A recent article in The Abilene Reporter-News featured interviews with professors from Abilene’s three universities about their spiritual preparations for teaching (all three schools have church ties). All three professors had something worthwhile to say, but I especially appreciated the comments made by the Abilene Christian University professor. You can read the entire article here.
Here is the section from the ACU professor —
Dr. Nancy Shankle, chair of the department of English, Abilene Christian University
I believe the professors at a Christian university must be strong in their faith, so they can mentor and guide younger Christians. So, I work to stay grounded in my faith, and I use the summer to rest and rebuild physically and spiritually in preparation for the semester. But I don’t do anything specific to prepare for class other than pray for my students.
Once the semester starts, I have a class prayer journal and I pray for my students and their individual needs. I pass the prayer journal around the room, and students write their prayer requests in it. It has become a great way to connect to students and their spiritual needs.
Both of my children graduated from Abilene Christian University. Throughout their time there, I was amazed at the stories they told me of the personal interest professors took in their spiritual life. While both my children were Christian Ministry majors, these stories about their professors were not limited to those from the College of Biblical Studies. In fact, they told me stories about their professors in Biology, English, and other disciplines that left me wiping tears from my eyes. They both allowed me to read notes sent to them by their professors throughout their four years in undergrad studies. I was amazed and left wondering how these professors possibly had the time to offer this kind of encouragement to all their students.
What a great idea for a professor to have a prayer journal like that described by Dr. Shankle. How blessed are the students who have professors who care about more than just communicating facts, whatever the discipline. Thank God for professors who take a genuine interest in the spiritual walk of their students.