Central Penn College - Dr. Brian J. "Doc" Shelley


Faculty Who Care

Brian J. "Doc" Shelley, Ph.D.
Professor, Humanities & Sciences

Academic Bio

I began teaching, in 1995, as an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College in the day school, the evening school, and the graduate school teaching people how to teach and organizational growth and development. I started teaching online in 2002, teaching history courses at what was then the American Military University. 

In 2001, I started teaching general education courses at York Technical Institute, and was soon promoted to General Education Program Director for two campuses. I was hired to teach online at the Lancaster Center of Central Penn College in 2006. In 2007, I was promoted to Lancaster Center Dean. Having more of an interest in teaching, in 2011 I resigned from being Dean and went to teaching full-time online here at the College.

Personal Bio

I was born and raised in inner-city York, PA and graduated from William Penn Sr. High School. I was the third of four brothers. I married my high school sweetheart a year after graduation. We would later have two daughters who so far have given us five grandkids, three step-grandkids and two great-grandkids.

I served for six years in the United States Air Force. I am a former Board Chair of a local counseling center and former Senior Peer Counselor for the South Central PA Critical Incident Stress Management Team. 

I did part of my doctoral study program at Oxford University in England. I have visited a dozen foreign countries and Hawaii.

I reviewed the manuscript for a Critical Thinking textbook by Richard Paul and Linda Elder. I then authored my own critical thinking book, "Have You Lost Your Mind?"

I like taking cruises, growing vegetables, and raising chickens. I also give tours of Civil War Battlefields in VA, MD, and PA and teach a weekly Bible study class.

Teaching Philosophy

My philosophy of education is based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, Fink’s Taxonomy, and Hersey and Blanchard’s “Situational Leadership Theory.” I believe post-secondary education should be focused on improving the reasoning and critical thinking skills of students. My teaching responsibility as a professor is to provide students with the background knowledge needed to solve problems and to help students build confidence in their ability to use what they learned from me to tackle real-world problems and improve the quality of their lives. 

Students’ learning course material is the guiding principle behind the andragogical methods I choose. Learning occurs when information is stored in long-term memory and can later be recalled to solve a problem, to perform a task, or to improve one’s life. Learning occurs best by active participation in the learning process, or what is known as active or learner-centered learning.

If students are to get the most from my classes, they must be actively engaged with the subject and learning process. Under these circumstances, students are more likely to undertake a deep approach to learning and improve their academic performance. Students will perceive this improvement in their cognitive skills and affective behaviors and as a result, their self-confidence will be enhanced. As the students' academic performance improves, their motivation to participate in the educational process also increases. Students who are actively engaged in this process develop an intellectual passion for wanting to understand and know the material. This fosters an attitude on the part of the student consistent with lifelong learning. 

For students to be actively engaged in their learning, however, I must create a learning environment that increases students' involvement in, and responsibility for, the learning process. I must provide students with an environment in which they can practice and develop these skills and attributes. Increased student involvement does not mean independent study or an unstructured learning environment. Rather, increased structure is required to insure the educational strategies employed are successful. I take a number of factors into account to incorporate active learning techniques. First, and perhaps most important, I must examine the principles and concepts upon which active learning techniques are based and reflect upon their role as a professor. Second, I must be passionate about my students and the subject matter I teach. I can’t get students excited about learning if I’m not passionate about them and the material.


  • Bachelor of Science in Bible - Lancaster Bible College 1982
  • Master of Arts Degree - Moody Graduate School 1992
  • Doctor of Philosophy Degree - Oxford Graduate School 1997

Courses & Subjects

  • HUM310 World Mythology
  • ENG315 The Bible as Literature
  • HIS340 American Civil War
  • PHI300 Critical Thinking
  • PHI105 Ethics
  • HIS335 Presidents and First Ladies
  • HUM405 Women in the Bible
  • HUM305 Comparative Religion
  • IDS330 Global Conflict
  • IDS105 College Success Seminar
  • POL225 Congress and the American Presidency
  • POL320 State and Local Government


  • Todd A Milano Award - 2012
  • Diplomate in the Oxford Society of Scholars