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June 7, 2023

NSA Professors Mentor Students For Life

At New Saint Andrews College, students are not a face in a sea of students. Professors at NSA know their students personally and build deep relationships with them. The community of the college is built on a mentorship model that shapes students not just intellectually but morally, biblically, and in the community. 

I sat down recently with a couple of NSA alumni, Toby Sumpter and Danny Bradley, and I asked them about their relationships with professors.

Toby, class of 2002, talked about how the professors at NSA treat their students during their time at the college. He said, “They respect their students and care for their students in a really unique way: inviting them into their homes for hospitality or recitations and genuinely care about students and their lives.”

“I have described the professors at New Saint Andrews College for years as the additional fathers in my life that God knew that I needed.”

Toby explained that his professors had a significant impact on him personally. He said, “I have described the professors at New Saint Andrews College for years as the additional fathers in my life that God knew that I needed.”

When I talked with Danny Bradley, class of 2020, he said, “My relationships with my professors were the most impactful for me.” 

Danny talked about how seeing the professors in various contexts was profound: both in the classroom and in the living room, sitting with them in a lecture and then going to their house and having a meal with their family. The professors live out what they teach in their lives and in their homes. Wisdom is not just about head knowledge but about living a good life. Danny said, “Being in community with them and being in the lecture hall, that was incredibly impactful.”

Ben Merkle, president of NSA, regularly hosts the Freshman class at his house for dinner. The Freshmen class is divided into three groups and each group is invited over to his house on a weekly rotation. This means that the Freshmen have time with Dr. Merkle directly and in his house. 

Dr. Merkle is not the only one who hosts students at his house. It is common for various professors to host students as well. And this is not just something that the Freshmen experience but something that students experience throughout their four years at NSA.

This happens because the professors are involved directly in their students’ lives.

Dr. Merkle explained that there is an intense mentoring program at the college which really becomes spiritual discipleship. He said this mentoring often leads to counseling students about various life questions. Some examples that he gave were dating or marriage advice. He said the students are comfortable asking advice, “because [the professors] are involved in their students’ lives.”

NSA Professors invest in their students in powerful ways both in the classroom and outside the classroom. The students who study at the college are real people with real interests, desires, and hopes. The faculty works to know the students personally so they can be a resource to the students not just for particular subjects but for life. The mission of the college is to graduate leaders who shape culture. The professors understand that mission is a huge calling that requires mentoring and discipleship so students are prepared to be the next generation of leaders.