Paul Spears Selected as Next Director of Torrey Honors Institute

Apr. 17, 2012 By Jenna Bartlo

With the strong consensus of faculty and staff and the support of Biola’s vice provost, provost, and president, Biola is pleased to announce Paul Spears as the next director of Torrey Honors Institute. Spears will step into this important role in June following the departure of founding director John Mark Reynolds, who has accepted the role of Provost at Houston Baptist University.

“The close interaction with students and the collaborative and collegial relationship with the faculty forms a community that is deeply dedicated to Christian scholarship and witness,” said Spears. “I am honored to have been asked to be the next director of Torrey. I am looking forward to continuing Torrey’s core mission and anticipating what new future undertakings God has in mind for the program.”
Spears, who currently serves as an associate professor in Torrey since 1998, has been part of the history of the Torrey Honors Institute.
“Dr. Spears knows the program and will carry forward the vision, mission, and values of Torrey Honoros Institute and Biola. Dr. Spears cares about the program, but even more importantly, he cares about the people: the faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” said Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Cassandra Van Zandt. “He has been a significant part of the leadership in Torrey and in this role has already demonstrated his capacity for caring servant leadership.”
Spears is an expert in the philosophy of education, with a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, a master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics, and a bachelor’s degree from Multnomah College. An accomplished speaker and writer, he is co-author of “Education for Human Flourishing: A Christian Perspective.” In 2009, he was honored by his peers with the Provost Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“In 1995 John Mark Reynolds founded the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. Since its inception the program has been dedicated to developing life long learners whose lives are marked by their engagement with the classics of Western thought and Christianity for the purpose of serving God’s kingdom. I know that I, too, as a faculty member have been marked by the program,” said Spears.
Reynolds remains director until he assumes his new position at HBU on June 25, 2012, at which time Spears' appointment will go into effect.
“I can leave with a happier heart, because I know things will only improve given the news that Paul Spears will take charge,” Reynolds said. “The news that Paul will be director of Torrey Honors Institute fills my heart with joy. For a decade and a half, Paul has been a director of Torrey and now he will be the director. Little vital will change, but much will be improved. Spears is, of course, a master tutor and a first-rate educator. More importantly, he has been involved in every important decision and crafted the very language of the Torrey founding document. He is full of ideas to improve Torrey and there is little doubt he will improve the operations and communications in the department.”
“Paul Spears got his job by being a servant and he is fit to lead for that reason,” Reynolds said. “He understands education, as his book on the subject proves, but he understands people, as his mentoring of scores of people demonstrates. My own family has benefited time and again from his help, wisdom, and sagacity. He is a gentleman and scholar, a rare enough combination. As a perpetual member of Torrey myself, I am delighted Paul Spears will lead us. I look forward to seeing what he will do. The future is bright!”
Read Spears’ full profile and an excerpt from “Education for Human Flourishing.”

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