Tracy Ward, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Provost for Administration

Office Phone: 951-343-4552
E-mail: tward@calbaptist.edu
Office Location: Eugene and Billie Yeager Center,C213
Office Hours:

Degree Major Emphasis Institution Year
Ph.D. Education Claremont Graduate University 2010
M.ED. College Student Affairs Azusa Pacific University 2001
M.Div. Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary 1996
  • Courses Taught

    GST060 Academic Success Seminar
    GST071 Nursing Learning Community
    BEH383 Statistical Techniques in the Behavioral Sciences Using SPSS
    PSY530 Advanced Research Methodology
    HED505 The College Student Experience
    HED510 College Student Development
    HED580 Supervised Practice

  • Academic Areas & Scholarly Interests

    Student Retention; Social Network Sites, College Students; Academic Engagement; Global Engagement

  • Research, Presentations, & Publications

    2020 Students’ Academic and Faith Experiences while serving in an International Context: Building Bridges, University Educators for Global Engagement (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
    2019 Developing Kingdom Professionals through Academic Engagement (poster presentation,) University Educators for Global Engagement, Richmond Virginia.
    2016 Park, W. P., Koo, B. J., Chang, A. C., Ferko, T. E., Parker, J. R., Ward, T. H., ..& Nguyen, C. M. (2016). Dissolution of Metals from Biosolid-Treated Soils by Organic Acid Mixtures. Applied and Environmental Soil Science.
    2015 Ward, T. & Jacobs D. “Visualizing Narrative: A Cross-cultural Case Study,” L3 2015: 4th Annual International Conference on Language, Literature, and Linguistics.
    2013 Social Network Site Unse and Student Retention at a Four-Year Private University, presentation at the International Conference on Education, Honolulu, HI.
    2011 Social Network Site Unse and Student Retention at a Four-Year Private University, presentation at the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Charlotte, NC.
    2010 Social Network Site Use and Student Retention at a Four-Year Private University, Doctoral Dissertation, Claremont Graduate University, Clarmont, CA
    2008 Data for Rookies, Noel-Levitz National Conference of Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention, Chicago, IL.
    2008 The Challenges of Student Retention, Leadership Riverside, panel presentation, Riverside, CA
    2007 Student Retention in the Real World, Noel-Levitz National Conference of Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention, Jacksonville, Florida
    2001 Alcohol Education on a Christian College Campus, Christian College Leadership Conference, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa,CA
    2001 Student Satisfaction and Residence Life as Measured by the SSI, Master’s Thesis, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA
    2000 The Values of Postmodern Students and Implications in Student Affairs, SDSU Leadership Institute Conference, San Diego, CA

  • Church Membership & Activities

    Saddleback Church

  • Personal Philosophy

    My philosophy of Christian Education centers upon building the Kingdom of God through the academic discipline. The way in which I believe this is accomplished is by fostering a culture of leadership obedient to the Great Commandment, developing opportunities for discipleship through the disciplines, and offering the academic discipline as a vehicle by which to fulfill the Great Commission.

    Leading According to the Great Commandment

    This vision to build the Kingdom of God through the academic discipline begins with fostering a culture of leadership that is obedient to the Great Commandment.  In simplest terms, it starts with a relationship with the King.  A relationship with God then becomes the foundation for building a culture of leadership in which loving God with heart, soul, and mind is evident in the work that we do.  This love (GK: agape) is a selfless, sacrificial love.  If I am committed to building a culture of leadership that reflects a love for God with all our hearts (GK: Kardia), my first impulse must be to lead in a way that reflects that love. The way in which this translates to the campus community is that others see in my dedication to work a sense of the way in which I worship God.   This means that my dedication and love for the campus community must pour out of my love for God.  Fostering a culture of leadership that demonstrates a love for God with our souls (GK: psyche) means that my decisions must be guided by a sense of right and wrong that is consistent with Scripture and led by the Holy Spirit.  In the context of a campus culture, the question that is asked is “What is the right way to respond to a given situation?”   Finally, building a culture that demonstrates a love for God with our mind (GK: Dionia) means that I must challenge myself and encourage those around me to use our intellects to accomplish the task to which God has called us to fulfill.  Such a commitment involves submitting our scholarship and teaching to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so that He may use each both to expand upon our understanding of the Kingdom and to build the Kingdom.

    Coupled with building a leadership culture that reflects our relationship with the King is fostering an environment in which loving others as ourselves is evident in the way we relate to one another as we fulfill our respective responsibilities.  For me, this means setting aside myself for the greater good in my responses to others and decisions impacting individuals, areas of responsibility, and the institution.  This means that I need to consider individual perspectives, and to look at the needs of the department, the school, the college, and division, all while maintaining an institutional vision.  It means that I often will be called to walk in the tension of seemingly conflicting needs while seeking the redemptive path.  At the end of the day, I will need to ask myself, “Did I act in a way that demonstrates love for the individual and commitment to the institutional mission?” regardless of the outcome.

    Discipleship through the Disciplines

    As I have reflected upon the Great Commandment and considered what it means to establish an academic culture in which it is evident that we love God with our mind, I began to think of the many ways in which each academic discipline can add to our understanding of what the Kingdom of God is and how we may participate in building it.  Loving God with my mind calls me to marry academic knowledge with a Kingdom vision; however, the application is found in bringing the Kingdom into the classroom by submitting my disciplines to God in such a way that I may be engaged in discipleship through the disciplines.  I had an experience teaching statistics at a university overseas that unveiled this reality for me. I was teaching a lesson on statistical significance. I admit, I really wrestled with how it would be possible to apply Kingdom truths to a statistics lesson.  I asked God to show me what I could possibly share that wouldn’t be contrived.  Then, I remembered a conversation that I had had several months prior with a colleague about the idea that math exists in the mind of God.  So, I reasoned then that God must have something to teach about Himself through this statistics.  He led me to consider the meaning of statistical significance: the intersection between randomly occurring events and some real phenomenon.  He then convinced me that if I really believed that He created us with a desire to know Him and that He hardwired in us that desire, there are questions that we can ask people within a population that will point them to this desire.   The intersection between such ideas is significance.  Seeing this concept through the lens of faith, not only gave me a greater understanding of the way in which God works to reveal Himself, it made my teaching come alive as I considered all of the ways in which spiritual truths really could lend deeper understanding to the principles that students struggled to grasp in my statistics class.

    This experience revealed to me that the opportunities for discipleship within each of our respective disciplines are limitless when we allow the Spirit to illuminate disciplinary truths which in turn illumine spiritual truths.  We have opportunities to seek and teach ways in which our disciplines may add to our understanding of loving God with all of our mind, how we are to relate to God, self, and others, what they reveal about the character of God, and numerous biblical principles that are evident within our disciplines.

    In the Higher Education Leadership and Student Development program, discipleship through the discipline has translated into presenting the Gospel through the lens of the human development and presenting ways in which a biblical worldview can dialogue with worldviews that are contrary to a biblical worldview.  Seeking opportunities to integrate biblical perspectives into course content has deepened by conviction that there are opportunties for the Gospel to speak into any theoretical perspecitive, not necessarily because of underlying truths within varying theoretical perspectives, but because of the power of the Gospel.

    Fulfilling the Great Commission

    My experience overseas transformed my teaching.  Moreover, it developed in me a conviction that our academic disciplines can be vehicles to carry the Gospel from the college campus to the ends of the earth.  I’ve long held the conviction that the college campus is the ultimate sending agency because college graduates have opportunities to be people of influence in their respective occupations across the globe.  As of late, I have come to understand that when followers of Christ can take their skills into the marketplace, they have opportunities to be salt and light in places that are closed to traditional evangelistic and missionary efforts. Thus, the academic discipline can be the vehicle to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth simply by equipping those who are willing to go with the skills needed to enter the global marketplace.

    So then what?  What does it mean for the academic discipline to be the means through which to build the Kingdom?  I believe it first means that we dedicate our academic disciplines to identify and address real-world needs.  Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Church, has led efforts to address the world’s five great problems of the world: spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy (http://www.thepeaceplan.com/).  How many disciplines could God use to address these problems and therefore establish a platform for sharing the hope that is available through Christ?  Such applications go well beyond hugging widows and orphans to transforming lives in the context of the global marketplace and addressing global problems. Bringing marketable skills and knowledge honed through our academic disciplines opens doors to positions of influence that pave the way for individual needs to be resolved and communities to be transformed in such a way that prepares them to hear the message of our eternal hope in Christ. 

    In addition to using the discipline to meet physical needs, the academic discipline can be the means by which we may communicate the Gospel.  In the same way that spiritual truths can redeem disciplinary truths, disciplinary principles can be used as a means to present the Gospel.  Consider the ways in which literature and the arts may be used to illustrate man’s search for redemption and the avenues that that such themes open for sharing about our Redeemer.  Imagine the advantage of understanding culture and history for developing insight into ways in which a given village might resonate with the Good News?  The potential for each discipline to be used for God’s glory is not only limitless, but it is also unique in that each discipline, submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, can be used to make Christ known in ways that are specific to that discipline.

    The opportunities for building the Kingdom of God and sharing the good news of the Kingdom are limitless.  However, in order to connect campuses to this reality, faculty members need to be provided the opportunity to make these connections by experiencing God’s work in our communities and across the globe through discipline-related service paired with intentional efforts to share the Gospel.  As members of the faculty are engaged in service through our respective disciplines and are intentional in communicating the Gospel, we then can continue the discipleship process on the field by bringing students along with us and helping them likewise apply what they are learning in the classroom and practice communicating the Gospel. 

    So where do we begin fulfilling the Great Commission through our academic disciplines? I believe that the first step is a personal commitment to share the Gospel.  This may mean going back to the basics of our faith, and simply learning to translate our conversion experiences into two-minute testimonies as we seek opportunities to practice sharing our stories with one another and with our students. The next step is engaging in disciplinary dialog to explore ways in which our disciplines can be used to meet real-world needs that open doors to share the Gospel or communicate the Gospel in way that a people may be prepared to hear.  Finally, inter-disciplinary dialogue is essential for exploring ways in which cross-disciplinary partnerships may meet real-world needs and therefore open doors to sharing the Gospel.  

    Much of the work in building the Kingdom of God comes through times in prayer, community, and dialogue.  Ultimately, though, I believe that we must actually go to the places where we can experience God, the Gospel, and even our disciplines and teaching in ways that we simply cannot orchestrate by digging into our disciplinary knowledge and relying on our pedagogical bag of tricks.  Sometimes the only way to practically participate in using the academic discipline to build the Kingdom of God is to go and allow God to stretch, use and bless us through the practice of Kingdom-building.  I have learned that if we are willing to go, the rest will come.  My personal prayer is that we will contineue to grow as a faculty who are willing to take such a leap by dedicating our teaching and scholarship to the Kingdom: that we may lead according to the Great Commandment, disciple through the disciplines, and commit our teaching and scholarship to fulfilling the Great Commission.  I am convinced that such dedication in the faculty will transform an institution into a powerful sending agency for our graduates, equipped with skills for the global marketplace and the ability to communicate the Gospel to the ends of the earth.