Professor Nathan Huffstutler with students

The Context of Relationships | MBU Humanities Faculty

Now that I’m on staff at Maranatha, I don’t walk through the busy hallways as much as I did when I was a student. But when I do, I’m reminded of the lasting relationships that were formed during my undergraduate career; specifically, with the Humanities faculty.

Whether it’s the department chair, Dr. Miller, any adjunct faculty member (Mr. Huffstutler, Mr. Zwolanek, Mrs. Meinhardt, Mrs. Morris…), or the administrative assistant, if I see them in the hallway, I am greeted warmly by name and with a sincere hello.

The Humanities department is relationally driven when it comes to its students, alumni, and faculty. The department trains students to communicate well through oral, written, and visual mediums, but at the core of every class, interaction, and academic meeting is the desire to foster relationships.

Opportunity for a Relationship

The faculty in the Humanities department encourage students to become well-rounded individuals through mentoring, being available to answer questions, and engaging with students throughout their college career. Mrs. Angela Morris, a Communications professor, explains, “[P]rofessors have an open-door policy thus allowing students the freedom to stop in and pose questions regarding their future, discuss challenging assignments, or stop and pray for a specific need.”

The effort the faculty makes is not unnoticed by the students. Elizabeth Post, a sophomore Communication Arts major, expresses her appreciation for the faculty: “[They] take time to help you and get to know you as a person. I can genuinely call many [faculty from the Humanities department] my friends and I know I will appreciate their investment in my education going forward. I will treasure the relationships I’ve formed long after I graduate.”

The faculty provide opportunities to develop relationships with their students and the students readily take them. This leads to the academic, spiritual, and personal development of the students.    

Developing the Relationship

The faculty in the Humanities department care not only about developing a student academically but developing a student spiritually and personally. Marytta Davis, a junior Humanities major, shares, “The Humanities faculty have shown true investment in us not just as students but as people. That’s something that you never really saw [in my previous educational experience]. I have always felt [that] teachers push you for being a student but not so much about being a person. The Humanities faculty want us to excel as students, but ultimately, they care about how we excel as people and grow in Christ. That’s support that I have never had from a teacher.”

Mr. Nathan Huffstutler, an English professor, adds, “We know our students’ names. We interact with them outside the classroom. We become genuine friends. We know that we are brothers and sisters serving the same mission for the same Lord.”

The opportunities are given, relationships are developed, but why should a relationally driven department matter? What is the outcome?

Outcome of the Relationship

Abigail Banks, a junior Communication Arts major, had the privilege of being the student director for Maranatha’s Fall 2020 production of Beauty and the Beast. She worked closely with several Humanities faculty members throughout the production. “Their influence has helped shape me into a better person, and most importantly, a better Christian,” Abigail shares.

You don’t have to be the student director for a major production to be impacted by this dynamic group of faculty. Senior English major, McKenna Massey, tells how the faculty’s excitement for possibilities to grow is contagious: “The Humanities faculty are encouraging and always welcoming. They all have an optimistic attitude about our futures that make me excited to jump in to anything that is offered.”

While gaining skills for your future career is important, Nathan Huffstutler says that your education is about more than that. “It’s about the kind of person that [the student is] turning into. Our graduates become lifelong learners and thinkers who desire to serve the Lord with all their strength.”

So, what is the outcome of a relationally driven department? Graduates entering the workplace invested in not only the field but the people.

Dr. Jeff Miller, Chair of the Humanities department, shares, “Our students are intentionally being trained to communicate, to understand other human beings, to understand how to work with them, how to assess their needs and find ways to meet those needs. They are trained to problem solve… all in the context of the human relationship.”

Start building your relationships now by exploring the Humanities department web page to learn how you can interact with the Humanities faculty today.