SBUBolivar, Missouri Est. 1878

Department of Behavioral Sciences


Debbie Gamble
Debbie Gamble
Debbie Gamble
Instructor of Sociology
Southwest Baptist University
Work 1600 University Avenue, Gott Educational Center 210
Bolivar, MO 65613
Work (417) 328-1734 |
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Education and professional background: Gamble holds a B.A. from SBU in psychology and sociology with a minor in counseling, and a M.A. from Central Missouri State University in sociology. She began teaching at SBU as an adjunct in 1991 and then full-time in 1992. She teaches courses in sociology including human diversity, social problems, dealing with death and dying, sociology of gender, gerontology, and many more. Prior to coming to SBU, Gamble worked in early childhood special education.

Family: She is married to Brad, the director of student financial assistance at SBU. They have three daughters, Rachel, Brittany and Jessie.

Community involvement: Gamble and her family has been serving at the Esquire, a ministry of First Baptist Church, for more than 13 years. They have been members at FBC-Bolivar for more than 16 years. She serves with the women's ministry team and the church leadership council. She is involved in the school activities in which her daughters participate and currently serves as the parent snack coordinator for the BHS Lady Liberator tennis team, as well as help with senior year plans and fundraising.

Why did you choose to teach at SBU? "To be honest, SBU chose me. I loved the challenge of my college classes. After marrying and starting a family, Betty Heifner called me. She was a professor of sociology at SBU and she was ready to retire. Finding a sociologist with a Southern Baptist background was challenging. She called and asked me to consider going to graduate school in sociology. It was an area of study I had never considered for graduate school. Betty was pretty insistent. She called not once, but a dozen times. God opened all the doors for me to go to graduate school while continuing to work and take care of my family. After I completed my degree, Dr. Joe Shelton called offering me the opportunity to teach a course in Social Problems. I loved it! He asked me to teach again the next spring, and followed with a full-time position the next fall. My husband grew up here in Polk County. He wanted to raise our girls close to his family and the family farm. SBU gave us the opportunity for me to teach in higher education and raise our girls close to his home."

What sets SBU apart from other universities? "As a student here, I found faculty who had a geunine concern for their students and for the learning process. As those faculty later became my peers, I entered into the SBU family in a different way. I found a genuine concern for each other and our students both inside and outside the classroom. There is a recognition that we are fellow travelers in our walk with Christ. We need each other to challenge us and sharpen our faith. The faculty here are committed to integrating the Christian faith into every profession, every major, every life path for which our students are preparing. I learn from my students as well as they learn from me. I love working with the student who walks into my office and shares with me a calling for a ministry or profession that God has given to him or her. Finding ways to equip that student to become the unique creation they were made to be is exciting. Watching as they graduate and make those plans reality is so rewarding. That is really what teaching here is all about, preparing students to follow God's calling in their lives, not just fitting them into a ready-made major or program - but listening and mentoring based on God's leadership. That is what we do."

What advice do you have for prospective students? "Take the time to get involved in the university and community activities. You will only get out of college what you put into it. There are so many opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. Be willing to take a few risks and meet new people. Get involved in a local church. Eat at local restaurants. Participate in at least one mission trip. Get to know your faculty, staff and coaches outside of the classroom, office and playing fields. This is a season in your life set aside for learning. Embrace it enthusiastically and whole-heartedly. Go into your classes expecting to engage in learning and trust God to show you the purpose for each ounce of knowledge you gain."

What is your favorite thing to do in Bolivar/Southwest Missouri? "Our family loves to attend the regional festivals and events. The Ozarks is just a beautiful place to be outdoors. From walks on the family farm, to trips to the lakes, the Ozarks is a wonderful place to walk and enjoy God's creation."