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Department of Natural Sciences
The Department of Natural Sciences includes the Biological, Ecological, and Animal sciences. Each of these disciplines is continually growing as finer instrumentation shows us more about ourselves and the world in which we live. The scientific study of the organisms that God created, including plants, animals, and humans and the interrelationships among these provide abundant opportunities for education and research.
Our goal is to teach these disciplines of science in such a way that students will learn that science is not merely a collection of facts to be memorized, but rather that they would learn science as a process by which we understand the world around us. In this way, we strive to equip students to be successful in their chosen field by fostering in them the skills of careful observation and critical thinking.
The Department of Natural Sciences at Lubbock Christian University aims to advance undergraduate student understanding and appreciation of living organisms and their environments in the fields of biological, ecological, and animal sciences. We strongly believe in preparing our students for lives of purpose, which aligns with the University’s commitment to transformation. Students are developed through a high-quality undergraduate curriculum by faculty who are followers of Christ. We strive to mature students in these fields by 1) teaching truthfully about the value and diversity of living organisms and their environments, 2) providing undergraduate research opportunities that have meaningful implications to society, 3) training students academically and professionally for acceptance into graduate schools and health care professions, and 4) graduating students with abilities to communicate science effectively in society. We value curiosity and the exploration of evidence. Our departmental community of faculty and staff actively engage in mentoring. We invest in the individual lives of our students and proudly proclaim our identity in Christ. We engage our undergraduate students in rigorous yet flexible curricula that affords individual students ownership in their programs of study and scholastic endeavors. We educate our students to have strong foundations in the fundamental principles of biology, physiology, and scientific investigation. We believe undergraduate students that develop a mind of scientific inquiry and service can change society socially, culturally, and economically.
To be the leading department regionally and nationally among private Christian universities for the development of desirable natural science graduates.
Kirt has taught science at LCU for over 33 years, first in the Agriculture Department from 1978 to 1986, and now since 1995 in the Biology Department. Before 1995, he served as a youth minister for Central Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Martin is an advisor of health professions and is the Lead Faculty Advisor for the Office of Health Professions. He also conducts meetings at area churches on Creation and Evolution.
Kirt has been married to Nancy since 1975, and they have two daughters, Lucy and Olivia. Both of their daughters and married and are missionaries in Lithuania and New Zealand. Kirt and Nancy have four grandsons. Kirt is an elder at Sunset Church of Christ and a regular Bible class teacher. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Sunset International Bible Institute.
Dr. Laughlin grew up in the rural town of Ingram, Texas located in the heart of the hill country. After receiving his bachelor's degree in animal science from Texas A & M University he served as an assistant county agent in Val Verde county. He then moved to San Angelo, Texas where he served as the assistant sheep and goat specialist for the state of Texas. After the completion of his master's degree from Angelo State University he moved back to College Station to pursue his terminal degree from Texas A & M University. His dissertation work focused on subfertility and infertility in stallions. He began teaching at LCU in the fall of 2005. Dr. Laughlin coordinates a medical mission trip to Peru each year, serves as the advisor for the pre-vet club, and continues to judge sheep and goat livestock shows across the nation.
Iona began as an adjunct teaching General Biology in 1979. She has been Department Chairman and full time professor. She has also served on Faculty Senate, serving as secretary and chairman. She advises Biology and is a part of the Health Professions advising committee and is a member of Texas Association of Advisors of Health Professions. Iona met her husband Neil at summer camp at LCC. They are both graduates of LCC, class of 1973. Their two children, Lisa and Stephen, are also alumni of LCU. They have been members of Vandelia Church of Christ since 1976 where she participates in the worship team and teaches Bible class. She has spoken at several church retreats.
Dr. Durham joined the LCU Department of Natural Sciences in the spring of 2009. He is currently Associate Professor and Program Director of the Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Ecology and Conservation. Dr. Durham was born and raised in a farming and ranching community in the Oklahoma Panhandle. After completing his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Durham came to Lubbock to attend graduate school at Texas Tech University where he completed both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Fisheries Science. Dr. Durham is a member of the American Fisheries Society, Wildlife Society, and Ecological Society of America. He is also a Certified Hunter Education Instructor for the state of Texas.
Following an 8 year stint in student services and part-time teaching at LCU, Mrs. Harman began teaching full-time in the fall of 1999. She is a Lubbock native who graduated from Lubbock Christian High School and Lubbock Christian University before completing her masters at Texas Tech University. Mrs. Harman is married to Randy Harman (\'77) and they are active members of Green Lawn Church of Christ.
Dr. Swartz is a native of Clovis, NM. After completing dual B.S. degrees at Oklahoma State University in Biochemistry and Microbiology, he moved to Lubbock to pursue a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences (TTUHSC). His dissertation work focused on using molecular biology and biochemistry techniques to create new tools for studying the transport mechanism of P-glycoprotein, an ABC Transporter that contributes to multidrug resistance. Upon completing his Ph.D., Dr. Swartz continued his research at TTUHSC through a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the American Heart Association. He also began teaching at LCU as an adjunct professor, and became a full time faculty member at LCU in the Fall of 2015.
At LCU, Dr. Swartz continues to pursue his research interests while mentoring undergraduate researchers in a variety of scientific areas including, structure and function of ABC transporters, effects of non-caloric sweeteners on living organisms, and interactions of treated wastewater with the environment. During graduate school, he met and married his wife, Dr. Lauren Swartz, who is currently a Texas Tech Family Medicine Resident.
Tammy has been the LCU Post Office manager since 2006. She firmly believes God has blessed her with a great job and great Christian friends to work with. In 1997, she graduated from South Plains College with an Associates of Applied Sciences degree. That same year, she met her husband Brad Kitten while working together at Covenant Hospital. They married May 1999. They have 2 boys, Dylan and Justin, who keep them busy and laughing. She is very active at her church teaching 1st-3rd graders every Sunday morning, teaching VBS music every summer, attending a weekly married couples bible study, and a weekly women\'s bible study. On her free time, if she has any, she loves to read.
As an Air Force dependent, Allie Beth Webb grew up all over the globe, yet she has always been Texas bred. Her family moved back to the Great State her senior year of High School. She attended Lubbock Christian University, and graduated in 2013 with a B.S. from the newly formed Natural Resources, Ecology, and Conservation program. Ms. Webb went on to receive her Master’s in Wildlife, Aquatic, and Wildland Science and Management from Texas Tech University, and started teaching for the LCU Natural Sciences Department in Fall of 2019. She is a member of the Graham Chapel Church of Christ congregation in Post, Texas, where she and her family are involved in children’s ministry and education. Ms. Webb loves to be outdoors camping, hiking, working on the family Christmas Tree Farm, and helping others improve their own lands for livestock and wildlife uses. In addition, she enjoys knitting, embroidering, singing, old western movies, college football, and Christmas. Allie Beth Webb considers herself an ambassador of Christ, a Texan, and Forever Blue.