Dr. Ben Earwicker, called “Profe” by many students, isn’t one to take his academics—or his calling—lightly. After completing four majors in four years at NNU in 2001, he began a career as a social worker with the Idaho State Department of Health and Welfare. Latin American studies remained his passion, and he went on to earn a master’s degree in that field from the University of Otago in New Zealand, a school to which he returned to earn a doctorate of philosophy.
Now, a little over a decade since completing his undergraduate studies, Earwicker has become a major academic force on NNU’s campus. He currently presides as chair of the Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice and as chair of the Department of Language, Literature, and Culture. He also serves on various faculty councils and committees.
Summer of 2013 saw Earwicker traveling all over the world for a variety of academic pursuits: Over a five-week period, he visited Costa Rica with NNU students, gave a presentation in Xi’an, China, came home to Idaho, and then returned to Costa Rica with a concurrent credit trip for high school students.
Despite the rapidly growing resumé and the excitement of world travel, Earwicker fully believes that being an excellent instructor and mentor to his students is the most important piece of his curriculum vitae. With fall 2013 being the start of his 10th year as a professor at NNU, he can see how he has improved in the classroom. “I used to prepare lengthy lectures that made me feel good about the amount of content I presented to students. These days, I put as much or more effort into making sure students are retaining content and skills, applying them in meaningful ways inside and outside of the classroom.”
Earwicker’s passion for teaching reflects a basic and important principle that is reflected throughout NNU’s faculty—that practical education which inspires passion in the student translates into a lifelong passion for learning and develops individuals into effective agents for the Kingdom. This is especially true for Profe, whose own passion for building the Kingdom through education about and understanding of global cultures is a driving force both personally and professionally.
As assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American studies, Earwicker has seen this philosophy of education have an impact on his students year after year. “I love it when students read great literature in Spanish because they want to, apart from any assignment I’ve given,” he says. “I love it when students cultivate their own passions and love for literature, languages, cultures and travel as a result of class discussions and conversations. I am gratified to have former students working all over the world doing things they love.”
By clearly demonstrating his love for learning and passion for global culture through his own life and academic pursuits, Earwicker presents an authentic picture of what it means to be a lifelong learner and Kingdom builder. This genuine passion has become a contagious element that inspires his students to pursue the things they love through their own studies and travel.
“His faith flows through the classroom, and he teaches students that life is about more than just living,” says Hannah Grow, one of Earwicker’s Spanish students. “I also think his calling is to educate students about the importance of being humble towards other cultures. Life is about experiences that change your way of thinking, challenge your beliefs and test your faith. He is such a well-traveled educator, and I can see how that has shaped him to be the great professor he is today.”
"His calling is to educate students about the importance of being humble towards other cultures. Life is about experiences that change your way of thinking, challenge your beliefs and test your faith."
Earwicker also appreciates how his time at NNU has been filled with opportunities to grow in his calling to prepare the next generation of Kingdom builders. “NNU has provided me with innumerable opportunities for ongoing professional development. In my 10 years at NNU, I have experienced a close-knit university environment while cultivating academic connections throughout the United States and around the world.”
Because Profe fosters connections throughout the world and teaches from a place of personal passion, one can expect that he will continue to inspire students to be globally minded sharers of the love of Jesus for decades to come.
“His calling is to educate students about the importance of being humble towards other cultures. Life is about experiences that change your way of thinking, challenge your beliefs and test your faith.”