Charles Lacey, a BJU faculty member in the department of mathematics, never expected to end up in a teaching position; however, God had other plans.
Originally, the Florida native thought that after he completed his master’s degree in statistical analysis from the University of Central Florida, he would get a job in the field of data science, like many of his peers.
After a series of closed doors in early 2018, he prayed one morning that God would lead him to the application for his future job. Later that same day, Lacey saw a job posting from BJU for someone with expertise in statistics.
“I got to the Bob Jones [University] application, and I [closed] the page because I did not want to teach,” he said. His supervisor, a fellow Christian, encouraged him to apply, a step that started an 18-month process.
In November 2018, BJU offered him a faculty position beginning in the 2019 fall semester. Lacey accepted and moved to Greenville, becoming the first person in his family to leave Florida.
Before coming to BJU, Lacey had taught only one class as a graduate assistant at the University of Central Florida. Because of his limited prior teaching experience, Lacey had difficulty adjusting to his new environment during his first semester. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is a lot of work,’” Lacey said. “Then, spring came around, and it was going all right.”
The spring semester presented its own challenges. “COVID hit, and for the faculty that [meant] our work hours almost doubled,” Lacey said. “I felt as though, being a bit younger, it was a little bit easier, just with technology and such.”
This semester, he is teaching applied statistics, digital literacy and college algebra. Lacey said the biggest adjustment for him recently has been finding ways to keep quarantined students engaged in class and to help them stay on track.
“I love teaching and I love teaching here. I love the students here.” -Charles Lacey
Despite his initial hesitancy, Lacey has found a deep enjoyment in his work. “I love teaching and I love teaching here,” Lacey said, “I love the students here.”
Outside of work, Lacey enjoys playing beach volleyball whenever possible. His biggest hobby is one he has started in the past year: pickleball. “I would love to do that for five days a week,” Lacey said, “but if I can do it twice a week, I feel pretty good.”
As for the future, Lacey plans to continue teaching for as long as he is able. “As long as the Lord leaves the door open here and doesn’t direct me anywhere else, I’m going to teach here,” Lacey said. However, he said he recognizes that he still has a lot to learn in his field. Lacey said he is constantly learning from his colleagues how to improve.
His desire to continue teaching is influenced largely by two factors: his love for math and the ability to make a lasting impact on his students. “When [students] come to the office . . . we talk about math, then about what the Lord is doing for them,” Lacey said. “The opportunity to talk with them about more than math is my favorite part of my job.”
Lacey said there wasn’t much opportunity to speak about Christ at his last university position, so he loves that chance he gets as a professor at BJU.