Dordt College News

Dordt College recognizes outstanding faculty

April 29, 2013

At the college’s annual end-of-the-year banquet, the Dordt College Office of Academic Affairs recognized three faculty members with awards for their work. Two of the awards, for teaching excellence and noteworthy scholarship, are new this year.

The Dordt College Award for Teaching Excellence was awarded to History Professor Dr. Paul Fessler. Fessler’s game-based instructional methods, known as “Reacting to the Past,” have been described in the Chronicle of Higher Education as teaching “that sets students’ minds on fire.” Faculty in his department point to him as a mentor and speak often about discussions he leads about Christian teaching.

Fessler is a member of the Academic Senate and the originator and coordinator for Dordt’s annual Ideafest, where students present their research and projects to their peers and the community.

“He pours himself into his work, and he does so joyfully,” says Associate Provost Leah Zuidema. An alumnus who nominated him said that Fessler “continuously pushes his students to think deeper, try harder, and challenge themselves and others in historical analysis and study. He is tough, but fair.”

The Dordt College Award for Noteworthy Scholarship was presented to Dr. Nathan Tintle, who has published 12 peer-reviewed articles and delivered eight conference presentations in the last two years. Tintle has mentored more than 40 undergraduate research fellows since 2006, sharing his insight with student researchers from all over the nation.

In two years at Dordt, Tintle has won three external grants worth more than $588,000, including a substantial National Institutes of Health grant for work with the Human Genome Research Institute, and he launched a new summer program for high school students called DCSIMS (Summer Investigations in Mathematics and Statistics).

Tintle is lead author for an innovative textbook that is being field-tested in a variety of high school and college classrooms. A high school teacher who is pilot-testing Tintle’s new textbook says it has “radically changed” his curriculum, and students using it have described it as “hands-on, tremendously helpful, and engaging.”

Established in 1994, The 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 English Professor Dr. Mary Dengler.

One of the nominators summed it up this way: “Dr. Dengler is an inspirational professor, who as co-director of the Kuyper Scholars Program and editor of ProRege (Dordt’s reformational journal), has been integral to academic activities at Dordt College... Her willingness to help students with writing outside of class is commendable; her willingness to put aside her own interests for the sake of her students is admirable.”

Dengler received her award in absentia, because she was attending the Kuyper Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary with students.

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