News

CCCU Names New Latin American Studies Program Director

March 30, 2016
Deborah Berhó is the new LASP Program Director
Deborah Berhó is the new director of the Latin American Studies Program.
WASHINGTON – The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities has named Deborah Berhó, professor of Spanish and chair of the world languages, sociology and cultural studies department at George Fox University, as the next director of BestSemester’s Latin American Studies Program (LASP).

“As the new director of LASP, Dr. Deborah Berhó brings curriculum expertise, aptitude as an academic leader, an understanding of and appreciation for Latin America, and a deep commitment to deepening the faith lives and educational experience of students, all of which are essential for the continued success of the program,” said CCCU President Shirley V. Hoogstra.

Berhó has served at George Fox since 1997, including as department chair since 2014. She has lived and studied in Costa Rica, Chile and Ecuador and has been involved in evaluating study abroad programs in Spain, Mexico, two in Ecuador and two in Costa Rica, including LASP. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages has also awarded her a "superior" rating for her Spanish language skills. In addition, Berhó is a scholar of Latino Protestantism and plans to study the rapid growth of Protestantism in Central America.

“As one of the oldest BestSemester programs, LASP has a rich history, a unique combination of home stays in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and an integral internship component,” Berhó said. “I am excited to learn about the past successes of the program while also updating the program's curriculum to recognize the significant changes in Central America's political, social, and religious conditions since LASP's formation."

“After an extensive national search process, Dr. Berhó clearly rose to the top of the field of candidates.  Her outstanding professional qualifications and personal qualities make her an ideal fit for the program, and the LASP staff and I are excited to welcome Dr. Berhó to this important leadership position in the CCCU,” said Rick Ostrander, vice president for academic affairs and professional programs.

Based in Costa Rica, LASP has core courses focused on Latin American history and contemporary issues, as well as optional concentrations in Latin American studies, advanced language and literature, international business and biological science. Students from a wide variety of backgrounds and academic interests have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture through courses rooted in a faith-based curriculum.

Though the program is not intended only for students with Spanish majors or minors, Berhó said one of the first changes to the program will be to bolster the program’s Spanish language instruction and align it more thoroughly with proficiency guidelines of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Language.

Berhó also says she plans to consult with the faculty and study abroad directors of CCCU campuses to understand what they see as a top priority for LASP in order to make it a valuable extension for each campus.

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The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 180 Christian institutions around the world. The 117 member campuses in North America are all regionally accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences and whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. In addition, 63 affiliate campuses from 20 countries are part of the CCCU. The CCCU’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit www.cccu.org.

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities offers 10 off-campus study programs, collectively branded BestSemester®, which expand learning opportunities for students from CCCU campuses and are designated as culture-shaping or culture-crossing programs. Culture-shaping BestSemester programs are: American Studies Program (Washington, D.C.), Contemporary Music Center (Nashville) and Los Angeles Film Studies Center (Los Angeles). Culture-crossing BestSemester programs are: Australia Studies Centre, China Studies Program, Latin American Studies Program, Middle East Studies Program, Oxford Summer Programme, Scholars’ Semester in Oxford and Uganda Studies Program. Visit www.bestsemester.com for program details.