appreciated my passion, knew my professors, and understood my field. He became a sounding board, encourager, mentor, and friend for life.

At Cornell, Christian graduate students came to me from across the campus, sent by other Christian students, local pastors, and missions organizations. Sometimes friends who taught at Christian colleges encouraged former students pursuing further studies at Cornell to seek me out so I could connect them with other Christian graduate students. Though I usually knew nothing about their disciplines, I could listen, encourage, and help them navigate the university systems. Good mentors are embedded throughout most universities. Graduate students and young professors should seek them out.

5. Show up. Scholarship is a job, just like farming or construction. Successful farmers show up every day: preparing the soil, planting their fields, eradicating weeds, and repairing machines. Fail at any of these, and you can lose the crop. The same is true in the academy.

Most universities expect faculty to teach, serve on committees, and share their scholarship with society. The school calendar, the syllabus, and the dean generally ensure classes are taught, papers read, and grades assigned. University committees and governance structures are so ingrained in faculty life that they also require little planning. Since scholarship lacks this same urgency, many young professors give it short shrift, giving up the very essence of what originally attracted them to their disciplines.

Successful scholars set aside regular, uninterrupted time for study, research, and writing. Although counterintuitive, writing leads to {145} inspiration, not the other way around. Those who write regularly become inspired and creative, while those who wait until they feel inspired rarely finish anything. Inspiration is more often the product of disciplined work than its cause. Productive scholars show up every day.

6. Be a great collaborator and work hard. At Cornell I came to know the university’s vice president of research and professor of physics, Robert Richardson, who had won the Nobel Prize for Physics. I asked how he did it. First, he responded, he surrounded himself with the brightest people he could find. Together, they focused on an interesting and important question that drove them deeply into the world’s knowledge base. They learned everything there was to know about the topic. Their collaboration and very hard work then paid off in a paradigm-shifting discovery. He added, “We also got lucky!”

7. Develop a data management system. Young scholars need great work habits, organizational skills, and a mechanism to document their accomplishments. An electronic database with files for each criterion in one’s job description is essential. It should include one’s work history, syllabi, course evaluations, research proposals, grants, annual performance reviews, and publications (with subsets for refereed journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, research reports, and even blogs). This system should also include committee service, governance roles and speeches, and workshops and lectures to outside groups.

Since universities build their promotion processes around specific criteria, scholars who track their work along those lines and keep that system up to date usually develop more effective portfolios than those who don’t. Success in the academy requires more than good work; others must know you did it!

8. Be a good citizen. Every university has professors known as “good citizens”—respected for the quality of their scholarship, their effectiveness as mentors, the quality of their service on committees, and their positive contributions to governance. They participate in the social, academic, and cultural life of the institution and relate well to its constituents. Administrators describe these good citizens as “low maintenance” and, not surprisingly, go to them when seeking input. Their names come to mind first when new opportunities for leadership emerge. They’re not only sought out by other institutions looking for new professors, they may even command higher salaries.

Sadly, universities also have some cynical, angry, and bitter professors—with grievances that are personal (a perceived slight), professional (feeling their work is underappreciated), or institutional (anger at administrators). Harvard Professor Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Henry Kissinger was fond of saying, “Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” {146}

Institutional politicians can be toxic, stirring up dissent, fomenting battles with the administration, and lowering morale. I’ve seen naïve and untenured professors align themselves with institutional warriors—and become them. In the process, they lost their credibility as scholars and eroded their own reputations for independent thinking. My advice to every young scholar is: run from the cynics; flee from the academic politicians!

Investing time in “public science,” on the other hand, can help young scholars establish themselves professionally. At a time when many citizens are suspicious of science in general and universities in particular, professors can contribute to their institutions’ public missions and standing in society. Social media have greatly simplified the process through which knowledge can be shared beyond academic peers and disciplines. I had a small research project examining the link between literacy education and community development. It produced a book chapter, refereed conference papers, and a student’s dissertation. Additionally, the local National Public Radio station interviewed me, and the newspaper ran a story about the project. Neither became a formal part of my review for tenure, but it caught attention, made the university look good, and opened new opportunities for me.

Too many people view academics as ivory tower dilettantes. Professors who use their scholarship in the service of society distinguish themselves from their peers.


For me, answering my call to service led to a career in relief, development, education, and administrative leadership. It brought an intriguing mix of opportunities, transformative moments, and wonderful mentors that linked my scholarship with my practice. The two informed and illuminated each other—enriching the journey! 8


  1. Donald A. Schon, The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action (New York: Basic Books, 1983).
  2. Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Continuum, 1970).
  3. Kristen A. Grace, D. Merrill Ewert, and Paul R. Eberts, “MCCers and Evangelicals: Perspectives of Development,” Conrad Grebel Review 13, no. 3 (1995): 365–84.
  4. Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993).
  5. Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: {147} Eerdmans, 1994).
  6. James Tunstead Burtchaell, The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from their Christian Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998).
  7. Paul Toews, ed., Mennonite Idealism and Higher Education: The Story of the Fresno Pacific College Idea (Fresno, CA: Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, 1995).
  8. For a list of Merrill Ewert’s publications and more information about his projects, see
D. Merrill Ewert is President Emeritus of Fresno Pacific University. He earned a BA from Tabor College and his master’s (Cultural Anthropology) and PhD (Adult and Continuing Education) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He served with the Mennonite Brethren Mission Board, Mennonite Central Committee, and MAP International, taught at the University of Maryland, and held teaching and administrative roles at Wheaton College and Cornell University. He served as Fresno Pacific University’s president (2002–2012) before retiring to become an advisor to the US Department of Education.

Previous | Next