Albert Bisson (Faculty)
As an instructor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Albert Bisson cares deeply about the well-being of the university’s greatest asset—its students.
“When you come to MSU, you are coming to a place where people are valued. It’s a very engaging environment where people will treat you as a person and want to see you grow as a person,” said Bisson, who is in his 15th year of teaching at MSU and 10th year as undergraduate religion program coordinator. “We have students from a range of subject disciplines with a fascinating interest in religion. One of the thrills of teaching is encouraging them to live more fully and give themselves more effectively to others.”
Nearly 23 years ago, Liverpool, England native Bisson took his first-ever plane ride to America to attend Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson. He and wife Jenny originally planned to return home at the conclusion of his graduate studies, but they ultimately decided Mississippi was the perfect home for their family.
“Our eldest daughter Becca, who is a student here, and our youngest Sarah Grace, were both born in Mississippi. Our son Daniel is an MSU graduate married to a Mississippi girl,” Bisson said, adding with a smile, “It’s pleasant to have sunshine and warm weather consistently, too.”
A Shackouls Honors College Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award recipient, Bisson said one of his greatest joys as a teacher is inspiring students to have open-minded discussions about and with people from different cultures. Guiding students in logical articulation of their thoughts is an important part of his teaching philosophy.
“I want to show students how the knowledge I am teaching them can be of personal and societal relevance,” he said. “As people, we are not perfect. We have to learn to live with a degree of uncertainty about things we can’t always grasp or that can’t always be explained. Religion can help us clarify and define things we see and deal with qualitative issues in our lives.”
Listening to others and what lies behind their words is a challenging yet rewarding aspect of education and life, Bisson said.
“Having good, healthy relationships with others is how we as people perceive life as meaningful. I teach students that you can and ought to hold tight to your convictions, but you need to do so humbly and respectfully. In their best application, philosophy and religion should be used for good and to incite passion and love, not hatred. When we can engage in discussion, we get to explore people as people and understand more about ourselves, too.”