Christian Scholarship Profiles
Todd M. Hamilton
Professor of Chemistry
I have spent 16 of my 18 years in higher education teaching in a Christian College environment. I have really enjoyed being in this type of environment. I once had a student come into my office one minute before class started to tell me that her grandfather just died. I marvel at and am thankful for the fact that she felt comfortable enough to do that and I think the Christian environment lends to that level of trust. I enjoy the level of collegiality among faculty members, the high level of respect, and sense of helping one another.
I think the influence of the Christian environment goes deeper than that. My students will be future doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. Whether they realize it or not, they are choosing a life of service. My students will make difficult ethical decisions as medical professionals or as members of the voting public. How I present chemistry will leave an imprint. My decision to become a teacher is rooted in my decision to be a Christian. This is one of the ways I choose to serve.
I also happen to believe that the ability to gain an education is a gift from God. Some scientists prefer to focus only on the physical world around us. But I am going to hold out the possibility that there is something more going on in our minds when we teach and learn than electrical impulses and chemical changes. Just as I believe there is something more to our person than merely the physical. The Christian College environment offers a place where the entire person can flourish.
Associate Professor of Psychology
My experience with Christian education began as a freshman at a small liberal arts Christian College. It was here that I had the opportunity to benefit from professors who merged their faith with their love for their discipline. They established intriguing courses where questions about faith and society were discussed openly in the classroom and many course assignments were reflective which provided the opportunity for students to express their thoughts about God and the topic at hand. But beyond the classroom it most certainly was the relationships that these professors developed and nurtured with the students that showed me the importance of a faith-based higher education. As expected professors were available, but it wasn’t that they merely had the answers to your questions in addition they listened and mentored students who were on their own journey of faith. My college experience nudged me along in my discovery of a career path.
However, the desire to use my faith to influence and support others began much earlier in my childhood as I quickly learned that people suffer in this world. They suffer from illness, abuse, hardships much of which is hard to understand in the context of a loving God. I don’t remember a time as an adolescent that I wasn’t questioning this reality. Fortunately through prayer and service the frustration and discouragement with these issues subsided and I was overcome with an understanding that God is love and through that love we learn to love others—showing support and encouragement to their needs. In return, in times of our own struggles that love and support is given back sometimes in the simplest ways. Even what seems to be an insignificant action or thought can be life-changing to someone. And thus it’s no surprise that psychology was a field I deeply connected with, a field that studies human behavior and the resiliency of children, adults, the mentally challenged and the abused to name a few. It has been a wonderful experience for me to teach the great theories of this discipline everything from cognitive processing to discrimination and prejudice of women and children. It has provided me with a natural channel to connect faith to human experiences. I am regularly reminded in my classes of the vast needs of students, they have struggles and hardships as well and by teaching in an environment where my faith can openly be discussed it gives me the opportunity to mentor to students while reminding them of the love of Christ. I’m guided by the thought that perhaps just one small word of encouragement, one informal conversation about calling, or one moment of listening rather than talking could make all the difference –a life could take a different path –a life could sense the love of God and be moved to show that love to someone else—the effects could be endless.
Jonathan Sands Wise