Professor makes faith a priority

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

When students think of larger campuses that aren’t associated with words like Baptist or Christian, they usually think of more secular or logical ideas about teaching subjects like math or science.

That isn’t the case here at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Due to the Christian roots in OBU’s founding, teachers are able to intermingle faith into the subject they are teaching.

“You’re freer to discuss the religious aspects related to science,” Dr. Yates, Associate Professor of Science, said. “As opposed to restrictions that you find in public schools. And it seems that students are more open to that as well, coming to a Christian university; in which they expect that the [religion] will be tied… that’s part of our goal. To tie it to our curriculum.”

At OBU, students often encounter the gospel – and teachable moments in their faith – even outside of chapel or the classes that are strictly about religion. This is especially true for professors such as Dr. Yates, who encourages his students to pursue their faith even in the field of science.

“Dr. Yates helps us to recognize the ordering of God’s creation and the perfection of God’s work even down to the smallest microorganism,” Anna Harmon, a junior biochemistry major, said. “With every new topic, he taught us to recognize how incredible and purposeful God is in everything that He does. The Genesis account has never been truer than when I was taking classes with Dr. Yates.”

Dr. Yates’ positive attitude and encouraging spirit to lead students on in their studies and in their faith has affected both his students and him equally.

By having this opportunity to bring glory to God, through a subject that many students normally struggled with, he has guided students to see the world of science in a different light.

“I’ve had students that, after a class, will email me and say, ‘You know, I have never thought about it like that,’” Dr. Yates said. “I’ve seen lights come on in student’s eyes and in their mind, and in their behavior. They become interested in the topic because you can tie it into one’s religious beliefs.”

Because of Dr. Yates and the large impact faith plays into his life and into his student’s lives, it becomes very apparent in his teaching, no matter what the subject matter be. “When [Dr. Yates] discussed how UV-radiation can control microbial growth – to non-science people, it may not mean anything except dead microbes,” Har-mon said. “But to me through the teaching of Dr. Yates (and other science professors), I recognize that God had a plan in mind when he was designing microbes and UV-light.”

Even though science and math may seem less interesting and not as applicable to non-math and science majors, there’s always something you can get out of it when it comes to the professors at OBU.

By mixing in faith with these subjects, students can connect and understand the subject matter more.

“It’s a good opportunity to have, to be able to teach science and within that realm of science to discuss religion as well,” Dr. Yates said. “Which, in the public school, you typically cannot do to a very high degree.”

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