DBU Celebrates 10 Years in Oxford

DBU professors and doctoral students gather in front of the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford as a part of the annual Oxford Institute.
DBU professors and doctoral students gather in front of the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford as a part of the annual Oxford Institute.

This June, Dallas Baptist University sent a group of 15 doctoral students to Oxford, England for the annual Oxford Institute with the Gary Cook School of Leadership. As a part of the Leadership Studies program, this trip is designed to look at globalization and the future of leadership, particularly in the areas of power, geopolitics, and cultural intelligence. In addition, the idea of Incarnational Leadership serves as an overarching theme of the experience.

Beginning in 2007, the Oxford Institute has taken a total of 10 groups to date, with Ed.D. students joining the trip this year. This year's trip was led by Dr. Adam Wright, President of Dallas Baptist University; Dr. Ozzie Ingram, Director of the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership; Dr. Blake Killingsworth, Vice President for Communications; and Dr. Mary Nelson, Professor of English.

The group had the opportunity to learn amidst the vast history of England and Oxford University. The students spent time touring historic landmarks, including the Royal Castle at Windsor, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Winston Churchill War Rooms, and the Bodleian Library. They also had the opportunity to tour both Oxford and Cambridge, as well as visit London.

"The Oxford Institute has been the highlight of my doctoral studies at DBU," remarked Cheryl Goodwin, Ph.D. student from Colleyville. "Our traveling professors and local hosts shared pivotal historical lessons in the surroundings of England's humble countryside churches, ornate political epicenters, and prestigious academic campuses, which brought to life the passionate leadership of England's former monarchs, clergymen, politicians, and teachers."

Among a variety of visits, the group also had the chance to hear from David Coffey, former head of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and former President of the Baptist World Alliance. Coffey shared with the students about global Christian leadership and the necessity of being a peacemaker, especially in current times.

In addition, one of the days on the trip was dedicated to C.S. Lewis, including visits to his home, The Kilns, as well as his church and the school in which he taught at Oxford.

"The day we devoted to C.S. Lewis was special to me," explained Alan Armstrong, Ph.D. student from Conroe. "I have enjoyed his writings, been challenged by them, and return regularly to them. To be in his home, his church, his workplace, and at his grave site made for an incredible day. Learning about the humility that shaped him as a man has helped me see and understand his writings more completely."

This particular year included an unexpected and unique moment in history, as Britain voted to leave the European Union.

"Our group arrived a day after Britain's decision to leave the European Union," recalled E.J Unegbu, Ed.D. student from Tyler. "Feelings on the result were mixed, and within a 24-hour period, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced his resignation. I watched his resignation on YouTube later that night in my dorm at Regent's Park. Though he felt heartache at the decision, his constant reference to the democratic process and the will of the people was an endearing focal point of his speech. He understood this delicate balance of power, which reminded him, and reminds us all about the importance of the democratic process. The people of Britain had spoken, and here I was, an American student in a place where great history was unfolding. In that moment, the profound nature of global leadership came alive to me."

"We were very fortunate to be in England during a pivotal time in their history," said Goodwin, "and integrating the current geopolitical situation with leadership theory made learning throughout the trip even more relevant. DBU has done a phenomenal job bringing together subject matter experts to teach and support our program, and this trip was no different."

"Trips such as this turn learning into a transformative life experience," said Dr. Wright. "Our students not only discover the impact of incarnational leadership in the lives of so many notable figures, but they also have the opportunity to more fully understand the necessity of lives consecrated to Christ."

Written by Courtney Hackett

Courtney Hackett (Smith) served as the Assistant to the Vice President for Communications in the University Communications division at DBU.