Applied Anthropology Department (AA)

The Applied Anthropology department offers introductory and advanced courses in a variety of fields including literacy, language and culture acquisition, sociolinguistics, language survey, scripture engagement, cross-cultural service and more.  Our alumni often serve internationally as specialists and consultants in their field.

What is Applied Anthropology? Anthropology is the scientific study of societies and cultures around the world. We focus not just on one culture at a time but expose students to a wide variety of cultures and challenge students to examine how they interact with each other. Our course and program offerings are “applied” as they prepare students for hands-on research and fieldwork in any language or culture worldwide.  More than just analyzing the culture they visit, we train our alumni to engage and communicate effectively across language and culture boundaries.

Programs   |   Courses   |   Faculty 

Degrees & Programs

MA with Major in Language & Culture Studies

The MA with a major in Language & Culture Studies provides students with the skills needed to fill specialist cross-cultural roles (according to their concentration).  Graduates are prepared to facilitate and implement programs for mother-tongue literacy, multilingual education, sociolinguistic research, Scripture engagement, and other community development activities.
Concentrations: Islamic WorldviewsLiteracy, Scripture Engagement, Sociolinguistics

MA with Major in World Arts

The MA with a major in World Arts prepares students to work cross-culturally alongside singers, musicians, actors, dancers, storytellers, and visual artists, researching the arts of their community. Concentrations: Applied Arts, Arts & Islam, Arts & Scripture Engagement, Linguistics

Graduate Certificate in Multicultural Teamwork

This 12 credit certificate program provides training to help students tackle the cultural barriers that hinder teamwork in a multicultural setting.


The Applied Anthropology Department offers a variety of courses for degree requirements and electives.  A representative list of courses is provided below.

AA4370 Cultural Anthropology

This course is an introduction to cultural anthropology with emphases on application and several research methods. The main assignment is a practicum or research project that includes having students make at least four study-visits outside class hours to a Dallas/Fort Worth-area cross-cultural social situation.

AA4505 Second Language and Culture Acquisition

Students will learn to identify and apply their own language and culture learning styles; manage language learning; use appropriate techniques and activities to develop second language competence at the novice level while working with a native speaker in language learning sessions. They will be able to describe techniques and activities suitable for language learning at more advanced levels. Building on awareness of their own cultural values, they will be able to describe and will begin to implement strategies for dealing appropriately with differences in cultural values.

AA5151 Cross-Cultural Teaching Seminar

The Cross-cultural teaching seminar allows students to analyze a teaching process from the perspective of both learning and teaching styles, and identify factors relevant to teaching cross-culturally.

AA5321 Multicultural Teamwork

This course addresses issues relating to forming practical, cooperative programs that depend upon people from different cultures working together as teams or as full partners. The course draws upon writings of western and non-western authors, case studies, lectures, and group activities. Upon completing this course, the student will be able to form teams and partnerships, effectively work in teams, and train others in teamwork and partnership. In this course, the term “teamwork” refers not only to closely knit teams but to many kinds of cooperative action that requires groups of people to work together toward a common goal. Christian perspectives on teamwork underlie the course.

AA5333 Principles of Literacy

Students in this course study principles of culture and language relevant to working with language communities to plan literacy programs and prepare literacy materials. The course involves both studying ideas, but also hands-on creating of a spelling system, literacy primers, transition literacy materials. The course also covers training of teachers, funding, and program sustainability.

AA5343 Principles of Multilingual Education

Discussion in this course begins with the intersection of education and multilingualism in developing countries. Included are major perspectives on bilingualism, cognitive dimensions of bilingualism, and educational consequences of bilingualism. Comparison of various models of multilingual education with their strengths and weaknesses is considered. The question of what we can learn from major experiments in multilingual education launched in the last 40 years is a discussion topic. A key element of the course is consideration of implementation-related issues involved in organizing a multilingual education program, especially in a developing country.

AA5355 Scripture Engagement Strategy and Methods

This course focuses on the sociolinguistic, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and socio-religious factors that either hinder or foster the use of vernacular literature. Practical strategies and activities that promote the use of Bible translations in public and private venues are central.

AA5361 Principles of Language Survey

Students study the linguistic and sociolinguistic criteria that can be used to define language and dialect boundaries. They learn to form appropriate research questions and choose appropriate research tools to discover ethnolinguistic identity, determine linguistic similarity, measure inherent intelligibility, assess bilingual proficiency, and describe language attitudes and patterns of language use. To implement these ideas, each student selects a particular language community in the world and prepares an appropriate survey proposal for this community.

AA Department Faculty

~Robin Harris 2016 bio2

Robin P. Harris, Associate Professor

Applied Anthropology—Center for Excellence in World Arts
PhD, University of Georgia, 2012; MA, Bethel University, 2007; MA, Columbia International University, 2001; BMus, Biola University, 1983.
Field work: Russian Federation (Siberia)
Languages spoken: Russian


Peter E. Unseth, Associate Professor

Applied Anthropology, Chair
PhD, University of Texas at Arlington, 2002; MA, University of North Dakota, 1981; BA, St. Paul Bible College, 1978.
Field work: Ethiopia
Languages spoken: Amharic


Beth Argot, Assistant Professor

Applied Anthropology - World Arts
DWS, The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, 2016; MM, Ohio State University, 1984; BS, Messiah College, 1981.

Wendy Atkins, Instructor

Applied Anthropology—Center for Excellence in World Arts
MA, GIAL, 2017; BMus, Houghton College, 1976
Field work: Central African Republic, DR Congo, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Mozambique, Comoros Islands
Languages spoken: Pazande, French, Swahili, Lingala


Cynthia L. Blood, Instructor

Applied Anthropology
MA, University of Texas at Arlington, 1987; BA, Wheaton College, 1981.
Field work: Cameroon, Indonesia
Languages spoken: Spanish, French, Indonesian, Oku


Neil R. Coulter, Assistant Professor

Applied Anthropology—Center for Excellence in World Arts
Ph.D., Kent State University, 2007; M.A., Kent State University, 2000; M.M., Kent State University, 2000; B.M., Wheaton College, 1997
Field work: Papua New Guinea
Languages spoken: Tok Pisin, Spanish, German


Timothy Hatcher, Assistant Professor

Applied Anthropology
PhD, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, 2018; MA, GIAL, 2007; MA, Oral Roberts University, 1994.
Field work: Bulgaria, Russia, Central Asia
Languages spoken: Russian


M. Lynn Landweer, Assistant Professor

Applied Anthropology
PhD, University of Essex, 2006; MA, University of Texas at Arlington, 1985; BA, Biola University, 1975.
Field work: Papua New Guinea
Languages spoken: Tok Pisin


Jack Shoemaker, Assistant Professor

Applied Anthropology
PhD, Southern Methodist University, 2012; MA, Southern Methodist University, 2008; BA, Azusa Pacific University, 1980.
Field work: Uganda
Languages spoken: Spanish, Ese Ejja, Swahili, Ma'di, Portuguese


Stephen L. Walter, Associate Professor

Applied Anthropology
PhD, University of Texas at Arlington, 1980; MA, University of Texas at Arlington, 1976; BA, Washington Bible College, 1969.
Field work: Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Cameroon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya
Languages spoken: Spanish, Tzeltal

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