Fran Martens Friesen


  • M.A., Teaching of Writing, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 1990
  • B.A., History and English, Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana, 1983
I appreciate FPU as a Mennonite Brethren school with an Anabaptist perspective which stresses the importance of community--the concept that all are participants in the learning community, not simply sole individuals on individual quests of learning. Such a perspective also emphasizes the nonhierarchical "priesthood of all believers" so that in the classroom, teachers and students alike engage in productive discussion and discover truths together. Such a concept fits into Freire's interactive problem-solving approach vs. the banking concept of education: collaboration vs. a pouring out of knowledge from the authority figure. The FPU idea of prophetic witness is also an important concept: we can speak "truth to power," and not simply mindlessly conform to societal values and expectations. Rather, in our readings and reflections, we must think critically, comparing our biblical understandings and Christ's model to the prevailing assumptions of the day. With extensive experiences abroad in Asia and elsewhere, I also believe it is important to widen the world view of students to issues and concerns beyond their borders and begin to understand how our world and other cultures intersect, in our neighborhoods here locally and across the globe--ultimately promoting a culture of service in a wider context. Our student body, with a diversity unusual to a small Christian liberal arts school, provides a rich context for such sharing and interaction!

Additional Information

International living experiences: Honduras (1983), China (1986-88) and Vietnam (1997-2002) through Goshen College and Mennonite Central Committee.

Publications & Presentations

  • "Peers, Papers, and Progress: The Evolution of Stretch Class Writing Lab," co-presentation at the Conference on College Composition and Communication annual convention March 2009 in San Francisco, California
  • "Vietnam: A Country, Not a War," with Kenneth Martens in The Fresno Bee, April 24, 2005
  • "Peacebuilding and Traditional Culture in Vietnam," in MCC Peace Office Newsletter, January - March 2003
  • "Peace Efforts in Vietnam" in Mennonite Weekly, 2001 "The Watering Can," in A Whistle Over the Water, edited by Carmen Horst and Wanda Kraybill, published by Pinchpenny Press, 1994
  • "Garden Pump," in Born Giving Birth, edited by Mary Shertz and Phyllis Martens, published by Faith and Life Press, 1991