||Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr.
Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. became Palm Beach Atlantic’s provost and chief academic officer June 1, 2014. Dr. Fant had served as executive vice president for academic administration and dean of the faculty at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where he co-led the development of the Union 2015 Strategic Plan and served in a variety of other leadership positions.
Dr. Fant earned a bachelor of science degree from James Madison University, a master of arts in English from Old Dominion University and a master of divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. While at the University of Southern Mississippi, he earned a doctor of philosophy degree in English literature and a post-doctoral master of education.
Additionally, he holds a certificate in educational management from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. A prolific writer and speaker, he is a contributing blogger at The Chronicle of Higher Education and First Things; his most recent book is The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide (Crossway).
“An advocate for the liberal arts and a trained theologian, Gene Fant is an innovative, 21st century higher education leader,” President Fleming said. “He was the architect of significant initiatives that propelled Union University forward by numerous measurements. Moreover, he understands the heartbeat of the students.”
Dr. Fant and his wife, Lisa, are parents to twins, Ethan and Emily. Dr. Fant’s father, Gene C. Fant, Sr., is a retired pastor, and his mother, Mona Faith Fant, is a syndicated radio host, songwriter and country-gospel artist.
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- Doctor of Philosophy, English Literature. University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, 1995. (Emphasis: Renaissance English Literature: dissertation on hagiography in Lady Mary Wroth’s sonnets; secondary emphases: Arthuriana, Beowulf).
- Certificate in Educational Management (post-doctoral). Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. 2011.
- Master of Education (post-doctoral), Educational Supervision (Higher Education). USM, 1995.
- Master of Divinity, Biblical Languages. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. 1991.
- Master of Arts, English. Old Dominion University, 1987.
- Bachelor of Science, Anthropology, minor in human biology. James Madison University, 1984.
- Additional Study: Christopher Newport University (secondary English endorsement earned 1989); LERN Institute (On-line Instruction Certificate, 2001).
Executive Vice President for Academic Administration and Dean of the Faculty,
Union University, Jackson, TN. 2012-June 2014
Notable accomplishments in Academic Administration:
- Institution received numerous citations for academic quality, including U. S. News and World Report, Kiplinger’s, First Things, and many others.
- Served on budget team with CFO and Provost; total budgets c. $90M.
- Supported church and denominational relations with local churches.
- Co-led in development of the Union 2015 Strategic Plan (Renewing Minds).
- Supervised numerous curricular and technological developments, including expansion at regional campuses.
- Assisted in successful accreditation reviews in art, music, business, social work, pharmacy, nursing, and engineering.
- Participated in significant faculty hires in all areas of academic programming.
- Led faculty development efforts that seek to shore up dedication to and understanding of the university’s mission.
Accreditation / Strategic Planning:
- Co-Leader of Union 2015 plan: 2010-current. Includes soliciting and analyzing faculty / staff input into all elements of the latest strategic plan, which will mark the university’s bicentennial.
- Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan for the SACS Self-Study: 2003-2007. Led in the overhaul and design of the Honors Program, transforming it into a pervasive and wide-ranging Honors Community.
Previous Administrative Experience
- Vice President for Academic Administration and Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Union University, Jackson, TN, appointed VPAA in 2010; appointed dean in 2006 (interim 2006-2007).
- Chair, Department of English, Union University: 2002-2007. Chaired a ten-member department, the largest student credit hour generating unit in the university. Saw approx. 30% increase in majors and significant curriculum revisions, including the addition of mandatory senior thesis projects for all majors.
- Chair, Department of English, Mississippi College, Clinton, MS: 1999-2002. Chaired a nine-member department, which included the M. A. / M.Ed. in English. At peak, almost one in nine undergraduate students at the university was an English major or minor.
- Assistant to the University President, University of Southern Mississippi: 1995. Served as researcher and special projects coordinator and as the liaison with the office of the commissioner of higher education.
- Assistant Director, Mississippi Institute for Law-Related Education, USM, 1994-1995. Carried out duties related to the oversight of $3.1 million in U. S. Dept. of Education grants, including teacher training and continuing education for law-enforcement and attorneys. Duties included editing and preparing manuscripts for publication to educational and policy institutions. Oversight of all phases of publishing and distributing eight books of curricula, policy reviews, and instructional materials.
Primary teaching areas: Seventeenth-Century British Literature, Shakespeare, Creative Writing, Historical Linguistics, William Faulkner, World Literature, Auto/Biography, and Utopia/Dystopia.
- Newell Innovative Teaching Award, Union University, 2005.
- Two-time finalist for professor of the year, Union University.
- Humanities professor of the year, Mississippi College, 2002.
- Department of English, Union University: 2002-current. Full Professor awarded 2007. Tenure awarded 2006. Associate Professor awarded in 2002.
- Department of English, Mississippi College: 1995-2002. Assistant Professor. Tenure awarded 1998. Admitted to Graduate Faculty, 1996.
- Department of English, Univ. of Southern Mississippi: 1992-1995. Teaching fellow.
- Adjunct faculty status: William Carey College (1991-1992), Delgado Community College (1991), E. P. Nunez Community College (1991), and Phillips Junior College (1989-1990).
- Department of English, Gloucester County (VA) Schools. Instructor, 1987-1989.
Additional experience in management / sales (Ames Cleaners & Laundry, Hampton VA; Thalhimer’s Department Store, Hampton, VA; and Jack-in-the-Box, Newport News, VA) and athletic coaching.
Selected Scholarship / Publications / Creative Works
- The Liberal Arts: A Students’ Guide. Crossway Academic, 2012.
- God as Author: A Biblical Approach to Narrative. Broadman & Holman Academic, 2010.
- Expectant Moments: Devotions for Expectant Parents (with Lisa W. Fant). Zondervan, 1999. Paperback edition released 2002. Kindle edition released 2010.
- Petrarchan Hagiography, Gender, and Subjectivity in Lady Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus. Published by the Graduate School, Univ. of Southern Mississippi, 1995.
Selected Book Chapters
- “How the Cooperative Program Put a Baptistery in my Garage: The Legacy of M. E. Dodd” in forthcoming volume edited by Ray Van Neste, 2014.
- “Convictional Courage: The Leadership of David S. Dockery” in a forthcoming volume edited by Carla D. Sanderson, B & H, 2014.
- “Give Me that Power: Secular Writers’ Fascination with the King James Version of the Bible” in KJV: Legacy and Impact, edited by Ray Van Neste, BorderStone Press, 2012.
- “Core Curriculum in a Christian Context” A Handbook for Christian Higher Education, ed. David S. Dockery, B & H Academic, 2012.
- “A Blind Man, an Idiot, and a Prig: Faulkner’s Disdain for the Reader” in Literature and the Reader, ed. by Michael J. Meyers. Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 2005.
- 1994 Daub-Maher Prize for Outstanding Conference Paper: Southeastern Conference on Christianity and Literature
- 1994 Linwood Orange Award, University of Southern Mississippi (given to the outstanding doctoral student in the Department of English)
Brief Biographies / Profiles
- “Dante” & “George Herbert” in Encyclopedia of Christian Literature, eds. G. T. Kurian & J. D. Smith III. Scarecrow Press; forthcoming.
- “George Strother Gaines,” “Mississippi College” & “Mississippi Baptist Convention” in The Mississippi Encyclopedia. Mississippi University Press / National Endowment for the Humanities; forthcoming, 2014.
- “George Strother Gaines: Servant of Two States, Servant of Two Peoples.” Mississippi History Now, August 2002.
- “Samuel M. Gore: Artist for the People.” Mississippi Magazine. July / August 2002.
- “John Stewart Bryan,” “Eugene S. Pulliam,” & “Theodore Lothrop Stoddard.” American National Biography. Oxford Univ. Press, 1999.
- “Peachwood Remembered: The Photography of Marion Stark Gaines.” Mississippi Magazine. May / June 1997.
- Other publications on William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Lady Mary Wroth, and Edith Wharton in a variety of academic journals; details available upon request.
- Twenty-one academic papers presented at several annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society, regional sessions of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Sixteenth-Century Studies Association, and other academic conferences. Detailed list available upon request.
Scholarly / Professional Societies
- Evangelical Theological Society: 2003-current
- Formerly held memberships in Modern Language Association, Conference on Christianity and Literature, International Arthurian Society, National Council Teachers of English, Sixteenth-Century Studies Association and others.
- 2007 & 2003 Amy Foundation Awards for excellence in newspaper editorial writing from a biblical perspective.
- 2006 Grand Prize, Feature Writing, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (part of a team submission), Madison Magazine.
- 2006 Silver Medallion, Outstanding Reporting, Parenting Publications of America (part of team submission), West Tennessee Parent & Family Magazine
- Writer-in-Residence: Edgar Allan Poe Museum (Richmond, VA) Young Authors Conference (held at Virginia Commonwealth University), 2004-2006.
- Poetry and short fiction published in several creative writing journals.
- Affiliated songwriter with Broadcast Music Incorporated as “Clint” Fant.
- Finalist, 2008 Song of the Year (“Remember the Sacrifice,” co-written with Mona Faith Fant), U. S. Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians.
- Winner, 1985 Lyric Contest, Music City Song Festival
Board / External Committee Service
- Board of Directors, Impact 360 Institute, a residential worldview academy sponsored by the LifeShape Foundation, a Chick-fil-A charity: 2014-current.
- Curriculum Development Committee, Impact 360: 2006-current.
- Board of Advisors, Impact 360: 2005-2013.
- Member, Jackson Arts Coalition of the Jackson Arts Council (literary representative): 2009-current.
- Member of Advisory Board, Media Ethics Magazine: 2008-current. www.mediaethicsmagazine.com .
- Planning Committee of the Bible as Literature Subgroup, Evangelical Theological Society: 2003-2012.
- Member of Advisory Board, Jackson (TN) Sun specialty publications board: 2005-2009.
- Member, Conclave on the Future of Baptist Higher Education: 2004.
- Member, Planning Committee for the National College Forum of the Splendors of Versailles Exhibition, Jackson, MS: 1997-1998.
- Faculty Development: College of the Ozarks, Oklahoma Baptist University, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Belhaven University, Poltava (Ukraine) College Consortium, and a dozen or so high schools, both Christian and public.
- Pedagogy, text reviews, and testing consulting with Crossway, InterVarsity Press, U. S. Department of Education / Mississippi Institute for Law-Related Education, W. W. Norton Publishers, A. B. Longman Publishers, College Board, Advanced Placement Testing Services, Prentice-Hall Publishers, Summit Ministries, and Jackson-Madison County Public Schools. Detailed list available upon request.
- Print: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2001 Writer’s Market, Baptist Press, Dallas (TX) Morning News, Washington (DC) Times, Memphis (TN) Commercial-Appeal, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, Nashville (TN) Tennessean, Newport News (VA) Daily-Press, Hattiesburg (MS) American, and Jackson (TN) Sun.
- Broadcast: BBC 5 Radio, FamilyNet Radio, American Family Association of West Tennessee, WBBJ-TV (Jackson, TN), WDAM-TV (Hattiesburg, MS), and other outlets in AZ, MS, and TN. Monthly “Dad’s Dish” segment aired on JEA -6 in Jackson, TN, 2005-2009.
- Member, Englewood Baptist Church, Jackson, TN, since 2007.
- Lay Preacher: supply preaching at Baptist / Methodist churches in LA, MS, TN, TX, & VA.
- Interim Minister to College Students, West Jackson (TN) Baptist Church (2003-2004).
- Deacon: ordained 1995 at First Baptist Church, Hattiesburg MS. Also served at West Jackson (TN) Baptist Church, and Englewood Baptist Church (including service as deacon secretary).
- Led mission trip to Ukraine, 2010.
- Taught Sunday school, worked in community missions, coached sports teams, and served on committees at churches where we held membership. Complete listing available upon request.
Married to Lisa Williams Fant since 1989 (B.S., Elementary Education from Carson-Newman College, M. A. in English literature from Univ. Southern Mississippi). Sixteen-year-old twins, Ethan & Emily, are tenth graders at Madison Academic Magnet School (Jackson, TN). Son of the Rev. Gene C. Fant, Sr., retired pastor of Ivy Memorial Baptist Church in Hampton, VA; mother is Mona Faith Fant, syndicated radio host, songwriter, and country-gospel artist. Grandson of the late Rev. Thomas Edison Fant, evangelist and pastor.