Dr. Joy Qualls: Assistant professor of communication
February 1, 2012
Dr. Joy Qualls has a passion for books, politics and debate, but what really drives her career is her love of people. Dr. Qualls first came to Evangel as an adjunct in 2006, dividing her time between teaching at Evangel and Central Bible College and working for Drury University’s Enrollment Marketing program. She is now a full-time member of Evangel’s faculty, teaching courses in both the Communication and Humanities Departments.
Originally from Crosby, North Dakota, Dr. Qualls graduated from Southern California College, now known as Vanguard University. She earned her master’s and Ph.D. from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. While attending graduate school, she taught part time at Regent and Liberty Universities.
Dr. Qualls spent a few years in Washington, D.C., working for Sen. Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota. She served in the office as a special assistant for communication and also helped during campaigns.
Whether in Washington, D.C., or Springfield, Missouri, interaction with people is something that Dr. Qualls has always loved. “At the heart of it all,” says Dr. Qualls, “I love people, and my greatest interest is in getting to know people and to be challenged by them. I would rather spend an evening sitting around a table with others enjoying long conversation than just about any activity.”
The people most important in Dr. Qualls’ life are her family. She is married to Kevin Qualls, who teaches part-time in Evangel’s Behavioral Sciences Department, and they have two children. Regarding her children, Dr. Qualls says, “I have accomplished a lot in my life and have finite trophies and awards, but these two little gifts are reminders that God is more interested in what is eternal.”
What sparked your interest in public speaking and communication?
Public speaking is a gift that God gave me from a young age and granted me a real love for sharing in this way. I was encouraged to enter a speech contest in elementary school for the local chapter of the American Legion, and I found that I was really good at it. I started to earn scholarship money through the various oratorical contests and later through speech in my high school. That helped push me to do more. I am also really competitive, so I loved to win. I joined the debate team in college and developed my skills in a different way. All along the way I had mentors and teachers who encouraged me to hone my craft and to consider the art of public speaking a gift from the Lord to be cultivated. He put a passion in my heart for communication, and it has just grown from there. I love to share how to speak in public and teach the craft, but my greatest passion is still engaging in the art form itself.
What brought you to Evangel to teach?
We moved to Springfield in 2006 for my husband to attend AGTS. I am a Vanguard alum (actually the last class of Southern California College), and my family has a long history at Evangel, as does my husband’s. The liberal arts environment is very important to me, so when I was looking for a place where I could be planted, Evangel was a natural choice.
Communication is by nature an interdisciplinary art. I love that I get to be a part of two areas at the university. I am able to focus my skills to majors but also engage more students from all callings in a love of communication study because of the nature of my work. This is not at all how I envisioned my teaching career, but I love it. I reach so many more people this way and get to know so many more students. I also get to learn from my colleagues in the two departments and incorporate a variety of areas of study into my classes because I have so much more to draw on as a result of the diversity.
What is the best part about working with Evangel students?
Students are the only reason I teach. I was so blessed with professors in my life who spoke into me and breathed dreams into my life before I knew they were present. I want to share that with my students. I love the college years, and students are so full of potential and life. If I could have been a student for life, I would have; and this way I get to be. I learn as much from students as I hope they learn from me. I find Evangel students to be hungry to learn and so passionate about their calling. I just want to soak that in as well.
What advice do you have for prospective Evangel students?
Come ready for this experience to change your life. I am a planner. I want a roadmap. The time of preparation in college is one that cannot be fully planned or prepared for and known ahead of time. The work of a college student is hard. You will be challenged. You will be stretched. You may even be broken.
Yet it is in this season of learning and preparation where you will be molded into whatever it is that God has called you to be. There is no better place to walk this journey and to take on this challenge than a university like Evangel. If you want to just check boxes and “get on with your life,” this may not be the place for you. But if you are ready to put all of yourself into the preparation season of your life, then Evangel is the best place you can be. Come ready to work, but come ready to receive.