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A Calling to Teach with Mark Moore, Ph.D.

Theology professor Mark Moore’s passion for university-level teaching began in his college years. Inspired by his professors’ authentic faith, depth of knowledge, and unique personalities and teaching styles, Mark decided to follow his true calling to teach. He never looked back. 

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Mark recently adapted his teaching style for 100% online learning. He graciously took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us a little about his path to teaching, how he’s utilizing the online platform, and a few fun facts most people don’t know about him.  

How many years have you been at Jessup?

10 years

What classes do you teach at Jessup? 

I am a member of the Faculty of Theology and regularly teach New Testament, Christian Theology, Contemporary Discipleship, Scripture & Pop Culture, Contemporary Theology, Practical Theology, and Theology and Spiritual Formation.

Describe your path to teaching

The desire to teach at the university level began my first year in college. I was inspired by my professors’ authentic faith, depth of knowledge, and how they were able to bring their own unique personalities to their teaching styles. I also loved the old books, tweed suit jackets, and Indiana-Jones-styled leather messenger bags. While I initially worked in full-time ministry upon completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that teaching was my true calling and immediately pursued graduate school. A couple of master’s degrees and two cross-country moves later, I was introduced to a small Christian university in Northern California, William Jessup University to be exact. In the Fall of 2010 (exactly 14 years after first feeling the call to teach at the university level), I stepped into the classroom and I have never looked back. I have been at Jessup for a decade now and completed my Ph.D. in 2017.

What’s unique about your online teaching style?

I like to make supplemental videos that go along with the prerecorded lectures that add further explanation and bring my personality to the online classroom. I also try to take the time to connect with each student individually so that they feel like more than just a name in a discussion room.

What do you like most about the online learning mode at Jessup?

I love the flexibility it provides both the student and the instructor while still creating a sense of community and connection.

How can a student get the most out of an online learning experience?

Approach the class like you would an in-person class. Dive into the readings, engage in thoughtful discussions and do your best on all of the assignments. There is one clear principle in all education: you get out what you put in.

How do you integrate faith into an online learning environment?

Any chance I get, I stress the overarching biblical narrative which teaches us a Gospel-worldview with which to approach life. I also reference my own faith journey quite often.

How are you successfully transitioning your traditional classes to online classes during this quarantine period?

During this time, we are using Zoom to hold classes that allow us to recreate the instruction and interaction of traditional in-person classes. We are able to hold classes at their regularly scheduled times, break the students up into private chat rooms for further discussion, share powerpoints, videos, and documents. The students can ask questions in real-time and interact with each other via message boards. If it were not happening in the corner of my guest room turned Zoom studio, I would feel like I was back in the normal classroom. The students have adapted so well and we all appreciate the sense of normalcy these classes provide.

How are you using your “real-world” experience to help students in your program?

All theology is practical theology therefore I often reference real events, conversations and struggles that I have encountered in ministry. I also have to practice my faith in the real world and often share my successes and failures.

In addition to teaching at Jessup, do you (did you) have another career?

I am also the Spiritual Formation Pastor at Faith Legacy Church in Sacramento, CA. I have been at the church for 12 years.

What three people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party?

Karl Barth
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Dorothy Day

For more information about Jessup’s Theology program, please visit their program page.

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