In this new year, I want to begin with an expression of gratitude. I am in my third year now at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived.
I had taught previously at the graduate level and at a college with high admissions standards dominated by homeschoolers, so returning to an open-admissions university was going to be a challenge, I thought.
In some ways, that has been true, but I have grown to love this place. Why?
First, I have never worked at an institution of higher education that has demonstrated the heart of God as much as I have witnessed here. The openness of the administration toward faculty is refreshing. Without trying to sound too trite, this is the “nicest” place that I have ever worked.
The desire to constantly improve the quality of the campus–the physical structures, the educational standards, and the spiritual atmosphere–is evident. It is a pleasure to come to work, although “work” is often the wrong word. I really do consider this a ministry to the students.
I have also been given the opportunity to develop courses I’ve never had the privilege to teach before: American Colonial History, The American Revolution, The Civil War Era. But those are basic types of upper-level courses. In addition, I have had the liberty to develop more specialized courses that I know will benefit the students, expanding their understanding of how the Biblical worldview applies to our society.
In particular, last year I taught a full-semester course on Whittaker Chambers, writer of what I consider to be the most significant work of the twentieth century–Witness. This coming semester, I will be offering a course entitled “Ronald Reagan and Modern American Conservatism.” Would I ever have been allowed to teach such courses at a typical university? Highly unlikely.
At one end of the campus is a statue that is supposed to embody the spirit of Southeastern. It is called “The Divine Servant,” depicting Jesus washing the feet of Peter, his disciple.
May that spirit of servanthood always prevail here.