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Vanderbilt divinity student to help teach classes at APSU

Jeff Stark, assistant pastor at the First Church of the Nazarene, is pursing a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University, but he will be spending much of the next year at Austin Peay State University.

During the fall and spring semesters, Stark will discover what it is like to teach religion at the college level while working as a graduate assistant for APSU professor of philosophy Dr. Bert Randall.
Jeff Stark, assistant pastor at the First Church of the Nazarene, is pursing a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University, but he will be spending much of the next year at Austin Peay State University.

During the fall and spring semesters, Stark will discover what it is like to teach religion at the college level while working as a graduate assistant for APSU professor of philosophy Dr. Bert Randall.

He is coming to campus as part of Vanderbilt Divinity School's extensive Field Education Program, which involves students in out-of-the-classroom experiences. Usually, students planning to teach at universities are sent to local religious colleges, such as Belmont, Lipscomb or Trevecca. This is the first time Vanderbilt Divinity School has placed a student in a state University.

“It is a unique and exciting opportunity for APSU,” Randall said.

Stark, who made Clarksville his home after a back injury ended his military career, decided he wanted to work with Randall at APSU. He brings the knowledge he has learned from one of the top divinity schools in the nation and will share it with students at Austin Peay.

Stark is the first graduate assistant Randall has had in 37 years of teaching. He will assist Randall in teaching a philosophy course on Religion and the World and a graduate- and undergraduate-level class, Islam as a World View.

“He is bright, energetic and keeps me on my toes,” Randall said of his new GA. “During the next two semesters, I will likely learn much more from him than he will from me.” -- Charles Booth