Liberty University recently appointed Melody Harper as its new department chair for the undergraduate Global Studies program.
Harper has been to 36 countries, and when she steps foot on Antarctica in November, she will have been to every continent. As the new chair, Harper will teach Global Studies classes and coordinate the course development of the Global Studies degree program.
“My background includes professional global studies experience combined with a recognition that God’s heart is for all nations, all people groups. I want to equip students with the interpersonal and intercultural skills to make an impact in the global context in which we now live,” Harper said.
Harper graduated from Samford University with a B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies and a B.A. in History. She also has an M.S.W. in Social Work from the University of Alabama and an M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Union University.
She started her position at Liberty in January and was formally introduced to the entire student body by Johnnie Moore, vice president for communications, during Convocation on Feb. 11, as Global Focus Week kicked off on campus.
During Global Focus Week, a biannual event at Liberty, the university hosted more than 100 missionaries and held special seminars and events throughout campus. The theme of the week was “Make Your Degree Global” with students from all areas of study encouraged to meet with advisors to learn how to use their talents, gifts, and passions to share the Gospel.
“Regardless of whether students are called into full-time ministry, education, business, nursing, or youth ministry, the ability to interact with people of other languages and cultures is a skill that is necessary, and it is a skill that can be learned,” Harper said. “We want to equip students at Liberty to be the best professionals they can be and to be effective disciples of Christ in communicating and sharing the Gospel.”
In addition to the Global Studies major, Liberty offers a minor in Global Studies, which Harper hopes more students begin to view as a key component for any degree program.
Harper went on her first international missions trip when she was in the ninth grade. Though she would not disclose the location, the trip not only caused her to expand her view of the world, but to delve into Scripture and realize that “from Genesis to Revelation God has called us to spread the Gospel.”
“If we are followers of Christ, we are the descendants of Abraham, and we are heirs to Abraham’s promise (see Genesis 12:1-3),” she said. “God can accomplish His purpose without us. He does not need us, but He allows us to be involved, and He calls us to be involved. When I looked at Scripture, and realized all the way through that God is redeeming the nations, that is what has impacted me most and given me passion for the world.”
Harper will work closely with Liberty's Center for Global Engagement, which brings together the academic Global Studies program through the School of Religion and the extra-curricular global opportunities Liberty offers, including trips, retreats, internships, and Global Focus Weeks.
“At Liberty University, we want to prepare students as followers of Christ, teaching them God can use our individual gifts, abilities, our academic majors and our professions, and allow us as Christians the avenues to meet people, to serve people and to both show and share the love of Jesus all over the world,” she said.