Rebekka Gondosch | Reporter
Rebekka : Your studies have taken you across the world, from the Institute of Christian Studies in Toronto to Monash University in Australia. What motivated you to study in the places you did and what led you to Redeemer University College?
Dr. Belcher: The most honest answer to that question would be God beckoned and I followed. I could never have arranged any of my life the way it unfolded. After graduation from ICS in Toronto, I met Bev Norsworthy from New Zealand at an international education conference. This serendipitous meeting led to me working in New Zealand teaching worldview, helping to establish a worldview course as part of an education degree, and teaching in the education department. God did wonderful things in New Zealand, personally and professionally.
From there, I met wonderful people, and became involved with teaching at The National Institute for Christian Education (NICE), in Australia through a joint working arrangement with Dr. Doug Blomberg, Dr. Richard Edlin and Dr. Ken Dickens. I am still in frequent contact with my colleagues from down under. While in Australia, I completed my second Master`s Degree in Education. From there, doors opened at Trinity Western University, which brought me back to Canada. I began my PhD at Monash while here. After that, I found God guiding me to Redeemer. And here I am. I have felt a call to bring themes of wonder, truth, justice and reconciliation within education to the front of conversation. I may not always be successful, but I am always faithful to that purpose.
Rebekka : Much of your research surrounds the topic of worldview; why is this concept of continuing interest to you and what do you hope others might come to understand from it?
Dr. Belcher: I see worldview as a way of leaning into life. You live life out of belief in God or in something else, so examining how a worldview becomes intentional is important. Having worked in the profession of teaching in different belief systems, I have become convinced that beliefs make a difference in how social and relational aspects of life unfold. Manners, morality, humility and truth will always matter, but they are a choice; a choice emerging from faith in serving and living for something bigger than yourself.
Rebekka : On campus you are known to have Belcher-isms — what exactly constitutes as a Belcher-ism and how did you earn such tendencies?
Dr. Belcher: To be honest, my students actually coined that term for some of my peculiar ways of having key words linked to culture in the way I teach. Some of my classes ended with ‘sessions in a sentence’ or pithy ways of summarizing content or making things memorable in the long term. I am also a bit of a neologist; I love words and have fun with them, hence my representation of self as being a ‘book-aholic’. Occasionally, students attach that term to the metaphors I use. I think you would need to ask them about what they term a Belcher-ism to be… I am not always aware of what students think that is! I only identify the ones they have previously coined! How would you describe such a term?
Rebekka: Off the top of my head, I would consider “ah-ha” and “oh-no” moments to be Belcher-isms. I certainly agree that the term reflects the numerous (and useful!) metaphors you use to help students retain important information.
You have published work in numerous books and journals, do you have any advice for writers and researchers wanting to pursue that path?
Dr. Belcher: Keep writing. The more you write, the better you get at finding out how you write best to express what matters to you. If you get the chance, do research or partner writing with a mentor. Invite and embrace any opportunity to keep growing in your writing.
Rebekka : What is one unique fact students would never guess about you?
Dr. Belcher: I love walking on ocean beaches and collecting shells. It is always a miracle to think that my eyes may be the first and only to see this one shell that the tide has made visible as it ebbs.
Rebekka : Is there a motto you live by? If so, what might that saying be?
Dr. Belcher: ‘This too shall pass’ ... I think people need to remember that suffering and difficult times in life are inevitable, but God remains faithful and is with us. I have learned a great deal from difficulty, and consider it a Divine opportunity to know myself better and to become stronger. Difficulty has a flip side to the coin. It makes small joys even more significant, and reminds me to try to encourage, collaborate and work diligently with and for others. People matter more than things.