Tag : faculty

post image

Giving Back: Psychology in Adoption

By: Noelle Beans

Jana Hunsley at her IWU graduation in 2013

The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University strives to help children who suffer from the effects of early trauma, abuse or neglect. The institute accomplishes this by researching these children’s needs to help them overcome challenges – social, behavioral and emotional.

As a sibling to seven adopted children, Jana Hunsley, a 2013 graduate from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU), has found her place pursuing a PhD at this remarkable institute.

However, her journey began at Indiana Wesleyan. Due to her family’s composition, Hunsley had always known she wanted to study psychology at a Christian university in order to become a post-adoption therapist.

IWU also offered an honors program, The John Wesley Honors College, which challenged Hunsley academically. That, in combination with the Holy Spirit’s confirmation, led her to call IWU home.

“I fell in love with IWU right away,” Hunsley said. “I tangibly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit on campus, and it was like nothing I had experienced in a place previously. During that campus visit, I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me this was the place I was supposed to be.”

This proved to be true as Hunsley met friends who challenged and encouraged her during her time as a Wildcat.

She also met professors who recognized her potential.

She said, “The professors are truly one of the biggest reasons I’m doing what I am doing with my life today.”

The constant support of the faculty at IWU was unexpected. The professors assisted Hunsley in seeing all of the plans God had for her if she would be faithful in her walk with Him.

Professors Dr. Runyan and Dr. Steenbergh were two of the professors who had a lasting impact on Hunsley’s life.

Drs. Runyan and Steenergh invited Hunsley to be a part of their research team. They encouraged her to pursue a career in psychological research.

Although Hunsley became a clinician first, she attributes her courage to step into a research PhD program to their guidance during her undergraduate studies.

According to Hunsley, for the children of God there is power in psychology. Runyan has echoed this belief by stating that research is integral to a Christian university as it will shape tomorrow, influencing textbooks, popular media and the way our culture thinks and lives. Due to her conviction and Runyan’s influence, Hunsley integrates this dynamic into her work daily.

“All that I am doing with my life is because it is exactly where God has told me to go and what He has told me to do,” said Hunsley. “Through my experience of being a sibling to seven adopted children, God gave me skills and experiences to help other adoptive families. He made it very clear that He created me to bring hope and healing to families that have had experiences like my own. My career is just a manifestation of the work God puts in front of me to help adoptive families.”

Hunsley continues to work in ground-breaking research, learning how to care for foster and adopted children.

This research has spread all over the world to enable these vulnerable children to heal. Hunsley has the opportunity to further this work by researching the effectiveness of their intervention, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI).

Hunsley also researches the effects of TBRI in different cultures and settings around the world and finds ways to specifically help adoptive siblings adjust well to their families’ adoptions.



Written by Noelle Beans, a writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Noelle is a sophomore Nursing and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College from Greenville, Illinois.

post image

From Student to Professor in the Very Same Classroom: Brian Clark

By:  Kendra Housel

Brian Clark and his wife, Allison

Everything could have been different for Brian Clark, a 2009 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) and the John Wesley Honors College (JWHC).

Clark, who is currently a PhD student studying Religious Ethics at Southern Methodist University, did not begin his journey towards higher education with his sights set on IWU.

At what Clark thought was the end of his college search, he had his plan worked out to attend another university. It was in that time, as it has been for many of us, where God changed Clark’s direction entirely.

This is when Clark first heard about the community that would become his home during (and long after) his time pursing his bachelor’s degree: The John Wesley Honors College.

Clark said that he was initially attracted by the JWHC’s interdisciplinary community and the challenge of honors coursework. What he received from the honors college was more than he could have asked for.

As a student, Clark became a Religion and Philosophy major, also minoring in Theology. While he rejoiced in his growing knowledge, Clark found the community at IWU to be invaluable.

He experienced a depth of friendship and the unique fellowship of mentoring that he had never received in such a way before. His education became less about knowing and more about becoming in-step with Christ.

Clark describes the experience as “learning to drink deeply the font of Christian traditions.” He said, “I learned to live my faith in via as a pilgrim member of Christ’s church, toward my heavenly home.”

While at IWU, Clark also had the opportunity to travel across the globe, which he had never experienced before. He wound up traveling to six different countries and studying abroad in England as an IWU student.

Graduation came and went, and Clark found himself back at IWU once again, this time serving as Honors Instructor in Humanities for the JWHC.

He led classes that he once took himself as a student, and he became a beloved presence for the students and faculty alike.

As if his time in the JWHC had not poured enough into him, Clark met his now wife, Allison, who also studied in the JWHC. They met through a mutual friend and IWU alum after they had both graduated.

One can imagine that they bonded on their earliest dates talking about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (a typical read for JWHC students). Clark remarked about meeting his wife through his IWU community, “the community kept on giving, even after graduation!”

During his pursuits at IWU and in the JWHC, Clark discovered he had a calling to the church as a pastor-teacher and to the university as a Christian-intellect, which helped him discern his current doctoral focus, Virtue Ethics, specifically the tradition of Christian virtue.

In true ‘Professor Clark’ fashion, he wishes to pass on this quick word of advice to current students: “Life is grace all the way down. Give thanks! Life is good, even though it sometimes threatens to break us. Every valley and every journey has an end. Keep walking!”

The 2016-2017 John Wesley Honors College faculty, including Brian Clark.

Remove featured image

Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.