Adam Rasmussen began his career in Christian education nearly 20 years ago. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in history from Northwestern College and completed his graduate work at Wheaton College with an MA in Educational Ministries. Before moving to Arizona, Mr. Rasmussen was on the pastoral staff of the College Church in Wheaton, Illinois where he joyfully served as the Pastor to Students under the leadership of R. Kent Hughes. Today he is the principal of a private Christian school in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Through the years Adam has done consulting work for various non-profit organizations including churches, mission agencies, and public and private school districts. He has also served on quality assurance review committees of the North Central Accreditation for area schools. This invaluable experience has familiarized him with research-based standards which help educational institutions succeed.
Mr. Rasmussen serves as an elder at his home church. He also teaches, counsels, and encourages individuals and families every week at his home church. Adam Rasmussen joined the faculty of Grand Canyon University in 2009 to teach online courses in the areas of leadership, Christian worldview, and university success.
Adam and his wife Lynnette have four daughters. His passion is to glorify God by helping others grow to maturity in Jesus Christ.
How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?
Grand Canyon University has guided me to a "sweet spot" in teaching where my gifts and expertise are being utilized. I appreciate how GCU strategically placed me in the College of Theology program. Currently, I have the opportunity to teach believers on a wide spectrum of Christian maturity through two classes I teach. In one particular class I have the privilege to encourage Christian leaders in our busy 21st century culture to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ. In another class I have the opportunity to share the gospel with students who are unsure about Christianity or just beginning their walk with God.
What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your online classes?
I am very careful in all my classes to establish relationships around the Bible early on and throughout the course. I do everything I can to connect with my students at the beginning of the class. I make specific comments about their posts, always addressing them by their name. I quickly bring in relevant Scriptures to the discussion. If it seems someone is falling behind in class I will send them an encouraging note or make a quick phone call.
It is an effective teaching strategy to establish relationships around the Bible because some people are reticent to share what they know (or don't know) about the Bible. They may need a gentle nudge to begin. I want them to engage in a dialogue early on so they don't miss anything. The learning is collaborative, so when they share they are more engaged in the material. On the other hand, some students are very well-versed in the Word of God. Those need a challenge to grow deeper. So, I bring in an essential question around a theological point. I want every student to be engaged in the material in a way that significant learning occurs.
What is a GCU online student success story you can share?
Relating to what I wrote on the previous question, last year I had a student who refused to share in the forum. After communicating with him and working with him to change, in an e-mail he finally told me that he had "no intentions of changing" and doubted that "a 180 change in my life at this age was possible". But I didn't give up! Through encouragement and challenges I helped him get over his hurdle. By God's grace it only took a couple more weeks until he was actively engaged in the forum discussions. He finished the course a different person. He was transformed into a happy participant who contributed to everyone else's learning.