Evangel Profile

Dr. Michael Tenneson: Biology professor with a passion for faith and science

October 14, 2014

Professor of biology Dr. Michael Tenneson has a passion for teaching and mentoring students who aspire to the enter the field of science.

He was raised in Napa, California, and recognized early on that he had a special appreciation for the animals he cared for on his family’s small farm.

He holds post-graduate degrees in both Missiology/Biblical Literature and Biology/Statistics and recognizes the importance of Christians investigating how the Bible and science can be integrated.

He has served as a professor at Evangel since 1987, and cherishes the opportunity to invest in students’ lives.

What originally sparked your interest in biology?

I grew up in the country on a small farm and was fascinated with animals (especially wild ones) from the beginning. I was intrigued by how they survived, reproduced, and was thrilled by their feel in my hands. I did well in math and science, and started college planning to be a dentist. During my last two years of college, I realized that dentistry wasn’t a good fit for me, and I thrived in the field ecology. Weekend and overnight trips to the desert and coastline were some of the highlights of my college years.

What brought you to Evangel to teach?

A pastor we served in Western Samoa suggested we prepare for missions by attending Central Bible College or Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. I ended up at AGTS as a student, and at EU as an adjunct professor and education student. After five years or so, the Lord made it clear that our calling was to train young people in faith and science at EU!

What is your favorite part about working in the Sci-Tech Department?

I love the casual student-centered culture with an emphasis on excellence. I also appreciate the students’ commitment to make their lives count for the kingdom of God. It is invigorating to see how God has gifted and equipped them for their calling.

What advice do you have for prospective Evangel students?

The most important thing to determine is what broad path God leading you into. Once you are in college, you should continue to seek God’s leading through His word, through Christian mentors that have more experience than you and have served the Lord for a long time, and through a solid understanding of your giftings, strengths and talents.

What do you think sets the Sci-Tech Department at Evangel apart from science departments at other universities?

We excel at pre-grad school or pre-career training in the sciences, but especially we excel at teaching and modeling the integration of faith and learning. We do not dodge the hard questions, but provide our students with tools to examine and solve the thorny issues related to faith and science.

What exciting opportunities are there for students in the Sci-Tech Department?

Perhaps the most impressive are opportunities to know the faculty at a personal level as we work alongside each other to fulfill God’s calling for us. Our medical and agricultural relief trips, along with science research projects are very popular.