During this time of the year we get many visiting lecturers from the USA for our two-week courses. It is always a pleasure reading their reflections about being part of ACC, and this week we hear from an outstanding lady, Jordan Wesley, who was teaching our Organisational Leadership majors Outcomes Measurement and Financial Accountability. Be blessed.
In three terms as a guest lecturer at ACC, I have read final projects that describe small village churches supporting children who have been orphaned because of HIV infection. I have read stories of communities coming together to start small businesses, plant trees or build water pumps. Students have written about improving educational access for girls and starting small gardening projects in urban areas. Some students have worked for international NGOs and describe large-scale poverty alleviation projects and still others participated in government-funded projects to alleviate the impacts of drought and other natural disasters.
As part of my course on Outcomes Measurement and Financial Accountability, each student writes about a social impact program or church project they have witnessed. During class, we discover how to view these experiences through the eyes of an evaluator. We ask difficult questions about how to know if our programs have been successful. We wrestle with outcome measurement theories and sometimes classmates challenge one another to think differently or more deeply.
I am writing this article as I watch students in the 2017 class complete their final quiz. The mood in the room is some combination of joy, relief and high anxiety; and one by one, students submit the 4 question essay test. We smile, shake hands and one student mischievously says, “I know God’s grace will be sufficient for me.” Others in the class laugh, but I’m not worried about his marks. Even as students leave the room and I erase the remnants of class notes from the dry erase board, there is a sense that our work of learning together is not yet complete. Leadership Majors in my course know the work is not yet complete for two reasons. First, they all still owe me a final project worth 40% of the final mark, but most importantly, there is work to be done back home.
I’ll return home tomorrow, and there are American high school students depending on me and my team to support their aspirations to attend university. We have work to do to ensure our program is of the highest quality and that our evaluation efforts capture the story of the transformative work happening. Over the next two years, all of the ACC students in my course will return home as well. They have work to do—work that will involve the community in meaningful ways, work that will evaluate progress and ensure long-term impact, and work that will act in the best interest of society’s most vulnerable members.
This is why I come to African Christian College—not for the coming, but for the going. After teaching and learning in a place of Christ-centered education, I always go out with hopefulness, refreshed determination, and a sense of God’s faithfulness across generations, geographies and cultures. God’s love continues to go out into the world, and I’m amazed to imagine how the Leadership majors will take their final projects and turn them into real life transformative work in God’s Kingdom.