Options increase for intercultural studies major

With the new semester come changes to the intercultural studies major at John Brown University.

Starting in spring 2013, intercultural studies students with less than 75 hours will have the opportunity to choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in intercultural studies.

The change will not affect minors.

Ed Klotz, biblical studies professor, is excited about the changes to the program. He said it has the potential to be useful for students once they leave the University.

Students who choose the B.S. route will have no language requirements in their curriculum. Students on the B.A. route will be required to take 12 hours of a language.

“We want to encourage the students who choose to get their B.S. in intercultural studies to double major,” Klotz said. “If they double major, it will give them two different skill sets and also will make them more competitive in the job market.”

This could be especially helpful for students who may work in the mission field, Klotz said.

“A lot of students who major in intercultural studies end up wanting to work for a non-profit organization or in a foreign country,” Klotz said. “In a restrictive access country, a double major will aid in helping you get in. If you have another degree, you have something else to offer the country.”

For junior Karissa Riffel, the changes to the program reminded her of Paul and his ministries in the Bible.

“Paul had a separate skill set too. He was a tentmaker, just like a lot of the people that he went to minister to,” Riffel said. “He was able to enter countries, and instead of saying he was just there to minister, he could tell them that he was there to be a tentmaker and connect with them that way.”

Riffel also agreed that the new choice of program route is going to be helpful in a lot of ways to people who want to major in intercultural studies.

“It is a great major, and it is applicable in a lot of areas, but it does not really give you a certain, special niche,” Riffel said. “You can specialize better and understand a certain group of people better if you can double major.”

She noted that pairing the intercultural studies major with a language could prove to be effective.

“It would give you a better understanding of target language in the area that you want to do ministry in and you will be able to communicate better,” says Riffel.

Klotz said he emailed all of the intercultural studies majors on campus to get the word out to them and will continue to show this as an option to incoming students and prospective students.

“It gives students a different option, especially if they do not go into the mission field right after school,” Klotz said. “If they have skills in a business setting, or if they are able to speak a different language, then they can do a lot more.”