Dr. Michael Bryant, winner of the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award, is no stranger
to CSU. Not only has he been a professor in the Religion Department since August 2008,
but he was also an undergraduate here from 1991-1995. After earning a bachelors degree
in History and a minor in Music, Bryant attended Southeastern Baptist Theological
Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, where he received his Masters of Divinity, and then his
PhD in New Testament.
In terms of teaching style, Bryant prefers the traditional lecture, though he thinks
it is important to vary method and approach to include group discussion. Whatever
the approach, Bryant believes in following the basics of good communication which
include simplicity, clarity, a well-structured outline or format, relevance, adjustment,
and hard work. Bryant says, Those who communicate well work hard at trying to communicate
well; they spend a lot of time by themselves studying and preparing. Its not glamorous,
but its absolutely necessary for good communication.
Many teachers, both good and bad, have influenced Dr. Bryant. In graduate school,
Dr. Andreas Kstenberger, with his depth of knowledge, scholarly rigor, and hard work,
made the biggest impression. During Bryants studies at CSU, Dr. Tom Guerrys example
of respect and graciousness impacted him. At Lexington High School in South Carolina,
Bryants English teacher, Mrs. Sharpe, had the ability to motivate students to do their
best; she even inspired Bryant to read Moby Dick, by Melville, in its entirety.
However, not all teachers set a positive example; poor teachers (from elementary school
through his doctoral studies) have also affected Bryant. Teachers who provided bad
models of teaching wasted class time, demonstrated arrogance, berated students, or
showed a lack of interest in the needs or concerns of their pupils. Bryant seeks to
avoid their negative examples.
In addition to his educational experience, Dr. Bryant also has a background in the
ministry. He served as a pastor in a Baptist church near Edenton, NC for nearly eight
years. Bryant feels fortunate that he has the opportunity to teach the most important
book ever written: People have always been interested in the Bible and they always
will be. Its a fascinating book that gives wisdom, guidance, comfort, correction,
and purpose, among other things. It explains the way of salvation. It addresses the
eternal questions of life. It makes clear the character and work of Christ. There
is no other book like it.
In his free time, Bryant likes to read, particularly history and biography: I love
a good story. Whether from history or literatureI am fascinated by the experiences
of otherstheir struggles, their failures, their triumphs. Bryants favorite stories
include that of Daniel Boones quick thinking and courage in 1776 when he rescued his
daughter Jemima and two other girls from their Indian captors, General Washingtons
persistence and determination during the American Revolution, the story of Davids
Livingstones initial rejection from missionary service after he forgot his sermon
and ran out of the church in complete humiliation, and Grants repeated attempts to
serve in the Union army at the start of the Civil War.
When not reading, he enjoys traveling, especially to historical sites, listening to good music, and spending time with his wife, Amy, and his four children: Abigail, Joseph, Lydia, and Anna.
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