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.

Dr. Jim Shores
Communication and the Arts Department Co-Chair, Associate Professor of Communication and Environmental Studies

Dr. Jim Shores arrived at Montreat College in 1997. He has a Ph.D. in communication studies from Regent University and an M.S. in environmental science from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is passionate about both fields of study. He teaches environmental communication for the master of arts in Environmental Education program. For Communications, he teaches media studies, communication and culture, film history and theory, screenwriting, and public relations. In Environmental Studies, he teaches conservation biology, freshwater ecosystems, american ecosystems, wetland and coastal ecosystems, ecology labs, and science seminar.

Dr. Shores and his wife, Carol, have spent the last 20 years running Acts of Renewal, a nationally touring Christian theatre company. They use theatre and film to explore issues of faith and the human experience, pointing to Christ for hope and healing. They have written and performed for FamilyLife Today, Focus on the Family, Youth for Christ, and for speakers like John Eldredge, Tony Campolo, Dennis Rainey, Gary Thomas, and more. They’ve also spoken multiple times at more than 70 of the CCCU college campuses in the past 20 years. Dr. Shores won best original screenplay for his comedy, Hunks, a story about body image and self-acceptance, at the Gideon Media Arts Conference in 2010.

When asked what it means to integrate faith and learning, Shores stated, “Helping students explore the integration of faith and learning is important to me. If we don’t like the culture we live in, then we must exercise technical excellence and good critical thinking, so that we can co-create culture with the rest of the world, contributing that which is hopeful and good to our chosen career field.”

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Dr. Mark Lassiter
Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies

Dr. Mark Lassiter has been on the faculty of Montreat College since 1992. He assisted in the development of the Environmental Studies major at Montreat, one of the most popular programs at the college. Dr. Lassiter earned his B.S. and M.S in biology at the College of William and Mary. He attained his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in insect physiology (biochemistry and toxicology). Dr. Lassiter has also been the organic chemistry and biology instructor at North Carolina State University and the head science instructor at Carlisle School. Part of Dr. Lassiter’s teaching philosophy is to “challenge and develop a student’s Christian faith and vocation.”

Dr. Lassiter is affiliated with the United States Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, has been awarded the David L. Parks Distinguished Professor Award, and is on the Academic Advisory Council of the Au Sable Institute. He says, “Montreat College, tucked in thousands of acres, at the foot of Mt. Mitchell, is in a fabulous, unique place, surrounded with God’s glorious gift of a tremendous environmental setting.” Dr. Lassiter enjoys exploring the Montreat mountain cove while hiking and birding. He also enjoys photography and music.