A closer perspective on salvation themes in the short work of Flannery O'Connor as exemplified in her short story, "Good Country People," a compilation of the best practices of teaching creative writing in the online environment and Narrative Therapy: A Collaboration of Literature and Psychoanalytical Treatment—research into helping troubled people view and come to terms with their lives in the tradition of oral and written narrative storytelling.
It is the duty of educators to lead and inspire students through exploration of academia from consistent and relevant faith-based perspectives. Mere surface polishing will not answer in this age instant gratification. Thorough, meaningful belief practice and application inside and outside of our classrooms is a faculty member's first and most powerful strategy to prevent erosion of our Christian colleges and universities. We must be visible, accessible members of the academic community on our campuses as well as from a global perspective through concerted involvement in our campuses, our communities, and our scholarship endeavors.
The nature of formal academic writing requires a technical adherence to rules of grammar, syntax, and formatting. But even these seemingly dry, formulaic foci can be shared as tools for achieving excellence. It is through the written and spoken word that we develop and maintain ethos and students must understand that they have before them the power and the methodology with which they will establish credibility as Christian leaders. Through proposals, draft reviews, and similar interaction, I take a firm position in helping students develop their own styles, perspectives, and writing themes. This close interaction is essential to helping students recognize the import of the material before them and to understand their full potential. Further, compositional themes and discussion board topics offer ample opportunity to explore matters of faith, as do in-class projects where students argue for and defend ethical and moral positions from Christian perspectives.
Faith-based perspectives must permeate classrooms with consistency and relevancy as it is through such tenacity that we can nurture our Christian value systems and bring to a halt the erosion that has altered the religious inspiration of our American Colonial Colleges. All that we do—our service to university and to community, our personal pursuits of scholarship and academic awareness, and our teaching and advising—are parts of one enterprise that will succeed only through consistent integration of our pedagogical aspirations for excellence. Students are highly perceptive. They will recognize chinks in armor from both academic and faith-based perspectives. In short, we must be whole; we must be at least as dedicated to our own ethos as we are to that of our students'.
Born in Paragould, Arkansas, Mark's family moved to Northern Virginia during his early childhood and he grew up there, attending Oakton High School and graduating in 1982. He graduated with his Bachelor's degree from Old Dominion University in 1988 and, after serving in the United States Navy, worked for the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC for nearly a decade before returning to Old Dominion to complete his Master's degree in Education and his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Mark has been teaching and designing online courses at Regent since joining the university in 2006. His areas of specialty include writing creatively in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, and drama; the rhetoric of writing and compositional studies; and American literature. Mr. Gatlin, the author of short fiction, poetry, and drama, acts as faculty advisor for the Regent Undergraduate Newsletter and is an active participant at local, regional, and national conferences.
Mark lives in Virginia Beach with his family and attends Bethel Baptist Church, where he and his wife are active participants in various church programs and functions. He enjoys aerobic exercise and plays soccer and surfs regularly.