Dr. Jared Brandt Shares his Outlook on Faith and Education

Dr. Jared Brandt

"My courses are designed to cultivate a philosophical attitude, which involves intellectual humility, openness to differing views, and an appreciation of life's important questions," says Dr. Jared Brandt, who has been serving as Assistant Professor of Philosophy in DBU's College of Christian Faith since 2018.

Dr. Brandt has also delivered special lectures on Christian faith and philosophy to students, faculty, and staff at DBU Friday Symposiums hosted by the University Honors Program. He first spoke on the moral philosophy of two intellectual giants of history, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. More recently he gave a virtual lecture over Zoom entitled, "Socrates and His Daimonion: A Paragon of Rationality?"

We had a chance to chat with Dr. Brandt about his philosophy of education, the way he integrates faith into his academic discipline, and what he loves about being called by God to teach and mentor students at DBU.

What does a Christ-centered education mean to you?

Christ-centered education involves a recognition that all truth is God's truth. This means that all areas of study--economics, biology, philosophy, or any others--involve the pursuit of God and a better understanding of the world that he has created. In light of that, a Christ-centered education will help students to grow academically, emotionally, and spiritually--into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ.

How do you integrate faith into the study of philosophy?

I integrate faith into my classroom by displaying care and concern for my students, demonstrating the careful reading and study that is inspired by faith in God, and developing opportunities for students to relate philosophy and faith.

One of the practical ways I do this is by identifying a virtue associated with each course and then having students engage in practices that are designed to cultivate that virtue. For example, in Intro to Philosophy, we engage in the practice of fasting as a way to cultivate the virtue of temperance. Along the way, students keep a journal that helps them reflect on the practice and integrate their experiences with the information they are learning about temperance in the readings and class discussions.

What is your goal for your students and how are you mentoring them toward that?

I have three main goals for my students. First, I seek to cultivate relationships for my students--with one another, with myself, and ultimately with Christ. Second, my courses are designed to cultivate a philosophical attitude, which involves intellectual humility, openness to differing views, and an appreciation of life's important questions. Third, I seek to cultivate virtues like charity, justice, and honesty in my students.

I mentor students in the classroom by guiding them through classic texts from thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine that have been influential in shaping our culture today. I also mentor students outside the classroom by helping them gain clarity concerning the call that God has placed on their lives, and equipping and preparing them for life after DBU.

Why did you choose to serve at DBU? If you could tell a parent why DBU is worth their investment, what would you tell them?

I serve at DBU because I'm passionate about the value of Baptist Higher Education and the mission and vision of DBU. As an undergraduate at another Baptist University, I was taught, mentored, and challenged by professors that cared about me and helped me grow academically and spiritually. During that time, I began to feel a calling from God to become a professor so that I might pass this experience on to others. I believe that God has confirmed that calling by bringing me to DBU.

I would explain to parents that DBU is a place that will provide their son or daughter with more than just knowledge. Our students are given an excellent academic education, but they are also encouraged and challenged in ways that will deepen their faith and draw them closer to Christ. After leaving DBU, their son or daughter will be equipped for a successful career, but they will also have a clear sense of the way in which that career enables them to advance the Kingdom of God.

Dr. Jared Brandt graduated with his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Baylor University and before that attended Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, where he double-majored in Religion / Philosophy and Chemistry. Jared's wife, Courtney, works as a Nurse Practitioner and a clinical instructor at Baylor's School of Nursing. They have two children, Emma (2 1/2) and Henry (1), and are currently in the process of becoming licensed foster parents.

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.