Written by: Audrey Barker & Megan England
In a culture where faith and science are often pitted against each other, OKWU’s Department of Science and Math is committed to helping students not just reconcile the two, but use science to deepen their understanding of the Creator and his creation. Dr. Douglass Quick and Dr. Brian Turner personify this philosophy. As the back-to-back recipients of the OKWU Distinguished Teaching award, Turner and Quick are beloved by students and peers alike. They share a driving passion to help students not only grow academically, but also in their faith.
“In every classroom, in everything I teach,” Dr. Quick says, “in every subject I approach with my students, you see God all over it… If you understand how God created the world we live in, then you understand who God is more clearly.”
Dr. Turner adds,
“Science is a way for us understand God himself, and worship him through the majesty of what he has created. Science is a gift to mankind in order to experience the joy of finding things out about God by what he has made. In fact, God made Adam a scientist as his first career, cataloging the differences among the animals. This was paradise!”
Both professors are known on campus for the unique ways they show an attitude of service to their students:
Almost anyone at Oklahoma Wesleyan can tell you that Dr. Quick holds the door open for students as they leave OKWU’s chapel. It’s a polite gesture on its own, but his reasons go beyond that. What is less well known about his story is that as each student passes through the door on their way to class, Dr. Quick prays for them. And has, for more than 10 years. In fact, he began the practice at the school where he taught before OKWU—almost 19 years ago. Dr. Quick also makes it a priority to be an available mentor to students, asking the tough questions about their walks with Christ.
“I want them to grow in their knowledge of Christ and their walk with God…” he emphasizes, “And I want them to accomplish what the Lord wants them to do.”
Dr. Quick has observed in his years of teaching, that many times when a student is struggling with grades, helping them work through their walk with God is a sure way to help their academics come into line. “You have to have excellence to be with God…” he says. “A question I often ask is ‘how’s your quiet time?’ or ‘what are you studying in the scripture?’”
Dr. T, as students call him, is known for his trebuchet contests, cardboard boat races, CSI events, and a number of other fun science events. “My philosophy is this,” he says,
“Math and science are everywhere. Therefore, do things that are fun and inspiring, and look for the math and science within it. Life should be an adventure, and so should education… I get to help students see God’s creativity, passion, rationality, consistency, and beauty. But overall, I believe that trying to be the servant of my students (whether in the classroom or not) is the best way to point them to Christ.”
Dr. T has taught his students this lesson as well, and recently took several Science and Math students on a mission trip to Native American Christian Academy (previously Sun Valley Indian School). Student Taylor Harvey said of the trip, “we were able to use the amazing things we’d been learning to hopefully ignite a similar passion [for science] in future generations. More importantly, we were showing them the love of our Creator and what He can do.”
In the context of impacting culture with the Lordship of Christ, Dr. Quick and Dr. Turner show that the intricacies of science are not at cross purposes with Christianity—but rather, are a confirmation of it. They live out their faith intellectually and in their daily interactions, and strive to help their students do the same.