Shelley G. Ashdown, DMiss

Shelley Ashdown

Contact Info

Phone: (972) 708-7400 ext. 2072
Office: Mahler 14B

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About Shelley

Dr. Shelley Ashdown is full of practical wisdom and sunny humor. Here at GIAL she teaches Research Writing, Globalization, Biblical backgrounds, Christianity Across Cultures, and various seminars. Ask her about Kenya, and she will say, “Oh, we loved it there.” Shelley’s experience in international service shows in the classroom as she trains this generation of students.

At 8 years old, Shelley knew that serving overseas was the path for her. She says, “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.” With the support of her family she pursued cross cultural service, meeting her husband James in college. After teaching at a university in Thailand, Shelley and her husband moved to Nairobi, Kenya. Shelley taught in a seminary while frequenting the African wilderness as she engaged with the nomadic Ndorobo people. Shelley and James knew they were in the right place, doing the right work.

In 2004 Shelley transitioned to a teaching role at GIAL. One of her joys is developing curriculum and writing courses. She also loves talking to prospective students, counting it an honor to be involved in the Lord’s direction in their lives in a small way.

Other Interesting Facts:

Shelley is an Anthropology Consultant for SIL.

Shelley and her husband are exact opposites—a match made by God.

She says, “Inside I’m a frustrated Chicago Bear middle line-backer. Definitely.”

“Bananas are the perfect fruit. They make the sun come up every day.”

“In the village I learned how to take a bath with 2 cups of water. If I have 3 I can wash my hair.”

Curriculum Vitae


Biola University, School of Intercultural Studies
2001, Doctor of Missiology
Dissertation Topic:  The Foundational Nature of Self in Ndorobo World View

Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
1980, M.A. in Cross-Cultural Communications

Southern California College
1978, B.A. in Religion and Psychology

Professional Experience

Dallas International University, Dallas, TX
2004-Present, Assistant Professor

Courses Taught:

AL5319 Biblical Backgrounds
AL5314 Culture, Language and Mind
AL5326 Biblical Hebrew for Translators I
AL5325 Principles of Old Testament Exegesis
AA5372 Social and Political Organization
AA5374 Christianity Across Cultures
AA5373 Religion and Worldview
AA5151 Cross Cultural Teaching Seminar
AA5387 Training Across Cultures

Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya 
2001-2004, Lecturer: Sociolinguistics, Bible Use in African Contexts, Principles of
Teaching, and Sociology of Education, Music I & II.

Oregon SIL, Northwest Christian College, Eugene, Oregon
2001, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology and Ethnographic Research Methods.

Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand
1992-1994, Associate Professor, Anthropological Linguistics, The Bible as Literature.

SIL Anthropology Consultant


2017. The Analysis of Personal Supernaturalism Using World View Theory. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies 2(2): 87-94.

2016. Socio-Cultural Model of Analyzing Educational Environments Across African Communities GIALens10(1):1-11. Paper posted at:

2015. Ndorobo Notions of Relationship with Other. African Sociological Review 19(1): 2-15. Paper posted at:

2015. Cognitive Semantic Approach to Redeemer (Gōʼēl) in Deutero-Isaiah. Acta Theologica35(1): 1-19. Paper posted at:

2013.  Tribal Religions from the Heart: Hebrew  and Torobo Oltau.  Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies  12(36): 153-179.
Paper posted at:

2012.  An East African Hermeneutic of Luke 11:5-10.  e-Theologos  3(2): 134-173. Paper posted at:  ​

2012.  The Clever Hare in Torobo Folklore.  Cross-Cultural Studies  38: 87-114.

2012.  Biblical Contexts.  Syllabus  1/2: 1-18.  Paper posted at:

2012.  “My Heart Passed Through My Mouth”: African Telling of a Most Afraid Experience.  Consciousness, Literature, and the Arts  13(1). Paper posted at:

2011.  African Traditional Religion in the Torobo Context of Conflict and Resolution.  In The Year 2011 Proceedings of the Association for the Scientific Study of Religion–Southwest. Jon Loessin and Scott Stripling, eds. pp. 20-29. Dallas, TX: ASSR-SW.

2010.  Time and Eldership in Torrobo World View.  AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples  6(3):261-271.

2010.  The Influence of Social Worlds on Engaging Ideas.  Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching  3(1):7-23.  Paper posted at:

2010. The Socio-Cultural Role of the Monster Image in Ndorobo Folklore.  In  Creating Humanity, Discovering Monstrosity: Myths & Metaphors of Enduring Evil. E. Nelson, J. Burear and H. Priest, eds., pp. 291-300. Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

2010.  Applied Instructional Model for Managerial Intercultural Competence. 17th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences 17(1):21-34. Paper posted at:

2009.  Ethics and the Non-Physical Self in Ndorobo World View.  African Sociological Review  13(1):26-37.

2009.  The Structure of Cognition Governing Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organizations.  The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management  9(4):155-168.  Paper posted at:

2009.  Torobo World View Construct of Nature.  InterCulture: An Interdisciplinary Journal  6(2).
Paper posted at:

2009.  Efficacy of Whole Language Narrative for Vernacular Literacy Education among Thai Language Minorities.  In Annals of Language and Learning: Proceedings of the 2009 International Online Language Conference (IOLC 2009). Azadeh Shafaei and Mehran Nejati, eds. pp. 317-329. Boca Raton, Florida: Universal Publishers.

2008.  The Relationship Between Ndorobo Personality and African Traditional Religion as a Human Development Issue.  The African Symposium  8(2):128-136.     Paper posted at:

2008.  World View Methodological Questions for Comparative Religion.  Presented at the 2nd International Online Conference on Religious Studies: “Comparative Religion, From Subject to Problem,” sponsored by the Moscow Society for the Study of Religions, October 2008. Paper posted at:

2008.  The Supernatural Category of the Non-physical Self in Ndorobo World View. In VIVA Africa 2008:  Proceedings of the IIIrd International Conference on African Studies. T. Machalik, K. Mildnerova, and J. Zahorik, eds. pp. 100-111. The University of West Bohemia. Pilsen, Czech Republic. Pilsen: ADELA Publishing.

2008.  Consideration of Converging World Views: Christianity & African Traditional Religion Among U.S. Immigrants. Conference proceedings for Conference on Christianity, Culture, and Diversity in America:Conversations about Diversity-A Kingdom Calling, hosted by Huntington University, Indiana, Nov. 14, 2008.  Paper posted at:

2007.  Investigating World View Through Narrative Analysis.  GIAL Electronic Notes Series  1(2),  Paper posted at:

1994.  Kinship Analysis of the Western Red Karen. Occasional Papers. Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand: Payap University Press.


2013.  Gender Fairness in Shariah Law. Presented at the 29th Annual Advancement of Women in Higher Education, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, April 4-5.

2013.  Justice Among Thieves: Cadi Wisdom in Niger. Presented at the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, Strand: ASSR, Dallas, Texas, March 8-10.

2011.  The Influence of Categorization on Translation Meaning. Presented at the International Meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature, Section: Mind, Society, and Tradition, King’s College, London, England, July 4-8.

2011.  Duality of Isaiah’s Yahweh: Sacred Redeemer and Unmerciful Judge. Presented at the International Meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature, Section: Concept Analysis and the Hebrew Bible, King’s College, London, England, July 4-8.

2011.  The Clever Hare in Torobo Folklore. Presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of Southwest Texas Popular Culture and the American Culture Association, Folklore Section and Biography, San Antonio, Texas, April 20-23.

2010.  Tribal Religions from the Heart: Hebrew  and Torobo Oltau. Presented at the XXth World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religion, Religion: A Human Phenomenon, Section: Comparison between Systems of Belief and Practice, Toronto, Canada, August 20, 2010.

2010.  The Torobo Social Construct of Ethics. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwest Commission of Religious Studies, Strand: Ethics, Society and Cultural Analysis, Dallas, TX, March 13.

2009.  A Cognitive Linguistic Approach  to Go’el in Deutero-Isaiah. Presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting for Society of Biblical Literature, Section: Cognitive Linguistics in Biblical Interpretation, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 21.

2009.  The Socio-Cultural Role of the Monster Image in Ndorobo Folklore. Presented at the 7th Global Conference on Monsters and the Monstrous: Myth and Metaphor of Enduring Evil, Mansfield College, Oxford, England, September 16.

2009.  The Structure of Cognition Governing Knowledge, Culture, and Change in Organizations. Presented at the 9th International Conference on Knowledge, Culture, and Change in Organizations, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, June 27.

2009.  Socio-Cultural Model of Analyzing Educational Environments Across Cultures. Presented at Annual Meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators, Dallas, Texas, February 17.

2008. The Supernatural Category of the Non-physical Self in Ndorobo World View.  Presented at VIVA Africa 2008: Proceedings of the IIIrd International Conference on African Studies, University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Czech Republic, March 25, 2008.

2008.  The Ceremony of Eldership Among the Ndorobo of Kenya: Notions of Obligation and Time Continuity. Presented at 12th Annual Conference on Holidays, Ritual, Festival, Celebration and Public Display, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, September 27.

2008.  Consideration of Converging World Views: Christianity & African Traditional Religion Among U.S. Immigrants. Presented at the Conference on Christianity, Culture, and Diversity in America:Conversations about Diversity-A Kingdom Calling, hosted by Huntington University, Indiana, Nov. 14, 2008.

Professional Societies

  • American Society of Missiology
  • Society of Biblical Literature