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 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 WorldviewsLanguage Survey, Literacy, Scripture Engagement, Sociolinguitics

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

The course is an undergraduate-level 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

After completing this course, students will be able to analyze a teaching process from the perspective of learning and teaching styles, and identify factors relevant to teaching cross-culturally. They will perform a teaching task, and be able to identify concepts from intercultural communication that could facilitate or impede the teaching process in a cross-cultural context.

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

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: (a) give a general description and explanation of the phenomenon of linguistic diversity around the world with respect to the facts of illiteracy; (b) identify and explain the major trends and movements in literacy and development; (c) discuss issues of language policy and language planning and give a range of examples from around the world; (d) explain issues and problems in developing a written system for a language; (e) make and evaluate proposals for a writing system for a language including orthographic issues beyond the representation of segmental features; (f) define and discuss the basic principles of adult learning; (g) define and discuss the major approaches to reading theory; (h) develop and train local teachers to use a Gudschinsky primer; (i) explain the general purpose of a transitional literacy program; (j) explain the general features of a literacy program and how to implement one; (k) explain the general process of developing a funding proposal; (l) develop basic materials for a transitional literacy program; (m) organize and run a writers’ workshop.

AA5343 Principles of Multilingual Education

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: (a) discuss in detail the intersection of education and multilingualism in developing countries; (b) discuss knowledgeably the major perspectives on bilingualism; (c) discuss and explain the phenomenon of bilingualism as a social pattern; (d) discuss and explain research findings on the cognitive dimensions of bilingualism; (e) discuss and explain research findings on the education consequences of bilingualism; (f) define and compare various models of multilingual education; (g) describe the major approaches to multilingual education which have been tried; (h) discuss and explain the strengths and weaknesses of the major approaches to multilingual education; (i) describe the major experiments in multilingual education which have been launched in the last 40 years; (j) discuss and describe in detail the implementational issues involved in organizing a multilingual education program, especially in a developing country.

AA5355 Scripture Engagement Strategy and Methods

After completing this course, students will be able to discuss the sociolinguistic, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and socio-religious factors that either hinder or foster the use of vernacular literature. They will be able to describe and implement strategies and activities that promote the use of Bible translations in public and private venues.

AA5361 Principles of Language Survey

After completing this course, students will be able to describe the linguistic and sociolinguistic criteria that can be used to define language and dialect boundaries and to determine the extensibility of existing literature in multilingual situations. They will be able to explain the methods used in language surveys to discover ethnolinguistic identity, determine linguistic similarity, measure inherent intelligibility, assess bilingual proficiency, and describe language attitudes and patterns of language use. They will be able to assess the requirements of a survey and select the methods that are appropriate for the survey. They will be able to read and evaluate language survey reports and to develop the proposal and initial plan for a language survey.

AA Department Faculty

Robin Harris

Robin P. Harris, Assistant 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


Stephen L. Walter, Associate Professor

Applied Anthropology, Department Head
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

Wendy Atkins, Instructor

Applied Anthropology—World Arts
MA, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, 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
PhD, Kent State University, 2007; MA, Kent State University, 2000; MM, Kent State University, 2000; BM, Wheaton College, 1997.
Field work: Papua New Guinea
Languages spoken: Tok Pisin, German


T. Wayne Dye, Assistant Professor

Applied Anthropology
PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1983; MA, University of Michigan, 1968; BSE, University of Michigan, 1957.
Field work: Papua New Guinea, Kenya, India, Philippines, Cameroon
Languages spoken: Bahinemo, Tok Pisin


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

College of International Studies, 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


Peter E. Unseth, Associate Professor

Applied Anthropology
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

Click to view all faculty profiles including Adjunct Faculty and Associate Instructors