Professors Are People Too Dr. Joshua McMullen

Dr. Joshua McMullen has been a professor at Regent University since 2010. He serves as the director of the Honors Program and as the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. He earned his master’s degrees in theology and church history before furthering his education with a master’s and a doctorate in history from the University of Missouri – Columbia. McMullen now leads at Regent and contributes as a historian to a number of publications, magazines and journal articles.  

What inspired you to become a professor?

“I had a professor mentor a group of my friends and me in college. He had such a powerful impact on my life that I thought, ‘Wow, to do that for a living would be the best possible job I could ever imagine!’ And it has been. He recently retired a couple of years ago from Taylor University, where I was an undergrad. But, every Tuesday night, we would go to his home, and we would have coffee and sit around his living room for like an hour and a half and just talk about life.”  

Did you have a childhood dream job? 

“I never really stuck to one. I was interested in the military but then left that interest and was interested in politics and then law, but it was always all over the place. Then I became more serious about my faith when I was 15, and I would say that for the remainder of my time in high school, I thought most about full-time ministry.”   

We have heard around campus that you are working on a new publication. Would you like to share about it? 

“I have completed a manuscript on a Jesuit priest who was an explorer in Alaska. It seems random, to a certain extent. However, when you’re looking for a new research project, it’s not always easy because you are finding something that you’re going to be connected to for years and years, so you need to find something that will hold your interest. I stumbled upon him in a magazine, and I thought, ‘this guy sounds really interesting,’ and pursued it from there.” 

Speaking of exploration, have you been on an adventure or done any daredevil things that stick out in your memory? 

“I tried to swim the Colorado River once. I had just graduated from college and apparently thought I was invincible. My friends and I, there were four of us, all got stuck on the other side of the river and had to be rescued by the National Park Rangers. The adventure came about when we were hiking in the Grand Canyon and thought we could swim the Colorado River at the bottom because we were twenty-two and could do anything. We made it across the river, but it was so harrowing that we thought there was no way to swim back, so we were stuck. I will sheepishly admit there is a big sign that says, ‘Do Not Swim.’ So, not only did we swim the river, but we broke the law by doing it.”

Is there something that the Lord has been teaching you lately? 

“I’m learning to be more specific and bolder in my prayers. That’s been a challenge for me in my prayer life. I tend to focus on vague things and spiritual formation. However, I feel like I’m growing in this area of bolder and more specific prayers. I’ve been learning from people who have influenced me here at Regent, some books I’ve been reading on prayer, and frankly, by reading the Gospels and seeing how people interact with Jesus. Not selfish prayers but bolder and more specific. I’m still in the midst of this lesson now.” 

What is your number one piece of advice for Regent students?

“This is going to sound mean; it is not mean because it’s something I remind myself of all the time: I’m not the exception to the rule. What I mean by that—to connect to something I’ve already said—it’s dangerous to swim the Colorado River, and I’m not the exception to that rule. Spiritual growth comes from consistent prayer and reading of the Scripture; I’m not an exception to that rule. A healthy marriage takes hard work and dedication, and I’m not an exception to that rule. 

What has served me well in life is to think that I’m not the exception to the rule, and that’s not meant to discourage me; it’s meant to encourage me. It is to say, all right, I’m going to roll up my sleeves and do this, knowing that often the payoff isn’t for months or even years. It can come off as kind of mean, right? You’re not the exception to the rule, but it has been a very helpful thing for me to remind myself.” . 

What is your favorite Regent Memory? 

“Just meeting with individual students and colleagues over a cup of coffee. That’s been a real joy. A week doesn’t go by that I don’t have a cup of coffee with someone. Those moments are really sweet.” 

We are so grateful to have Dr. McMullen actively involved on campus. He shows servant leadership through his love for the students, his passion for education and his genuine interest in the growth and furtherment of Regent University. 


Emily Coston

Emily Coston is a staff writer for The Daily Runner.