Melissa Schubert, the new dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, is a familiar face at Biola. She has served at Biola for more than 15 years and was formerly the associate director of the Torrey Honors Institute. She is a Biola alumna, received her Master of Humanities from the University of Dallas and has a doctorate in English from Claremont Graduate University. Most of her work has been in 16thand 17th century English literature, with a focus on the intersections between the theological contours of the English Reformation and Renaissance literature.
Schubert started her new role on Aug. 1, and is now leading the charge for a school encompassing bachelor’s programs in English, history, modern languages, philosophy, political science, sociology and the Torrey Honors Institute. Here are seven things to know about Schubert.
1. She received her B.A. in humanities from Biola as part of the Torrey Honors Institute’s first graduating class.
“As an undergrad, I found that the humanities healed a real fracture in me,” Schubert said. “I was a zealous Christian and a serious student, but those two aspects of my life were disjointed. My experience of a biblically centered humanities education brought them together for me. The mission of God and a rich vision of human realities are deeply connected.”
2. In her new administrative role, she’ll miss walking with students through transformative learning experiences, but she’s excited to cast a vision for her school.
“A vital vision of human things flowing from a deep commitment to the things of God is the work of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences,” Schubert said. “I believe it’s at the heart of Biola’s many endeavors, and I’m excited to contribute to its health and future here.”
3. She believes the study and training in the humanities is important for the good of humanity.
“The skills and habits cultivated in the humanities aim to enrich imagination, rationality, language, reflection and wisdom and virtue,” Schubert said. “The care we take in cultivating the directions of our thoughts and our speech contribute to the good of our families, neighborhoods, churches and states.”
4. What’s on her nightstand: Joy: 100 Poems, edited by Christian Wiman.
“On the recommendation of a colleague, I picked up a curated book of poems,” Schubert said. “I’ve only begun it, but I already know it’ll change me.”
5. She loves to hike and be outdoors.
Her top three hiking spots: Crystal Cove backcountry trails, anywhere in the Pacific Northwest and the French Alps.
6. When Biola Magazine profiled Schubert in 2014, we learned she was a beekeeper, a cyclist and a gardener.
She still is — despite some hiccups. “I failed at beekeeping,” Schubert said. “My colony swarmed. I hope to start again in 2019.” Still an active cyclist, Schubert accomplished her first century ride (100 miles) last year. As a gardener, she was victorious in growing hollyhocks from seed, but her goals change from year to year. Right now, her plan is to create a fall/winter vegetable garden.
7. She believes Christian students can deepen their faith by giving careful attention to the objects of study in the humanities and social sciences.
“Learning the realities of human experience as examined in our school gives specificity and dimension to the claims of our faith,” Schubert said. “The human realities we attend to in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences are realities made and marred, pioneered and stewarded, by creatures who bear the image of God, who have fallen wildly short of his glory, but whose fullness is expressed in Jesus Christ, now exalted at the right hand of the Father, whose eternal kingdom will have no end and is itself the end of all our terrestrial labors.”