Dordt College News

Justin Vander Werff named Outstanding Faculty Advisor

August 1, 2014

Dordt College engineering professor Justin Vander Werff has been awarded Outstanding Faculty Advisor by Region 7 of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Region 7 encompasses the ASCE sections that include Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Vander Werff is humble about receiving the honor and believes the award says more about Dordt students than it does about him. “This really speaks to what our students are doing in ASCE,” he says noting that students are involved heavily in the society, making connections, participating in events, and attending conferences and meetings. Vander Werff is also thankful for the contributions of engineering professor Joel Sikkema, who has been serving as a co-advisor for ASCE since he began working at Dordt two years ago.

Serving as the Dordt College ASCE faculty advisor, Vander Werff emphasizes that his role is “advisor, not leader. The faculty advisor shouldn’t be the energy of the club. As new people cycle through, I try to be the ‘memory bank’ and counsel the new students, helping them learn from those who have graduated.”

His students, who nominated him for the award, say that he is quick to help, offers reliable support, and demonstrates a Christian approach to engineering.

“Professor Vander Werff always puts his students first,” said civil and environmental engineering student Emily Riihl. “He’s enhanced my own college career by providing great advice when needed and by showing me what it means for your faith to impact your work as an engineer.”

Dordt’s ASCE club is involved in a number of activities and projects each year including the Concrete Canoe Competition, the Adopt-a-Highway program, a recycling program on campus, assisting in hosting engineering job fairs, and hosting civil engineering speakers on campus.

“Dordt takes a unique approach to engineering; we know that civil engineering is a very servant-oriented profession,” says Vander Werff. “We provide for the needs of society and help people in a hands-on way.”

Dordt College is one of only a handful of Christian colleges that has been fully accredited for more than 20 years. Student can earn an engineering degree with concentrations in biomedical, chemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical. Since 2000, Dordt’s overall industry and graduate school placement rate for engineers is 98 percent (90 percent in major). Learn more about the engineering program at Dordt College at

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