Malawi Study Abroad Director
Dr. Mike Mtika is a Professor of Sociology, and has been teaching at Eastern University since August 2001. He has a BS in Agriculture from the University of Malawi (1978), an MSc in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development from the University of Reading, UK (1980), and a PhD in Sociology from Washington State University (1998). Dr. Mtika worked as an Agricultural and Rural Development Officer for the Malawi Government for eight years. He then joined World Vision (Malawi) and worked for the organization for nearly six years, starting as a Projects Coordinator, moving onto Technical Services Director, and ended his tenure with World Vision as Operations (Projects) Director for the last three years. He left World Vision to pursue his doctoral studies at Washington State University.
Dr. Mike Mtika, PhD
Program Director, Study Abroad: Malawi
Professor of Sociology
Dr. Mtika's expertise is in political, community, and economic sociology. His research is in community development and focuses on examining why and how people help each other in dealing with problems and responding to opportunities. In his work, Dr. Mtika has found that social, cultural, and organizational capital are the center of community development, Christian witness, and the abundant life Christ promises. Dr. Mtika's heart is in spreading both the evangelical and social gospel. His deep desire is to link the Church, institutions, communities, and individuals in the United States in order to understand and labor with the under-privileged in the developing world. To that extent, Dr. Mtika founded Pamoza International, a Christian organization involved in the evangelical and social gospel in northern Malawi through "laboring together" (pamoza).
Dr. Mtika worked to start an Eastern University homegrown Study Abroad - Malawi program since 2013. His goal has been to teach students about life in the developing world and how global forces influence it, using Malawi as a case for analysis. The program was realized in 2016, and the first group of students travelled to Malawi for the Fall 2016 semester. Plans are to take students on this semester-long study abroad every two years. Thus, the second trip will be in Fall 2018. During their time in Malawi, students take five courses covering four main objectives:
1. Students to learn about both rural and urban life, and about the challenges developing nations’ governments face in improving citizens' lives;
2. Students to understand how western values, social processes, and knowledge claims increasingly influence social, cultural, economic, political, and religious life in the developing world;
3. Students to be able to identify and explain the positive and negative effects of these western values, knowledge claims, and social processes on lives in the developing world; and
4. Students to think of ways of how local knowledge and social expressions can complement and be complemented by western values, claims, and processes in any endeavors aimed at understanding and improving life in the developing world.