Bluffton staff member finds academic growth and community in the classroom
Mark Bias has worked at Bluffton for 11 years and can typically be found in the Bluffton University Event Complex cleaning or managing student workers. But this semester, Bias can also be found among students in the classroom, taking up pencil and paper instead of cleaning supplies for a new, enriching learning experience.
“I became one of the leaders of my church and, for me comfortably, I wanted more biblical readings to be able to understand the Bible a lot better,” said Bias.
In search for more knowledge, Bias began auditing religion classes. He is currently finishing Introduction to Biblical Worldview with Jackie Wyse-Rhodes, assistant professor of religion, and is looking forward to taking Introduction to the Old Testament in the spring.
“I needed this education,” said Bias. “I’m learning about the history of the Bible, learning about where the Bible came from. I just wish I would have done this a long time ago.”
With prayer and support from his supervisor, Dr. Mark Bourassa, Bias was able to create a schedule that allowed him to study while still maintaining his work hours. “It really worked out. I’ve never had any issues with my supervisor; he’s been awesome.”
Bias’ step-daughters Kecia Grouver ’11 and Kyra Grouver ’14 and his wife, Mary Bias ’15, have all graduated from Bluffton and have been support systems through his experience. “Yes, it’s tedious at times,” he added. “But my wife and youngest daughter have already had the class, so they’ve been able to help.”
Although Bias says he can see age barriers in the classroom, he doesn’t let it get in the way of his own learning experience or that of the other students. Instead, he sees the interaction as an opportunity.
“I’ve learned to stay young being with younger students and dealing with their issues and problems,” he said. “I’m learning from them just as much as they’re learning from me.”
Bias can already see an improvement in his knowledge of the Bible and has been able to apply it through his church ministries. He excited to return to the classroom next semester. “The experience is great, and I’ve found out that I’m like a sponge because I’m taking everything in.”
Thankful for his 11 years at Bluffton, Bias is hopeful for many more that continue to provide learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom. “I like the growth you can achieve here, and I like the camaraderie,” said Bias.
Cara Echols ’19, Student News Writer
“I needed this education. I’m learning about the history of the Bible, learning about where the Bible came from. I just wish I would have done this a long time ago.”