Dordt College News

Dordt College recognizes outstanding faculty

April 27, 2014

At the college’s annual end-of-the-year banquet on April 24, the Dordt College Office of Academic Affairs recognized three faculty members with awards for their work.

The Dordt College Award for Teaching Excellence was awarded to English Professor Dr. Bill Elgersma. Calling him “an advocate for the underdog,” Provost Eric Forseth said Elgersma “recognizes the challenges that learners face as they learn college-level reading and writing, and he has a unique understanding of the needs of struggling writers.” 

Elgersma has taught classes in English, education, and health and human performance at Dordt College. He has also served as an admissions counselor, Blades hockey coach, coordinator of developmental education in the ASK (Academic Skills) Center, and Defender women’s soccer coach.

“Elgersma’s ready response to any student or professor who knocks at his door is to pat the empty chair, put down his pen, and listen,” said Forseth. “At just the right moment he asks the question that helps that student or teacher gather the clarity and confidence that they need to move forward.”

The Dordt College John Calvin Award is given annually to a Dordt faculty member who inspires students in the development of their world and life view within their own area of study and expertise. Chosen from nominations by alumni and faculty, this year’s award was given to Dr. John Kok.

Kok, dean for research and scholarship and director of Andreas Center, began his career at Dordt College teaching philosophy in 1983, and he is retiring following the 2014 academic year.

“John is known for being able to capture the imagination and attention of large classes, and the passion that he brought to a Reformed worldview as a way of thinking and as a life system was incredible,” said President Erik Hoekstra.

During his career with Dordt College, Kok has served as dean for the humanities, dean for research and scholarship, director of the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Research, and managing editor of the Dordt College Press.

The Dordt College Award for Noteworthy Scholarship was awarded to Dr. Leah Zuidema, who is the associate provost and dean for curriculum and instruction. Zuidema taught English for several years prior to her administrative roles.

Professor of Theology Dr. Wayne Kobes describes Zuidema as “an outstanding professor who is known for having a passion for teaching excellence, who receives glowing student evaluations, exhibits an eagerness to work alongside colleagues to improve teaching at the college, and embodies an impressive commitment to ongoing research and writing while continuously seeking innovation and improvement.”

Her scholarly accomplishments include published articles in the Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching/Writing: The Journal of Writing Teacher Education, and English Journal. Dr. Zuidema also has made scholarly contributions to several professional associations. A list of conference presentations can be found at

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