The School of Education is committed to producing teachers who are academically prepared for excellent teaching and who utilize the best pedagogical practices, model Christ-like character, and devote themselves to lifelong learning.

Interview with Professor Gail Weinhold

North Central Universities’ Education Department Impacts Students Both 1 Mile Away and Thousands of Miles Away

As a Christian it can sometimes be difficult to tangibly bless those around us and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Gail Weinhold is one who was done exactly that. Gail is the Associate Education professor at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For the past seven years, Gail has been equipping education students and pushing them to step out of their comfort zones and reach out to the surrounding communities near North Central University. 

I asked Gail Weinhold if she would be willing to share about how she has made all of this possible, why she does it, and how we can be better neighbors. 

Why do you teach at North Central University? What is your mission here?”

            Initially I started teaching in public high school. I really believe that teaching there was a full-time ministry. What got me really excited about North Central was seeing the students that I would be able to poor into, and the fact that I would be able to talk freely about God. 

“Share with me what you know about the Love Your Neighbor initiative, and why it is important to the College of Arts & Sciences?”

            I remember when Professor Libengood and I started talking about this, we had an idea that we called the “one-mile initiative”. The general idea of this was for us as a Christian university, to reach the people in our community that our in our backyard. We realized quickly that the name was a problem because it limited us to only blessing those within a mile when we believe that we should be blessing others as well. At this point we changed the name to “Love Your Neighbor”

How do you believe our Christian community at North Central strives to invest in the community, bring together diverse ideas or develop projects? Why is this important?

            Something that bothers me about North Central is that we as a university are not well known by people outside of North Central. A lot of the time when people ask about North Central we are often asked to provide the location or more information about the school because many people haven’t heard of it. When we bless those in our community word travels fast. Because we are a Christian school, we should be known, and known for serving those in need well. 

What is the value of bringing real world experiences into the classroom

            I truly believe that there is only so much that can be taught inside a classroom. Life experience goes so much further. Within the education program, clinicals are a huge deal. This is time that students spent in different schools helping teachers and learning about what being a teacher really looks like. Something unique about North Central is that we have much higher requirements for clinicals than the state sets. This is because we really value that time and think that it really shaped these students. 

If you could share one story with a prospective student that might influence them attending North Central, what would you share?

            One of my favorite things about North Central is that it is a school that is full of students who are living their lives on a mission. I once had a student who exemplified this so well. This student was a DOCA students who trusted God with her entire heart. In this student’s life, there were so many unknowns that could have stopped a lot of people from pursuing their dreams. Yet this student persevered and didn’t let her obstacles stop her. North Central is filled with stories like these. It really is true that the community that you are in shapes you. College is a unique time and you will never be in a situation again where you get to pick your community. It is so wise to pick a community that will push you to be better. 

Can you share a story of a time when you saw a student thrive? What caused this 

            Every summer, the Education department tries to take a mission’s trip to the Dominican Republic to serve in the schools down there to help the teachers that are there. One year that we went one Spanish speaking student came on the trip. On the last day of the trip this year, we were just about to leave when one of the host families we had been staying with shared about how their grandma was sick. The student asked if she could go pray for her, so I agreed. As we went to pray for this woman it was a very special moment for me as an educator. A lot of the times we don’t see the fruit of our labor. We know that our students are out and making a difference, but we typically don’t get to experience it. Because of that, this was special. The grandmother and her entire family experienced salvation and healing that day. I as a professor was so overjoyed to be able to see one of my students in a place and situation where she was meant to be. 

As the college of education sciences at North Central University we really want to be involved with loving our neighbors. Head over to our website to read about other initiatives.