Melessa Henderson, J.D.

What are the main classes you teach at Crown? Composition, Writing & Literature, Business Law.

Degrees & Institutions you received them from: Undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota - Morris in English and secondary education. Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Published works or other accolades?

1) Wife & Mother: My greatest accolade, award, and honor is being a mother. God blessed my husband of 16 years and me with two children: Curtis & Annie.

2) Publications:

  • Three children’s books. One placed second in the Moonbeam awards and was also a finalist in the Book of the Year awards
  • Under a pen name, poetry published in national publications such as SP Quill Quarterly Poetry Magazine, Write On, Shemom, Skyline Literary Review, Soul Fountain, Time of Singing, Language and, Hudson View, and Midwifery Today.
  • Newspaper Columns: "The G.O.O.D. Life." The Opinion. (2005). "Wise Guardians of Knowledge." The Opinion. (2004). "Crystal Murphy ~ A Life Well Lived." The Opinion. (2004). "Unsung Heroes." The Opinion. (2004). "Serve Up Some Christmas Korv." The Opinion. (2003). "The Five Love Languages (book review)." The Opinion. (2003). "To Litigate or Mediate, That is the Question!" The Opinion. (2003).
  • Flash story third place winner in the Shadow Poetry Quill. Story title: "Slaughterhouse."

3) University/Law School accolades:

  • Director of the International Study and Travel Center, University of Minnesota - Morris.
  • Taught English in Sweden.
  • Honor’s student.
  • Law Review. 2 years.
  • Contributing editor of the law school newspaper.

Personal web page:

Company I own:

Before Crown, what did you do? I was a mortgage broker and loan officer managing multi-million dollar pipelines and selling credit life and disability insurance in the residential market. Also, did many sales training seminars, personal image coaching, and other big-ticket, complex sales.

Your Testimony? My faith has been strengthened by: 1) "If you gain, you gain all. If you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then, without hesitation, that He exists." Blaise Pascal 2) "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King, Jr. 3) I Corinthians 13: 11-12: "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

Favorite Bible verse? Proverbs 31:8-9 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Why? As a child, I was a bullied. It was actually a good experience, years after the fact, because it gave me a soft heart for the outcast and a thick skin needed to speak up for truth. Speaking up is an affirmative command to do something, not like many of the ten commandments which tell us what NOT to do. Yet, even Christians often pander to popularity out of foolish fear. I hope to equip and embolden my students to speak up for truth and justice with unabashed passion and compassion.

Hobbies, Interests, Affiliations? Playing or reading with my kids, movies with my husband, spending time with extended family especially my 94-year old grandpa, treasure hunting at thrift stores and garage sales, picking raspberries and mulberries in the summer, planting flowers, publishing, writing, reading about history or holistic health, debating politics.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Crown? Getting to know the students, hopefully impacting their lives for the good, and how teaching sharpens my writing and thinking. Also, freely praying and praising God is a refreshing academic experience.

What differentiates your program from similar offerings at other colleges? My teaching style is highly facilitative rather than lecture. There are many great Crown lecture professors, but that’s not me. I get bored listening to myself speak after about 30 minutes and need a class activity, debate, game, student presentation, or educational video to reinforce the material. I hope to engage as many learning styles as possible and believe that skill sets are intertwined, though often taught as separate classes. For instance, speaking and writing are not isolated skills but sharpen the other but are often taught separately. Though many of my classes are technically writing classes, the students will spend much time speaking and debating about their paper topics. This sharpens their resolve and makes the writing process easier, rather than just researching a topic in the library.

How do you define "Academic Excellence?" Academic excellence is not a destination, but a journey of constant growth (academically, socially, spiritually) well beyond the requirements to pass a class or graduate. Academic excellence is having a truly educated mind, and with the advent of the internet people have never had so little excuse to truly self-educate, and by their own industry excel from good to great.

What would your students say about taking your classes? Hopefully they would say I care about them not only academically but personally and spiritually, and that I was a great example of a Christian woman. Hopefully they would say I taught with passion and compassion. Hopefully they would say they learned a ton, had fun, and that I inspire them to really do everything as if onto the Lord and to run the race to win!

From a career standpoint, what will students be prepared to do with a degree from your program? "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

What would you say to parents of prospective students about having their son/daughter at Crown? This is exactly where I’d want my own children (ages 7 & 4) to go to college someday. It’s a wonderful school in every way. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society." Crown is the perfect place for not only academic excellence, but also to develop that moral fiber critical for being a light to a lost world.