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Faculty Spotlight: Meet Preston Long

Preston Long has a passion for teaching and a thirst for knowledge. He takes life as it comes, one lesson at a time.

Preston’s maternal grandmother was a college educated teacher and he loved listening to her tell him fascinating things. She literally taught in the proverbial one-room little red schoolhouse.

Preston took those lessons and developed a passion for curiosity; for finding the why in everything he did. During his formative years, he developed an intense interest in biology.  Preston grew up in Northern Wisconsin where the fall foliage was mesmerizing. As a child, he was curious about the nature around him and wondered about things such as why leaves changed colors in the trees surrounding his home. He was surrounded by people who hunted, fished and trapped and was constantly amazed by the anatomy of fish, deer, and other wildlife as he watched the animals get field dressed.

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When his family moved to Phoenix, he discovered an entirely new environment to explore while he finished high school. His time spent in the biology and chemistry labs were a perfect marriage of curiosity and opportunity. Dissecting everything from fetal pigs to cadavers was the most stimulating educational experience he had ever had in his life. It was during these dissections when Preston finally got to experience the inner workings of nature and science. Learning had become so much more through hands-on discovery.

Now, as a teacher, Preston has two main objectives: to get students to think about science, discovery and critical thinking as a process for continuous learning; and to encourage students to question and be curious about everything. He makes an effort to be not only a mentor, as he has done in two Master’s programs, but also as a teacher encouraging lifelong learning.

Preston respects and appreciates the time he has with students and aims to take full advantage of it. He continually involves students by using a variety of methods in all of the classes he teaches. He achieves this objective through individualized learning. After years of interaction with students, one thing has become very clear to him: no two students learn alike.

While in the classroom, Preston encourages students to feel free to ask questions, make mistakes, and challenge themselves.  He believes each student in a class knows something the rest do not and it’s his goal to bring that out in each student.

His philosophy? Break down the barriers to learning and students thrive. Teaching is an art and, to be a creative teacher, utilizing various active learning methods is a must. Getting students involved requires a teacher to be inventive and creative.

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One of Preston’s primary goals is to have his students leave the classroom with the skill of critical thinking; a necessary skill for any student looking to have a successful career and be a productive citizen.

The classroom is a dynamic arena, where each teacher can create wonder and awe. It’s the place where Preston started as a student, became a teacher, a mentor, and a researcher, but only because he found something intellectually stimulating in science and education. Now, all these years later, that is what he aims to create for his students at Bryan University.

It all starts with a thirst for knowledge and curiosity. One lesson at a time.

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