A Christ-centered institution.



Our Environmental Studies program is blessed with faculty and staff members who stand out not only in their knowledge, skills, and experience, but also in their core character traits. They’re people you’ll want to meet, will feel blessed to know, and be forever grateful to have learned from.


Get to know us

Dr. Brian Joyce
Natural Sciences Department Chair, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies

Dr. Brian Joyce earned his B.S. in Forest Science, his M.S. in Forest Resources, and his Ph.D. in Ecology from Penn State University. He also spent five years at Penn State as a research assistant and worked in the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry as a forester. After working as an instructor of forestry at Penn State for a year and a half, Dr. Joyce came to Montreat College in 1996 to teach environmental studies.

Dr. Joyce believes that educators “make the material applicable to students’ lives. Students will not only understand it, but retain it.” Because Montreat provides smaller class sizes, Dr. Joyce enjoys the opportunity it gives him to get to know his students. Outside of the classroom, he likes to hike, hunt, and fly fish. He also enjoys seeing the world through the lens of a camera. His interests lie in plant and water relations, ecophysiology, plant hydraulic architecture, forest ecology, and forest growth modeling.

Dr. Brad Daniel
Professor of Biology, Environmental Studies, and Outdoor Education, Outdoor Education Department Co-Chair

Dr. Brad Daniel has been on the faculty of Montreat College since 1984. He earned his B.S. from Appalachian State University in biology and experiential education, his M.A. in biology with an emphasis in ecology, and he also holds an M.S. in outdoor education from Northern Illinois University. Dr. David received his Ph.D. in environmental studies at Antioch University. While teaching at Montreat, Dr. Daniel also worked as an adjunct faculty at Antioch University from 1998–2005. His work experience also includes chairing the Christian Wilderness Leadership Coalition Board and cofounding Blue Ridge Backcountry, a Christian wilderness program.

On teaching, Dr. Daniel shares, “Teaching is the art and craft of engaging the heart and mind in order to encourage the full realization of God-given potential. It extends beyond the facts and figures. It is more than just mastery of content. It is the act of investing one’s life in students in order to encourage their mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.” 

As someone with a passion for teaching, Dr. Daniel has received multiple honors and awards, including the 2011 Professor of the Decade Award (2001–2010) at Montreat College; the 2008 Montreat College Dean’s Award; the 2003 David Park’s Distinguished Professor Award; the 1996, 1997, and 2006 Who’s Who Among America’s College Teachers; and the 1985, 1988, 1991, 1995 Teacher of the Year Award at Montreat College, which is given by both students and faculty. Dr. Daniel has also published numerous articles. His most recent publication is titled Nighttime Adventures: Exploring and Appreciating the Mysteries of the Night by Leading Walks After Dark, which was published in Green Teacher, Issue 93.

Mark Lassiter (2)Dr. Mark Lassiter
Co-chair of the Department of Natural Science, Professor of Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Studies, Coordinator of the Biology and Chemistry Program, Directs the Chemical Management of Morgan Hall Chemical Area, Coordinator of Montreat College Biology/Chemical Laboratories

Dr. Mark Lassiter earned his B.S. and M.S. in Biology at the College of William and Mary. He received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in insect physiology (biochemistry and toxicology). Dr. Lassiter taught organic chemistry and biology as faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University and came to Montreat College in 1992. Dr. Lassiter is interested in aiding each student’s Christian growth and is committed to presenting a strong academic challenge to professional development and career vocation through the Biology program. He has a passion for student distinction supported in self-discovery and accomplishment through student research in areas of the student’s interest. While his research is in Biochemistry and Mosquito Physiology, student research focuses on atmospheric and environmental chemistry, physiological and enzyme stress indicators, microbial detection, medical applications, development of biotechnical methods, analytical instrumentation applications, and the development of assays and analytical techniques.  

He was awarded the David Park’s Distinguished Professor Award twice and the Who’s Who Among America’s College Teachers. Interested in collaborative institutional advancement, Dr. Lassiter founded the Science Group in the Appalachian College Association [ACA] to foster collaboration among scientists in 37 colleges and universities, and founded the Christian Environmental Center at Montreat College to launch the web presence of emerging Christian Environmental Organizations.  He serves on the Academic Advisory Council of the Au Sable Institute, on the Executive Committee of the Division of Chemical Health and Safety, and a founding member of the Safety Committee, Division of Chemical Education, both in the American Chemical Society.  He is involved in the ACA, the Ecological Research as Educational Network, Appalachian Regional Microscopy Society and Fellow of the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists.

At Montreat, Mark married his wife and best friend, Jennifer. They enjoy hiking, birding, biking, and photographing God’s creation in the mountains or on the coast. They have five grown children.