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Enlightening Minds: Research Review 2017

The office of Provost Dr. E. Randolph “Randy” Richards provides colorful hints of his extensive travel as scholar, researcher, author and educator. Peaking out from the book-lined walls are archeological souvenirs from digs he joined in Israel. A wrap-around fabric that the Burmese wear commemorates the lectures Richards delivered to 1,500 Karen Christians at a seminary in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

“And that hat,” he said, “is from one of the most closed regions of the world in far north Sumatra.” Foreigners, particularly Christians, were never allowed in the area, but the borders opened temporarily after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the region. “I led medical teams there and did translating,” he said, “because I can speak that language.”

And because of his expertise in ancient Greek and papyrus manuscripts, Richards was appointed a mentor with the Museum of the Bible’s Ancient Manuscripts project at Oxford University.

Before Richards became Palm Beach Atlantic’s provost and chief academic officer in 2017, for 11 years he was dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies. Under his leadership the number of ministry majors grew from 70 to 300, and the school added a fully online undergraduate ministry degree and two master’s degrees.

Students mentored by Richards have excelled in research with ancient biblical manuscripts. Jesse Grenz ’15/’16 M.Div. studied in a summer conference at Oxford, and is now at the University of Cambridge, where his Ph.D. work will center on Codex Vaticanus, one of the most important biblical manuscripts.

Four current PBA students are working on the
Scholars Initiative program of the Museum of the Bible, studying texts of papyrus manuscripts. Opened in November of 2017, the Museum of the Bible occupies an eight story, 430,000-square-foot building three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. With a variety of educational programs and interactive exhibits, the museum has a stated purpose “to invite all people to engage with the Bible.” (www.museumofthebible.org)

(Continue reading in the link above)

E. Randolph Richards, Ph.D.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Professor of Biblical Studies

Enlightening Minds: Research Review 2016

When I arrived at Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2014, I noticed immediately that things move quickly here! We have a lively faculty who eagerly mentor their students and engage their academic disciplines. We have community partners who seek the services of our students, both in internships and in post-graduation employment. We have administrators who are visionary, constantly scanning the horizon for new opportunities.

Enlightening Minds documents this fast pace; PBA is a hive of activity that includes the highest level of scholarly productivity in the university’s history. We believe this is important because it reflects our faculty members’ commitment to keeping current in their fields while connecting their research with their classrooms. Ultimately, our students are the beneficiaries of this connection, learning to apply this knowledge in both practical and professional settings. Indeed, many of our faculty members partner with students in the production of new knowledge.

The past year has seen PBA leverage its global location in new ways. We are urban campuses in the multicultural settings of West Palm Beach and Orlando; the world lives on our doorstep and often invites us to travel to other places with our skills. Our new academic programs reflect this, with a new graduate degree in global development, a new undergraduate program in hospitality management, and other new programs in nursing, ministry, and even sports broadcasting. Other new programs underscore our commitment to entrepreneurship and free enterprise, including our newly established Titus Center for Franchising and our new graduate program, the Master of Accountancy.

All of this is occurring in a context that is unapologetically Christian. We seek diligently to produce students who will be transformational leaders for church and society, who will embrace ethical standards of the highest level, and who will seek to serve the under-resourced, all for the glory of God.

I hope you will enjoy reading Enlightening Minds as much as we have enjoyed preparing it. We rejoice in the responsibilities that we have been assigned: teaching amazing students in our classrooms. 

Gene C. Fant, Jr., Ph.D.
Provost & Chief Academic Officer
Professor of English

Enlightening Minds: Research Review 2015

At Palm Beach Atlantic University, our faculty scholarship paradigm is highly relational. We are engaged within our scholarly guilds, believing that our voices are worthy of being heard and valued by the larger academic community. We are collegial and team-oriented, believing that iron sharpens iron. We are student-focused, believing that we participate in the great enkuklios paideia, the “circle of scholars” that functions across the history of ideas and that allows us to mentor and disciple the next generation of thinkers.

As a university, we place great emphasis on ideas, because as a university we are a site for learning, for growing, and for advancing the intellectual traditions that are brought together in our classrooms. We never sacrifice people for ideas, though, as we embrace the imago dei, the image of God, that is found in each of our students, our colleagues, and all of humanity. For example, our flourishing sabbatical leave program allows us to provide faculty the opportunity for more in-depth study and research while recognizing their need for rest and spiritual refreshment. This means that our scholarship reflects the highest ideals of dignity and of the faith that grounds our actions.

Sabbaticals in 2015 saw our faculty working in such diverse locations as El Salvador, London, and Egypt, as reported in feature stories on the pages to follow. Meanwhile, our students have enjoyed a variety of international learning experiences, including a study trip to the Galápagos Islands.

"Enlightening Minds" is a snapshot of sorts, a freezeframe capture of one calendar year’s activities. Taken with previous years’ issues, we can see the maturation of the university and its teaching-scholars. Since we believe that Aslan is on the move, as C. S. Lewis once termed it, as Christ-followers we are also on the move, constantly straining to move forward with excellence that reflects the Source of knowledge and wisdom. All of this has been accomplished within a context of discipleship and community service.

Gene C. Fant, Jr., Ph.D.
Provost & Chief Academic Officer
Professor of English

Enlightening Minds: Research Review 2014

Christ-first higher education values personal and professional relationships. At Palm Beach Atlantic University, we seek to provide transformational educational experiences that enhance the classroom experiences of our students. 

Our faculty members are deeply engaged with their scholarly guilds, participating in traditional peer-reviewed publishing and research, broader academic conversations through conferences and disciplinary associations, and professional service that reflects our various areas of expertise. These activities, however, are not detached from our teaching; we intentionally connect them with our classes, providing our students with cutting-edge, real-world illustrations of the best that higher education offers. 

The ancients once employed the term enkuklios paideia, which meant that all learners are to be stewards of their broad knowledge, respecting those who went before them but also intentionally offering their own wisdom to the next generation. At PBA, we believe in cultivating partnerships with our students, utilizing engaged learning experiences to teach them to be better researchers, co-workers, and thinkers. 

"Enlightening Minds" documents only a portion of our work as an academic community. The items listed in this booklet represent a cross-section of one year’s activities, and even these items are not exhaustive. Not represented are the countless hours that faculty and students spend together in quiet mentoring, research, and intellectual discipleship.

Gene C. Fant, Jr., Ph.D.
Provost & Chief Academic Officer
Professor of English

Enlightening Minds: Research Review 2013 

Students say that what makes Palm Beach Atlantic University special is “our professors.” Current students as well as alumni enthusiastically describe how PBA professors stimulate and energize learning in the classroom, often by integrating their research and professional work and inviting students to participate.

Since 1999, Palm Beach Atlantic University has provided support for faculty and student research by granting sabbatical study leaves for 19 faculty members, course load reductions for 20 faculty to conduct research, and funding for 118 faculty and 108 student Quality Initiative research grants. In the 2013-2014 academic year alone, PBA has committed $47,000 from its operating budget to fund Quality Initiative grants for faculty and student research.

This booklet highlights the research and professional work of many of our teacher- scholars and students during 2013.  From the cutting-edge insights of Dr. Samuel Joeckel on the work and influence of C.S. Lewis, to the sobering opportunity of Dr. Roger Chapman to visit with survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb, to the ongoing summer undergraduate research program wherein student Morganne Bayliss, with Dr. Mireille Aleman, may be on the brink of developing a treatment for breast cancer, you will find that PBA faculty and student researchers are making and will continue to make a difference by studying God’s world and His people in new and different ways.

*Joseph A. Kloba, Ed.D.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

(*Dr. Joseph A. Kloba retired from his position of provost and chief academic officer at PBA in 2014)

Enlightening Minds: Research Review 2012

Beyond the Classroom: providing real-world research experience

Since 1999, PBA has provided increased support for faculty research and student research by granting sabbatical study leaves for 28 faculty members, course load reductions for research for 16 faculty members, and funding for quality initiative research grants to 104 faculty members and for 100 student projects.

This publication highlights the research and professional work of many of our PBA teacher-scholars in the 2012-2013 academic year. From books, articles and professional presentations to creative partnerships via the PBA Centers of Excellence, medical missions and catalyzing STEM projects in local schools, you will see that PBA professors are truly impacting the lives of our students and their professions by the quantity and quality of their work beyond the classroom.

Joseph A. Kloba, Ed.D.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Enlightening Minds: Research Review 2011

Collaborative Research: a model that works

Students often remark that what makes Palm Beach Atlantic University special is “the professors.”

Current students as well as alumni enthusiastically describe the many ways that PBA professors stimulate and energize learning in the classroom.

They tell of the professors’ selfless sharing of time and Christ-like encouragement in advising, mentoring and counseling outside the classroom. Students share how their professors integrate their research and professional work in their courses and engage them in these endeavors. This collaboration has resulted in the publication of student-professor co-authored articles as well as student-professor presentations made at professional meetings.

Over the last 10 years, PBA has provided increased support for faculty and student research by granting sabbatical study leaves for 25 faculty members, course load reductions for research for 12 faculty members, and funding for quality initiative research grants to 90 faculty and 90 student projects.

This publication highlights the research and professional work of many of our PBA teacher-scholars in the 2011-2012 academic year. As you will see in the following pages, PBA professors are truly impacting the lives of our students and their future by the quantity and quality of their scholarly work.

Joseph A. Kloba, Ed.D.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer


PBA’s Endowed Chair Authors 20 Books, More in the Pipeline

A prolific author, Dr. Paul Copan joined PBA in 2004. He is a professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics. He holds a B.A. from Columbia International University, an M.A. and M.Div. from Trinity International University, and a Ph.D. from Marquette University. 

Q: What motivated you to become and author?

A: When I was young, I enjoyed collecting and synthesizing information and compiling interesting quotations. Through the years, and with the advent of personal computers in particular, I have continued to research, gather and organize material in areas of strong interest - philosophy, theology, biblical studies, history/church history - into lecture and handout materials. Some have told me that the epitaph on my tombstone will be, “He had a handout!” At any rate, this sort of thing leads somewhat naturally to putting some of those materials into book form.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: I am motivated by Christ’s claim on my life and living for God’s kingdom. My writings in philosophy of religion and apologetics flow from this. I not only desire to see biblically-informed philosophical reasoning penetrate a largely secular academy in our culture; I also want to make resources accessible to the church in order to strengthen believers’ faith and enhance their witness in the world.



Q: Who is your favorite author?

A: I’ve greatly profited from the writings of C.S. Lewis - a clear, engaging writer who blends a warm devotion to Christ and writes on a range of topics to show how the Christian faith has a bearing on these disciplines.

Q: How many books/papers have you written?

A: I have edited or authored more than 20 books - with 8 or 9 in the pipeline - and I have contributed essays to more than 20 books authored by others. My books are generally available in North America, but some of them have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese. Of course, the Internet makes the books available worldwide.

Q: What books do you have in the works?

A: Several book projects are in the soliciting or contract stage. I have two forthcoming books on the immediate horizon: my coedited Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics (to be released mid-April) and Old Testament “Holy War” and Christian Morality (to be released this summer or fall with IVP Academic). On the more distant horizon, I am coauthoring a book on the moral argument (Continuum), another on biblical ethics (IVP Academic), and a third on the relevance of Paul’s Athens speech in Acts 17 for our own era (InterVarsity Press). I have just signed a contract to be a coeditor for the Zondervan Dictionary of Christianity and Science.

Q: Have you received awards for your work? 

A: My coedited Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion was acknowledged as one of Cambridge’s International Society for Science and Religion’s top books in their “Library Project” (2009). I have coedited The Apologetics Study Bible, which won the Retailers Choices Award (2008), and my coauthored Creation Out of Nothing was an ECPA Gold Medallion Award Finalist (2005).

I also have contributed to several books that have received awards: Francis Beckwith, et al., The New Mormon Challenge received The ECPA Gold Medallion Award (2003); Lee Strobel’s The Case for the Real Jesus was awarded the Retailers Choice Award (2008); William Craig and Chad Meister’s God Is Great, God Is Good earned the Christianity Today Book of the Year Award (2010).

Q: Who do you write for as an author?

A: I try to write for both the scholarly community and the thinking common person. I am concerned about making resources available to the academic as well as to Christians in the pew. I rejoice that God has used some of my books in the lives of unbelievers to help them move to faith in Christ.

Q: What do you want your readers to know after reading your books?

A: I pray that God will use my work to help believers to think and thinkers to believe. I want to exemplify the importance of honoring and worshiping God by the use of the mind and careful reflection ? that we can love the Lord our God with all our mind. I desire to see God draw people to him through the intellectual appeal of Christ as well as to help express the reasonableness and beauty of the Christian faith.


Works by Paul Copan: Publications 

Copan, P. “Christian Intellectuals Serving the Church.” Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture. Ed. Jonathan Morrow. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012. 90-91.


  • “The Naturalists Are Declaring the Glory of God: Discovering Natural Theology in the Unlikeliest Places.” Philosophy and the Christian Worldview: Analysis, Assessment and Development. Eds. David Werther and Mark D. Linville. New York: Continuum, 2012.
  • “Does the Old Testament Endorse Slavery?” Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Ed. Paul Copan and William Lane Craig. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2012.
  • “Is Naturalism a Simpler Explanation than Theism?” Enrichment Journal. Winter 2012: 108-11.
  • “Slavery and Scripture: Some Personal Reflections.” Is God Just a Human Invention? and Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists. Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2011. 156-7.
  • “The Moral Argument.” The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Ed. David Fergusson, Karen Kilby, Ian McFarland and Iain Torrance. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011.
  • “Does the Old Testament Endorse Slavery? The Difficult Texts.” Enrichment Journal. Summer 2011:124-7.
  • Is God a Moral Monster? translated into Portuguese: O Deus da Bíblia é Cruel? (2011).
  • The Apologetics Study Bible: A Guide to Defending the Christian Faith translated into Spanish (2011).
  • Copan, P and Matthew Flannagan. “Was Israel Commanded To Commit Genocide?” Christian Research Journal. 34.5 (2011): 6-7.


Works by Paul Copan: Presentations

Copan, P. “Ethics Needs God: A Response to Antony, Wielenberg and Sinnott-Armstrong.” Evangelical Philosophical Society regional meeting. Wake Forest, NC. March 24, 2012.

  • “Evil and Justice.” Boston Law School. Boston, MA. March 19, 2012.
  • “Is God a Moral Monster?” Biola/Apologetics Canada Conference. Vancouver, BC. March 9-10, 2012.
  • “The Problem of God.” Purdue University. Lafayette, IN. Feb. 16-19, 2012.
  • “Balancing Scholarly, Ministry and Personal Priorities.” Scholars with a Dream. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Atlanta, GA. Jan. 13, 2012.
  • Apologetics Question and Answer. On the Way Ministries/Areopagus Forum. Atlanta, GA. Jan.13, 2012.
  • Apologetics Conference. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. New Orleans, LA. Jan. 12, 2012.
  • “Does God Endorse Slavery in the Old Testament?” Evangelical Philosophical Society Annual Apologetics Conference. Berkeley, CA. Nov. 19, 2011.
  • “Old Testament ‘Slavery’: Observations, Challenging Passages and New Testament Perspectives.” Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. Nov. 16, 2011.
  • Apologetics Conference. Columbia Baptist Fellowship. Columbia, CT. Nov. 4-5, 2011.
  • Weekend Apologetics Conference. Red Mountain Community Church. Mesa, AZ. Oct. 21-22, 2011.
  • “Old Testament Ethics.” Reasonable Faith Conference. Atlanta, GA. Sept. 28, 2011.


Florida’s biologically rich coast provides diverse research opportunities for faculty and students

Associate Professor Thomas Chesnes has an infectious enthusiasm for field biology that has life-changing effects on his students. As he works closely with them during their senior research projects, many students discover their true calling.

“Because of PBA’s low student-teacher ratio, I have the ability to individually mentor my students,” Dr. Chesnes said. “Whether we are working in the lab with our findings, out in the field gathering data, or discussing the importance of publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals, our focus is how this entire academic process helps them in their careers and in pursuing more education.”

Dr. Chesnes is fortunate to have one of the world’s most diverse and convenient natural aquatic ecosystems surrounding PBA’s campus, where he and his students can do ecological assessments, learn about a wide range of species, measure diversity and critical habitats, and evaluate species.

 Kate Swick '11 and Dr. Thomas Chesnes


For recent graduate Katie Swick, who majored in molecular biology and biotechnology, Dr. Chesnes has been a tremendous influence on exposing her to different aspects of science and the high level of discipline it takes to be a successful field researcher.

“I chose to survey macro algae in MacArthur B