Arizona Christian University’s CORE represents an innovative approach to general studies that reclaims a Christian conception of the Liberal Arts, preparing students to be influential thinkers in all areas of life!

The CORE brings together the best faculty on the ACU campus to provide students with an engaging, interdisciplinary curriculum designed to teach the ideas that animate the human experience, but also to lead students to think deeply and critically about their place in the world.

The vision of Arizona Christian University is to educate and equip followers of Christ to transform culture with truth, and the integrated approach to the CORE’s coursework prepares students to do just that. CORE completes a narrative in which students learn to see God’s hand at work throughout history across the disciplines. In other words, students won’t simply take a math class unrelated to his or her major area of study “just to get it out of the way.” Instead, the unique courses of the CORE make general studies requirements relevant to a student’s particular major, better equipping them for life after college. All general studies coursework in the CORE affirms values embodied in biblically based conservative evangelicalism and the Western Tradition.




Anthony Bryson, Ph.D.

CORE Director

MSt., University of Oxford; Ph.D. University of Iowa; M.A., University of Iowa; B.A., Arizona State University.

Dr. Anthony Bryson is the new director of the Arizona Christian University CORE: Christian Liberal Arts. Dr. Bryson passionately shares the University’s vision for reclaiming the liberal arts in a Christian context. Dedicated to collaboration and classroom excellence, Dr. Bryson oversees both new curriculum development and CORE implementation and administration. With more than ten years of classroom teaching experience, Dr. Bryson combines strong pedagogical training and a desire to deeply engage students with the ideas of human history embodied in the CORE curriculum.

Ed Clavell, D.Min.

Ed Clavell, D.Min.

Chair, ACU Department of Business Administration

D.Min., Phoenix Seminary; M.Div., Phoenix Seminary; B.B.A., Baruch College

Dr. Ed Clavell is an Associate Professor of Business at ACU. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College School of Business, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry, in Leadership, from Phoenix Seminary. Dr. Clavell began his professional career as a metal craftsman and entrepreneur in New York City. Upon moving to Arizona, Dr. Clavell continued his entrepreneurial ventures, as owner-operator of Jessco Industries and production manager of Heritage Metalworks, along the way he transitioned into church ministry and academics. His ministry experiences include; Children’s Pastor, Church Plant Pastor, and Executive Pastor.

Dr. Clavell has served as Dean of Students at Phoenix Seminary, Director of Escuela de Esperanza, adjunct professor at Southwestern/ACU and interim Chair of Biblical Studies Department at Arizona Christian University. He is a member of National Association of Church Business Administrators and Christian Business Faculty Association.

In 2011, Dr. Clavell founded Pilgrimage Consulting, coming alongside; Pastors, Business Leaders and Organizational Leaders to develop strategies and systems needed, to reach the vision God has given these leaders and their organizations to grow His [God’s] Kingdom. He also enjoys being a member of an exciting core of teaching Pastors and leading a Spanish Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church-Tempe.

Dr. Clavell and his wife Sandra live in Chandler, Arizona. They have been married for over 35 years. They have two adult sons Shawn and Justin.

Dr. Clavell is a fan of the game of baseball, with his favorite teams being the Arizona Diamondbacks and NY Mets. In addition, he enjoys music, cooking, reading and spending as much time as he can with his family.

Tracy F. Munsil, Ph.D.

Tracy F. Munsil, Ph.D.

Chair, ACU Department of Government, History and Philosophy; Associate Professor, Political Science

Ph.D., Arizona State University; M.A., Arizona State University; B.S., Arizona State University

In her role as chair of the Liberal Arts Task Force, Dr. Tracy F. Munsil guided the collaborative process that created Arizona Christian University’s new CORE Christian Liberal Arts curriculum. She has a passion for teaching biblical worldview and the great works of the Western Tradition.

Dr. Munsil is an associate professor of political science, earning her doctorate from Arizona State University in August 2011. While completing her doctorate, Dr. Munsil served as a full-time lecturer in the ASU School of Politics and Global Studies. Her doctorate was her third degree from ASU, where she also earned a bachelor of science in journalism and a master’s in political science. She was an adjunct professor when ACU was still Southwestern College and taught political science courses as general education electives. Starting with those courses, she envisioned developing a program in political science that integrated the highest scholarly standards with a biblical worldview understanding of politics. She joined ACU’s faculty full-time in 2011 and helped create the University’s political science major.

Dr. Munsil was appointed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and confirmed by the Arizona Senate for a four-year term on the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments in 2015, and she serves on the board of Voices for the Voiceless, a pro-life organization founded by one of ACU’s first political science graduates.

Carolyn Pela, Ph.D.

Carolyn Pela, Ph.D.

Chair, ACU Department Behavioral and Social Sciences; Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences

Ph.D., Capella University, M.S., University of Wisconsin- Stout, B.S., Grand Canyon University

Dr. Carolyn Pela, a native Phoenician, is the chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Arizona Christian University. Her master’s degree is in marriage and family therapy, and she holds a doctorate in psychology. She is licensed in the State of Arizona as a Marriage and Family Therapist with 30 years of experience in the mental health field. She mentors doctoral dissertations, serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Human Sexuality, and is currently conducting two longitudinal clinical outcome studies. She also serves as the president of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Dr. Pela is a clinical member of the AAMFT, CAPS and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She is also nationally certified as a Family Life Educator by the National Council on Family Relations.

Warren Pettitt, Ph.D.

Warren Pettitt, Ph.D.

Chair, ACU Department of Math and Science; Associate Professor, Science and Math

Ph.D., Capella University; M.S., Butler University; B.S., Cedarville University

Teaching is God’s gift to me; there are not many things more fun and challenging. But wait – I do love backpacking with my son. We have taken many trips around this country as well as Canada. I have to say that my favorite place has been the John Muir trail in the Sierra Nevadas. My beautiful wife is the “much better half” of our family. She has worked with abused and neglected children for about 20 years. (How can children ever be abused and neglected? It makes no sense to me.) Stop by my office at ACU and introduce yourself when you are on campus.

Andrew W. Pitts, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Pitts, Ph.D.

Chair, ACU Department of Biblical Studies; Associate Professor, Biblical Studies

Ph.D., McMaster Divinity College; M.A., McMaster Divinity College; B.Th., Master’s College and Seminary; B.B.S., Calvary Chapel Bible College

Andrew W. Pitts is the Chair of the Biblical Studies Department and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries at ACU. He taught at seminaries and universities across the continent before taking this appointment. He has published peer-reviewed articles in JBLCBRJGRChJ, and Religions. He serves as the editor of the Brill Exegetical Commentary and is the co-author of The Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism (Eerdmans, March, 2015). He is also the co-editor of three recently released books on Early Christianity: Christian Origins and Hellenistic Judaism (Brill, 2013), Christian Origins and Greco-Roman Culture (Brill, 2013), and The Language of the New Testament (Brill, 2013). Andrew also has a passion for teaching and bringing innovative pedagogical techniques to the classroom.

Adam Sonstroem, M.A.

Adam Sonstroem, M.A.

Instructor; Government, History and Philosophy/Communication and English

M.A. Wheaton College; B.A. Wheaton College

Before coming to ACU, Adam Sonstroem spent eight years at Scottsdale Christian Academy teaching a variety of history and film classes. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Wheaton College in Illinois and is very thankful for that experience. Wheaton professors taught him to truly appreciate learning, and it is their influence that he brings to the ACU classroom.

Furthermore, Mr. Sonstroem loves teaching because it allows him to study his subject matter and interact with students on a daily basis. He considers it an honor and a privilege to serve the ACU community.

Mr. Sonstroem also enjoys sports and movies. The Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Eagles are his teams of choice in baseball and football. He watches a variety of movies and enjoys discussing the latest films; he encourages students to stop by if in need of a movie recommendation. (His top 10 list of favorite movies contains “about 50 films.”) He also enjoys the outdoors and goes hiking or biking whenever possible.