Dr. Jonathan S. Penland

The Toccoa Falls Waterfall
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Dr. Jonathan S. Penland
Professor of Cross-Cultural Studies penland@tfc.edu


  • Ph.D. – University of Georgia
  • Grad. Certificate – UGA Odum School of Ecology
  • Ph.D. – University of Georgia
  • Grad. Certificate – UGA College of Education
  • M.A.- Columbia International University
  • B.A. – Toccoa Falls College


  • 2014 – Participant at the CCCU’s Leadership Development Institute on June 913, 2014 at Cedar Springs Christian Retreat Center in Sumas, Washington.
  • 2013 – Wade Distinguished Scholar Faculty Award at Toccoa Falls College
  • 2012 – Faculty member of impact
  • 2010 – Faculty member of impact
  • 2007 – Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • 2006 – Faculty of the Year
  • 2005 – Wade Distinguished Scholar Faculty Award at Toccoa Falls College

What courses do you teach at TFC?

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Applied Ethnography (Social Research)
  • Exploring Religious Belief Systems
  • Planning & Administration of Adult Ed
  • Western Thought and Culture
  • Intro to Sustainable Community Development
Publications & Research Interests

Research Interests:

  • Intercultural Factors in Education
  • Intercultural Competency
  • Community Development
  • Environmental Education
  • Sustainability

Scholarly Work and Publications:

  • Publications
    • 2013 Dissertation for Ph.D. in Anthropology Expanding our Understanding of the Knowledge-action Process following Environmentally-based Study Abroad Programs. http://purl.galileo.usg.edu/uga_etd/penland_jonathan_s_201305_phd
  • Book Reviews: 
    • 2014 Missiology October 2014 Book reviewed: The World until Yesterday: What we can learn from Traditional Societies.
    • 2006 Missiology October 2006 Book reviewed: Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, and Nature.
    • 2005 Missiology January 2005 Book reviewed: Creole Religions of the Caribbean: An Introduction from Vodou and Santería to Obeah and Espiritismo.
    • Chapter in Book 2006 International Cross-cultural Internships. In H. Atkinson, Manual for Ministry Internships (pp.8389). Toccoa, GA: Crooked Creek Publishing.
    • Translation 2008 Welch, J. W. (Comp.). Proceedings of the First International Watershed Management Research Symposium (J. S. Penland & S. A. Flores, Trans.). University of Georgia—Costa Rica. San Luis, Monteverde.
  • Conference Presentations
    • 2014 – Presentation on the Implications of an Expanded Understanding of the Knowledge-action Process for Discipleship and Leadership Development among Diaspora Peoples at the Southeast Regional Gathering of the Evangelical Missiological Society at Columbia International University on March 29, 2014.
    • 2013 – Presentation on Expanding our Understanding of the Knowledge-action Process at the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia Conference at the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia. http://www.eealliance.org/annualconference
Professional Associations
  • Official Worker in South Atlantic District of C&MA
  • Evangelical Missiological Society
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • IDI Qualified Administrator
Hobbies & Fun Facts

When I’m away from the classroom, I enjoy:

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Horticulture
  • Movies

People might be interested to know:

  • I pastor Valley Community Church in a fantastic small community called Tate City at the edge of the Southern Nantahala Wilderness.
Favorite Verse/Quote

Jeremiah 42:10b

“I will build you up and not tear you down, I will plant you and not uproot you.”

Psalms 1:3

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not withe —whatever they do prospers.”


I deeply enjoy seeing students have transformative learning moments when a new insight opens brand new ways of seeing and understanding our world.