Maranatha Baptist University offered its first online course in the summer of 2009: Old Testament Survey. Fast forward nine years later, students from high school to graduate school can take classes and complete undergraduate and graduate degrees from anywhere in the world. Maranatha Online and Distance Learning is always seeking to enhance the online experience for students on campus and abroad. To further direct the online and distance experience, Maranatha has asked educational leader and experienced online teacher Dr. Philip Alsup to join Online and Distance Learning as Assistant Vice President. Dr. Alsup will begin this new role on July 1, 2018.
A Burden for People
Dr. Alsup grew up in a missionary’s home in Brisbane, Australia. He attended high school at Bob Jones Academy and continued on to the university to complete a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Law (2002).
Through college and after graduation, Dr. Alsup worked at WestBranch Camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. This experience burdened him for ministry and called him to work in education. “That was a really informative time because it burdened my heart for ministry and serving the Lord,” Dr. Alsup says. “That got me interested in working with young people and the youth in education.”
In 2010, Dr. Alsup completed his master’s in Educational Leadership from Bob Jones University. While raising a family and working a full-time job, he continued his studies, finishing his Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University in 2015.
“It’s All Ministry”
Dr. Alsup is concluding his 13th year working for Springfield Christian Academy in Clarkston, Michigan. He has spent 11 of those years serving as principal, though he has also coached boys’ basketball and taught high school math, Spanish and a variety of other subjects.
“I have done pretty much everything there is within a K-12 school, from teaching classes to cleaning the bathrooms,” he says. “It’s all ministry, it’s all needed. None of it is any less important than the rest of it.”
His favorite part of working in K-12 was using and implementing educational technology: putting in computer labs, guiding students through good research practices and implementing a BYOD (bring your own device) policy. “That’s been an exciting part of what I’ve done in education,” he says.
Dr. Alsup will also be leaving his position as associate pastor at Dixie Baptist Church, where he has preached and taught, developed adult Bible fellowships, overseen the children’s ministries, worked in the technological services and helped with marketing and finances.
“It’s great being involved in so many things,” Dr. Alsup says. “Anybody can look at it and say it’s busy, and it is, but it’s also a lot of nice variety. It’s great to be useful to the Lord and doing a lot of different things.”
Higher Education, Higher Calling
Dr. Alsup also has considerable experience in higher education; he has worked with different Christian universities both to develop and to teach online courses in master’s and doctorate programs. He has worked primarily as a mentor to doctoral candidates, helping them prepare their studies and write their dissertations. “It’s been a blessing,” Dr. Alsup says of the experience, “a real unique opportunity to be able to do that with people.”
He also explains how this experience has been valuable for him as a leader in the field of education: “it’s kept me on the edge of what is current in education, as far as what people are researching, what they are interested in, current trends in education—I get to see all of that because of helping other people do their own research.”
These opportunities have opened doors for Dr. Alsup to publish articles on educational topics and speak at conferences.
He reflects on these experiences with gratitude: “it’s living proof that if you continue doing, working hard, and pushing yourself to achieve, the Lord will open some incredible doors for you to do things that you never would have thought of.”
The Next Step
Dr. Alsup looks forward to joining Maranatha Baptist University both as an administrator within Online and Distance Learning and as a professor in the classroom.
“I’m excited about being around college-aged young people,” he says. “I’m really excited even about the classroom interaction and just interacting with kids in the hallway, being around them in this transformative time of life.”
Dr. Alsup is bringing his wife, Danielle, and five children to Watertown. Though this move will be his biggest “project” of the next few months, he looks forward to continuing to mentor doctoral candidates and pursue some writing opportunities. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing sports with his kids, and enjoying the outdoors with his family.
Dr. Alsup reflects on his transition to Maranatha, “It’s a humbling, flattering thing, because I never set out to make a name for myself, or get some big office or appointment or title. I think it’s just good evidence of the fact that the Bible says, ‘I being in the way, the Lord led me.’ And here I am.”