Dr. Robert Bartels: Associate professor of international studies
February 21, 2012
Dr. Robert Bartels has been putting his love of history and his passion for the nations into action at Evangel University since 2007. As associate professor of international studies, Dr. Bartels teaches Government, History and Anthropology courses. He also sponsors Evangel’s international study tours. His involvement with the tours has taken him all around the globe, from China to Europe to South Africa.
Originally from Cleveland Ohio, Dr. Bartels also has a strong background in the corporate world. Prior to teaching at Evangel, Dr. Bartels worked for JP Morgan Chase as a head of the Human Resources department. He has passed the Bar Exam in the state of Kentucky, and for a time he was a teacher and principal at a Christian school in Ohio.
A lifelong learner, Dr. Bartels enjoys spending his free time reading biographies and books about history, as well as watching movies that showcase historical events. His favorite part about his job is interacting with students who are committed to learning and preparing for the career that God has designed for them.
You have literally been all over the globe. In a nutshell, how have your various cultural experiences affected you as a person?
My various experiences with other cultures have made me a very open person. I am willing to interact with anyone, knowing that I can learn much from each person. Having been judged by people of other cultures, I am quite careful not to judge others. Everyone has something of value to offer to society.
What is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Interacting with the students on trips abroad are great highlights for me. Whether that is climbing the Great Wall of China, driving among the wildebeests in South Africa, or visiting “La Chureca” (the city dump where families live) in Managua, Nicaragua, each of these have been amazing moments, all unique in their own way.
What originally sparked your interest in international studies?
I felt called of the Lord a very long time ago to go to other lands and serve in any measure that was open for me. At the times when I could not travel, I supported those who could.
What brought you to Evangel to start teaching?
It was the interactions that I had with members of the Business Department and the Social Science Department. I traveled with Elizabeth Fletcher and her students to China; that a huge impact that had on me. I met with Dr. Bryan Sanders in a Bible study that he regularly conducted with attorneys. I enjoyed our discussions about applying God’s Word to the discipline of law and ethics.
What makes Evangel’s international studies program unique?
We apply what we are learning to current events. So much is going on in our world politically, and to be able to look at those events through the lens of academic knowledge helps us to understand much about why things are happening.
Are there any new developments in the International Studies program that you can tell us about?
We have added tracts to the major so that students can focus on government, nonprofit enterprises (NGOs) or economic development. We have added courses and an internship to the tracts to further develop the students’ learning opportunities.
What advice would you have for prospective students, especially those considering a degree in International Studies?
First, go for what interests you; it makes learning more enjoyable for an individual if it is something that has captured the imagination. Second, there are so many fields in the international setting that a person can pursue; an individual should take advantage of the various trips available to students each spring to explore those possibilities.