Emmaus Experience Staff: How long have you worked at Emmaus and in what capacities?
Dr. Lisa Beatty: This is year 29 for me (and I’m in my 5th office on campus!). I started as the part time choir director and voice teacher in 1992. By 1994 I was the full-time music department chair. In 2001 I started meeting with the leadership team as a faculty representative, then associate dean. In 2003 I was appointed interim dean, and I’ve been serving in academic administration ever since. My current role is vice president/dean for academic affairs.
EE: Tell us a little about your education: where did you study? Who was your favorite professor? What was your favorite subject?
LB: I don’t think I took the normal path to the deanship, but someone once told me that no one grows up wanting to be dean! Even though my grandfather wanted me to attend Emmaus in Oak Park, I attended Clarke College (now University) for a B.A. in Music Education. While teaching at Emmaus, I completed an M.A. in Vocal Performance and a PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Iowa. Recently I’ve started taking graduate courses in Bible at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
One of my favorite doctoral professors, Al Henkin, taught leadership studies at the University of Iowa. He was the kind of professor who constantly challenged my assumptions, never letting me give the easy answer. Sometimes in the moment, I was frustrated, but I learned SO MUCH from him. My favorite subject was interpretation of German art song during my master’s program. I am definitely a vocal music nerd.
EE: What is your favorite class to teach at Emmaus? Why?
LB: I loved directing the Ensemble when I was full-time in the music department because of the music-making and the students! I loved spring break tours with them. Nine days on a bus with 30 students is so much fun, I can’t believe they paid me to do it.
My favorite class to teach is Music in the Church. For many students, they are thinking through the issues involved for the first time. Instead of making musical choices based on preference, we explore biblical foundations for the use of music in the church. I enjoy watching students grapple with the application of these principles in the present day.
EE: Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Favorite passage? Favorite verse?
LB: I have some favorite books — I love Philippians and the Book of Psalms (a musician should, right?). A favorite passage? Romans 8. Too many favorite verses to name, but the one my grandfather wrote in my Bible when I was ten was Proverbs 3:5-6, so it’s near the top of my list.
EE: What books are you currently reading or have read recently just for fun? What are your favorite movies or television shows?
LB: I’m a pretty active reader, and I read lots of non-fiction. I recently read Joshua Jipp’s commentary on Acts for my TEDS [Trinity Evangelical Divinity School] class, which was great. At the end of the summer, I read Whistling Vivaldi, a fascinating look at how stereotypes affect us. My next read is Transcending Racial Barriers: Toward a Mutual Obligations Approach by Emerson. My fiction tastes run to period pieces related to British history.
EE: What do you see as the strengths of an Emmaus Bible College education?
LB: How much time have I got…? We have assembled an amazing faculty who invest their education, training, and personal time in their students. Our educational model is discipleship, educating and equipping students for gospel-impact in the world. And most importantly, students at Emmaus aren’t simply studying in a Christian environment; they are studying the Word of God. They have a living textbook and a supernatural teacher. I love to watch the life change that takes place in four years!
EE: What biblical scholar, pastor, or theologian do you enjoy reading most?
LB: Goodness, this is a trick question! Dave MacLeod, Mark Stevenson, Raju Kunjummen, and Dave Glock are some of my favorites. Outside of my colleague circle, I enjoy reading Jen Wilken, Don Carson, and F.F. Bruce. How is that for eclectic tastes?
EE: How did you come to faith in Christ?
LB: My sister came home from Lake Geneva youth camp a believer. She told me the Good News of Jesus Christ, but she said I was too little to be saved. If you know me, you know that response just piqued my interest! I listened and learned as much as I could about the faith, and at age 7, I told that story to the speaker at my very first night at AWANA, and he assured me I was old enough. That night I gave my life to Christ.
EE: What were the circumstances the Lord used to bring you to Emmaus Bible College?
LB: I’ve known about Emmaus my whole life, so I was surprised when I heard the college was moving to my hometown. I applied for a job when I graduated from Clarke in 1984, but I didn’t even get an interview (that was humbling). I interviewed again in 1991, but the position wasn’t a great fit. In 1992, the time and the position were right, so I joined the faculty as a part-time faculty member in the music department. I am so thankful for almost three decades in this amazing community. What a blessing from the Lord!
EE: What do you like to do with your time when you’re not preparing for classes or studying? What hobbies do you have?
LB: What’s a hobby? Just kidding. I love to decorate my home, bake when I have time, and take road trips. Is shopping a hobby…? I love finding bargains!
EE: If you could spend ten minutes with any biblical character (other than Jesus) who would it be and why?
LB: I’m interested in the women of the New Testament — Lydia or Priscilla. I’d love to hear about the opportunities they had to serve in ministry (and their impressions of Paul).
EE: Any other interesting things about yourself that you think our readers would like to know?
LB: Prior to my years at Emmaus, I did a lot of acting in musical theatre. Some of my favorite roles were Maria in Sound of Music, Hodel and Tzeitel in two different productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Anna Held in Tintypes, and Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense. I still own tap shoes.