Students honor faculty during BJU Together Week

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Students honor faculty during BJU Together Week

Together Mrs. Pam Dunbar, Dr. Brent McNeely, Dr. Lesa Seibert, Dr. Jessica Minor, Mr. Mike Buiter, Ms. Marlene Reed and Dr. Grace Hargis (left to right) have over 200 years of teaching experience at BJU. Photos: Rebecca Snyder. Design: Nathan Baughman

The Student Leadership Council hosted Faculty Appreciation Day  on Thursday as part of BJU Together Week. Students were encouraged to reflect on faculty service.

Students from each residence hall wrote faculty members letters of appreciation which were then collected and distributed.

Faculty members were honored and surprised by events throughout the day.

Student body presidents, Bekah Anderson and Colt Schiefer, led the planning of Faculty Appreciation Day, which has been in the works  for the majority of the year.

“Different faculty members have made such a big impact in my life and in the lives of so many other students.” Schiefer said. “This is a way for students to show that appreciation.”

Anderson expressed appreciation for the faculty’s sacrificial use of their time.

“I kind of assumed that when I came to college it would just be a very impersonal relationship with faculty members. But when I got here, I was shocked by how many of them will sacrifice and put their phone number in a syllabus,” Anderson said. “They’re not protective of their time.

Although many would consider Bible Conference a much-needed break for students and faculty, Emily Ayers, a sophomore business administration student, said Dr. David Brown of the mathematical science department was helping his students.

He chose to give up his free time to proctor a retest for some of his math students over Bible Conference.

Morgan Mattish, freshman communication major, said he appreciates the spiritual encouragement he receives from professors.

He specifically was thankful for stories told in Hermeneutics class of the Bible being lived out in people’s lives.

Ian Dyke, a junior English Education major, said his professor and program coordinator, Dr. Lesa Seibert, helped him cope with the pressures of coming to college.

He said, like most freshmen, he was overwhelmed by  the first week of college and struggled to make sense of all the information being thrown at him.

Seibert agreed to meet with him and spent two hours explaining the in’s and out’s of college.

“We had just met and she didn’t know me, but still she cared that I was struggling,” he said. “I never forgot that.”

Matthew Camastro, a junior piano performance major, said Mr. Ed Rea in the piano faculty was instramental in his enrolling at BJU.

Camastro said he unexpectedly became his church’s main pianist at around 14-years-old. Being so young, Camastro struggled to meet the expectations for the role.

Rea visited Camastro’s church in California and gave Camastro excellerated lesson in the short time they had.

Rea encouraged the young pianist to come to BJU to further  cultivate his talents.

“His love of music and godly character push me to pursue excellence and be the best pianist I can be,” Camastro said.

Camastro became the first student from his church in years to attend BJU thanks to the professor’s influence.

Matthew Seest, sophomore cinema major, appreciates the cinema faculty’s dedication to have students succeed. “I find most of them to be my friends as well as teachers,” Seest said.

Although faculty members could receive a greater salary elsewhere, Dr. Fisher, vice provost for academic administration, said he would not call working here a sacrifice. “You could be at an higher paying position, but if that’s not where the Lord wants you, you could be dissatisfied,” Fisher said.

Some faculty choose to teach rather than work in their professional field.

“At any nursing program across the country, it’s hard to find nursing faculty who want to teach…because most of them went into nursing because they love to practice,” Fisher said.

One example of a faculty member who chose BJU over a higher paying position is Dr. Marc Chetta, biology faculty member.

Allison Chetta, his daughter, told her father in 2010 while he was working as an emergency room doctor and director  at Habersham County Medical Center in Demorest, Georgia, that Bob Jones University was looking for an anatomy and physiology instructor.

After consulting God’s Word and tying up all loose ends at Habersham County Medical Center, he chose to become an associate professor at BJU in January 2011.

Although some students may be unsure of how to show greater appreciation to their teachers, Dr. Fisher suggested something simple: just express your appreciation.

“That expression could be in different ways,” Fisher said. Even though this seems like a simple way to show greater appreciation, the expressions do not have to be a simple “thank you.”

Dr. Fisher said that general “thank you’s” are good, but thanking a faculty member for a specific thing adds meaning to the thanks.

He encourages students to pray for their faculty, as the faculty do for their students.