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Dordt College News

Provost Forseth leads alongside

December 2, 2013

Dr. Eric Forseth's early imprssions of Dordt College were shaped by its teacher education candidates.

They were so purposeful, so obviously centered,” he says. On visits to Dordt's campus to interview prospective teachers, he observed a commitment by faculty and administrators to learn, live, and lead Christianly. As he read about Dordt’s educational vision, he came to the conclusion that Dordt's educational documents were a lived vision. He was eager to be part of that.

“In my last leadership roles, I was asked to be a change agent,” he says. At Dordt he sees his role as helping move a “purposeful focus” forward.

As chief academic officer at Dordt College, Forseth oversees athletics, curriculum and instruction, scholarship and research, and global education initiatives. He brings experience in all of those areas. He has served as chief executive officer of Nampa Christian Schools, vice president and professor of business at Northwest Nazarene University and Mount Vernon Nazarene University, as well as athletic director, department chair, athletic trainer, and soccer coach at those institutions.

Forseth describes his leadership style as “side-by-side,” “co-leading in a collaborative spirit.”

“I expect to come with ideas and then count on others to help shape them to make them better,” he says. As the middle child of seven, he’s learned to be “okay with lots of input,” and he’s learned that aggressive leadership doesn’t always work. Being humble is not only a better stance, it usually enables a person to be more effective, he believes.

“The journey is as important as the destination,” he says, adding, “It’s important to have graceful interaction when we deal with others.” He plans to spend time listening and encouraging. He believes that a positive attitude and encouraging actions can move people and institutions further and faster toward reaching their goals.

Forseth loves creating opportunities that help others get better at what they do. He considers an hour with a faculty member, exploring how they can improve their teaching or reach their goals, to be one well spent. He tries to be directive and encouraging.

“How do we live Christianly? How are we called to live professionally and personally?  How can we encourage one another to have a transforming impact on others and on culture? How do we address areas of culture that some might find uncomfortable or that others aren’t addressing? Those are questions to constantly ask ourselves,” says Forseth.

“Dordt College is poised to grow and spread its covenant kingdom vision,” Forseth says. “The more we do, the more influence we can have on our world.” He is already convinced that Dordt is a quality institution. It’s why he came. He also believes it can be even better by continuously improving and creatively thinking “outside of the box.”

“Dordt is a bit like a diamond in the rough,” he says. He looks forward to helping with the polishing.


About Eric

Education: Denver Christian Schools, Northwest Nazarene University, University of Arizona, Harvard University, and Ohio State University

Family: Wife of 28 years, Kim; two children, the youngest a junior at Dordt; great-great grandfather Henry Hospers, the founder of neighboring Orange City, Iowa

Shaping influences: growing up with his mother’s 24-year struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease; a maternal heritage of Reformed pastors; a father who believed in the power of cultural transformation 

Exciting opportunities: Growth of majors that expand a kingdom-covenant emphasis; expansion of student enrollment; continued emphasis on residential student experience; continuous improvement; new master’s programs; sharing Dordt with a broader Christian community


SALLY JONGSMA

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