April 4, 2024

This spring, the Teacher Education Department of Faith Baptist Bible College hosted Christian school administrators for the third annual Educators’ ENLIST Conference. Chair of the Teacher Education Department, Dr. Mark Stupka, and his colleagues invited Dr. Juan Valdes to address the conference theme Critical Thinking in a Confused World in workshop and chapel sessions. 

Having recently written the book How to Think: A Crash Course in Critical Thinking and with over 20 years of experience teaching critical thinking and philosophy to Christian high school students, Dr. Valdes adeptly and winsomely impressed on attendees their need to be champions of critical thinking in a post-truth age. Several administrators referenced Dr. Valdes’s workshops when asked to share highlights from the conference. They left encouraged and with a clear vision of how to promote biblical critical thinking. 

In addition to providing relevant and thought-provoking workshop sessions related to issues in education, the Educators’ Enlist Conference allows administrators and FBBC preservice teachers to network. Faith Earnest, Associate Professor of Elementary Education, sees the conference as incredibly beneficial to visiting administrators and current students alike. “ENLIST is a really valuable experience for our students and the administrators who come to recruit them,” Earnest said. “Our students get the opportunity to engage with administrators from a variety of schools and really understand the passion these administrators have for Christian education. These future teachers often have some awareness of the needs in education, but by interacting with these administrators, they begin to truly understand the great impact that a teacher can have on the lives of their students. Our students are challenged to consider how they can use their talents and abilities to serve God within these Christian schools.”

Throughout the conference, administrators have opportunities to interact with Faith students in various contexts. They visit college classes, eat lunch with students, and share information about personnel needs over coffee at Twigs or during an informal education career fair in the gymnasium on Thursday evening. For about an hour, students visit displays and learn about various schools and current or expected vacancies. 

For administrators leading growing schools, the demand for quality teachers is high, so being able to meet and recruit staff is certainly a highlight of the event. Pastor of Grace Baptist Church and School Superintendent of Owatonna Christian School Matt Tolosa was heartened by Faith’s growing Teacher Education Department and glad to connect with many prospective teachers: “I was encouraged to see how many up-and-coming educators are being trained at Faith. I know that Faith’s education program is highly regarded in the state of Iowa and beyond, which makes it a priority for Christian schools to come and make connections with prospective teachers for the future. I felt that the college cared about us as educators by providing multiple opportunities for the schools to meet these prospective teachers. I look forward to being a part of this event in the years to come.”

Administrators, mark your calendars. The 2025 Educators’ ENLIST Conference will be held February 27-28, 2025. As the date approaches, visit www.faith.edu for more information.