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Love of Art, Passion for Education Mark Distinguished Lecturer’s Career

It's not uncommon to find Dr. Christopher Weeks, 2021-22 Distinguished Lecturer for the College of Arts and Sciences, mentoring students over a cup of coffee.
It's not uncommon to find Dr. Christopher Weeks, 2021-22 Distinguished Lecturer for the College of Arts and Sciences, mentoring students over a cup of coffee.

Christopher Weeks doesn’t view students as mere receptacles for knowledge. While instilling the verities of his discipline, the associate professor of biology at Mississippi College regards his scholars as individuals, each of whom is following a path shaped by

“Teaching is helping lead students in the direction the Lord would have them go, to help shepherd students into becoming the persons they really are,” Weeks said. “I would hope to see the Lord bring about a maximal flourishing of the students.

“The goal is to see them blessed and propelled out into the world.”

It is a faith-filled approach to instruction that has led College of Arts and Sciences faculty at MC to select Weeks to present the 2021-22 Distinguished Lecture for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Bestowed annually since 1988, the lectureship recognizes an outstanding faculty member who demonstrates effective teaching, service to the institution, and scholarship in his or her chosen field. A date for Weeks’ lecture has yet to be determined, but is expected to take place in the spring.

After receiving his B.S. in biological medical sciences from Mississippi College in 2006, Weeks earned his M.D. at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2011. He initially joined the MC faculty in 2012 and taught human biology; after a two-year stint at Jackson Preparatory School, in 2015 he rejoined the university, where he was tenured
and promoted to associate professor in 2020.

The Clinton resident is no stranger to giving honored lectures at Mississippi College: In 2015, he was selected to participate in the MC Mortar Board Chapter’s Last Lecture Series. The 2019 Student Government Association Outstanding Faculty of the Year, Weeks is a member of the Faculty Senate, the Student Intervention Team and the Quality Enhancement Plan Development Committee. A new faculty mentor, he is a college pastor and an elder at Grace City Church in Jackson.

Weeks’ presentation will follow that of Dr. Laurie Lawson, chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Work, who was selected to present the 2020-21 Distinguished Lecture for the College of Arts and Sciences. The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted plans for Lawson to give her lecture at MC last spring, so instead, she will deliver her presentation at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30 in Williams Recital Hall in the Aven Fine Arts Building.

The appreciation for art Weeks said he brought to Mississippi College as an undergraduate student was nurtured by Dr. Stephanie Busbea, professor of art, who became one of his cherished instructors. Now his colleague on the MC faculty, Busbea recalled his enthusiastic pursuit of ceramics and sculpture classes as a young learner.

“He is an incredible person,” Busbea said. “I love it when a student will have a spark and will build on an interest that they have. He was genuinely interested in art – not to just get a good grade, but he asked better questions and continued the conversation after class was over.

“I kept up with him through the years, and he turned into a great friend. I’ve always been very proud of Christopher. I feel like he really does what God has called him to do. He’s an exceptional person, and we are very blessed to have him at Mississippi College.”

Dr. Stephanie Carmicle, associate professor of biological sciences, said Weeks’ empathy for students is evident in his daily interactions with them.

“Dr. Weeks cares deeply about the development of our students, both academically and spiritually,” she said. “It is not uncommon to find him mentoring students over a cup of coffee at Cups.

“Dr. Weeks is thoughtful in his approach, ministering to and teaching the whole student.”

Weeks said being selected to present the Distinguished Lecture at his alma mater is particularly gratifying.

“One of the joys of working here is I did go to school here and love being a part of this institution,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor helping to cultivate a culture where one day future students may come back and teach here.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as someone who is giving back to the university and also investing in who these students may become in the future.”

Weeks said the award is especially meaningful considering the reputation of those who have previously been selected to present the Distinguished Lecture for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“In some ways, it’s hard to wrap my head around it,” he said. “It was not expected. Being grouped with the likes of those who have presented this Distinguished Lecture is a huge honor, but also, in some ways, validating in the sense of being recognized by your peers and administrators as somehow doing work that is valuable to our students.”

Although he hasn’t yet decided on a title for his presentation, Weeks has a pretty good grasp of its content.

“It will probably have something to do with the mind and the brain and the idea of stories,” he said.