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Engineered to Teach: Dr. Joel Porcher

Joel Porcher
Dr. Joel Porcher

“The calling was clear, the mission is ministry, and the results are rewarding.” During an employee meeting at Pensacola Christian College, Dr. Joel Porcher shared this thought, which remains true for him and his wife today.

Through a friend, the couple from Travelers Rest, South Carolina, learned that PCC was looking for an engineering faculty member. They decided to pursue the opportunity since Dr. Porcher and his wife had felt the call to serve in a Christian ministry. Having completed a Ph.D. in engineering at Clemson University and an M.Div. in seminary, Dr. Porcher enjoyed working in the engineering field as a registered professional engineer. But he realized how much he enjoyed training students while teaching sophomore mechanics courses at Clemson as a graduate assistant.

“We saw the Lord’s leading during the interview process, and we have since enjoyed working with the college students and other outreach areas of PCC,” said Dr. Porcher. “The College has a ‘team partner’ approach to help new families adjust,” he said. During those first few months, as the Porchers grew accustomed to their new routines, colleagues befriended them, supporting and advising them on life in Pensacola.

When he began teaching in the fall of 1991, Dr. Joel Porcher taught mechanical engineering courses. Each day he was prepared to meet with students in lecture, lab, or office settings, willing to assist his students with whatever they needed.

Dr. Joel Porcher teaching a class.

“At PCC, I serve alongside believers who love the Lord and are dedicated to pleasing Him. Our students are motivated to prepare for the calling that God has given them, and it is a joy to have a part in that training,” Dr. Porcher said. “I love teaching at the college level.”

Besides teaching on engineering faculty, Dr. Porcher has filled many roles over the years, including dean of basic sciences and engineering, dean of Pensacola Theological Seminary, chair of the Engineering Department, and assistant chair of Engineering and Computer Science. During past summers, he worked for Abeka, HVAC Engineering, and Youth Outreach Ministry’s Engineering and Science Camp.

“We have seen college students grow, in those early years, and up to this day, and we have enjoyed hearing about the Lord’s work in the lives of alumni who have kept in touch,” Dr. Porcher said.

Some years ago, Dr. Porcher received a telephone call from a pastor who had taken one of his Bible courses. “He wanted to discuss one of the projects which dealt with the miracles of Christ recorded in the four gospels,” Dr. Porcher explained. “He said that he was applying that project by preaching a series of messages in his church. There is no greater satisfaction to an instructor than to hear how his students are making practical applications of what they learned in a class!”

Dr. Joel Porcher teaching at chalkboard.

One of his senior mechanical engineering students, James, shared: “As a teacher, Dr. Porcher expects much from his students; however, he expects even more from himself. Dr. Porcher is very straightforward. I generally know what to expect from him in the classroom—tons of work and tons of learning. He’s always available to help outside the classroom; however, he expected you to put in the work beforehand to at least know what was going on.”

Dr. Porcher and his wife enjoy the work environment that PCC provides—daily interaction with colleagues who are also serving the Lord and opportunities to fellowship during meals on campus and services at Campus Church.

When he isn’t in his office planning for lectures or helping his students, Dr. Joel Porcher enjoys getting outdoors on the local Pensacola waterways to canoe with his wife or go tubing when his grandchildren are in town. His ministry at Pensacola Christian College continues to reward him and his family.

Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.