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Van Dyk

Van Dyk

Dr. John Van Dyk, director of the Center for Educational Services, spent much of January on the road. From January 3-6, he conducted a three-day seminar on Christian education for teachers from five Central American countries at the Nehemiah Center in Managua, Nicaragua. From January 14-17, he participated in the IAPCHE Regional Conference in Chennai, India. On January 14, he gave a plenary address on the need for Christian teacher education programs in Asia, and during the remaining days conducted sessions focused on elementary and secondary education. On January 29, he participated in a conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, organized by Worldwide Christian Schools, to explore possible coordination of international teacher education activities.

A Spanish translation of Van Dyk’s book The Craft of Christian Teaching was available to educators at the Nicaragua conference. The translation was done by educators in Queretaro, Mexico.

Dr. Wes Jamison of Dordt’s agriculture department has spoken to several groups recently. He spoke on urban-rural farm politics at the Indiana Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Indianapolis on December 17 and will deliver the same lecture at the University of Arkansas in April. On January 14 he spoke at Iowa State University BIGMAP and the Seed Science Center on the social construction and political amplification of risk. He speaks on agricultural politics at the National Turkey Federation Annual Convention in Long Beach, California, at the Ohio Livestock Association Annual Convention in Columbus, Ohio, on March 29, and at the Public Information Council Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 10.

Dr. Tom Wolthuis, professor of theology, spent a weekend in February at a conference of the Wabash Center Workshop for Pre-Tenured Faculty in Religion. Wolthuis presented both a best practices teaching strategy and an update on his current project: “The Art of Telling the Biblical Story: How to use art in the classroom to teach the Introduction to Biblical Theology course.”

Dr. Duane Bajema, professor of agriculture, served as a national reviewer of four journal articles for publication and presentation at the national meeting of National Agricultural Education Research Conference to be held in San Antonio, Texas, from May 25-27. These are the annual national research meetings of the American Association for Agricultural Education.

History Professor Dr. Keith Sewell’s new book, Herbert Butterfield and the Interpretation of History, has recently been published (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

On January 19, Dr. James C. Schaap spoke for the MacLaurin Institute ( using the title “Whither?—The Genre of Literature in a Media Age.” The MacLaurin Institute sponsors lectures by Christian academics giving Christian graduate students and faculty at the University of Minnesota the opportunity to thoughtfully engage academia from a distinctly Christian vantagepoint. 

Dr. Jonathan Warner, professor of economics, taught a one-week course on sustainable community development to students (including our own David Prins) on the Creation Care Study Program in Belize.(



Dr. John Kok, dean for the humanities, was back to teaching Philosophy 201 recently. He spent ten days at the end of February working with Tom Soerens in Jagüey Grande, Cuba. Soerens, who previously taught theology and Philosophy 201 at Dordt College, is presently the director of distance education for the Evangelical University of the Americas in Costa Rica (UNELA). UNELA has the Costa Rican government’s approval to issue a college degree in theology and works primarily by networking with existing institutions whose focus is theological/pastoral training. Among other things, Soerens supervises the networking agreement between UNELA and the Christian Reformed Church of Cuba. For years the CRCC has had missionary visitors give intensive courses in Cuba. The UNELA is now able to give transfer credit for previous studies and at the same time provide church leaders in the CRC of Cuba with the courses they still need to complete the official program. They have the theology courses they need, but they lack core courses, especially in Christian philosophy.

“We will be helping them take a key step toward getting their college degree and treating them to a great thought-provoking introduction to what is probably quite novel: a uniquely Christian take on philosophy,” Soerens wrote prior to this collaborative effort.



Dr. Paul Fessler, professor of history, presented a paper “Multiculturalism: A Problem for Historians” at the Conference on Faith and History in October at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. The paper examined the philosophy of multiculturalism and argues that its inherent postmodern relativism and emphases make multiculturalism very problematic for Christian scholars and Christians in general.

Fessler also spoke as a panelist at a conference “Reacting to the Past: Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament” at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, in January.

Dr. Benjamin Kornelis recently had a composition for handbells published by Harrock Hall. The work, Kornelis’s first published instrumental piece, is a set of three variations on “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” that he originally wrote for a handbell choir he directed in Seattle. Harrock Hall ( has now published four of Kornelis’s compositions.

Dawn Wolthuis, computer science instructor, has been elected to the board of the International U2 User Group ( after serving as the Acting Chair for the organization which she helped launch. The year-long project to organize this new database group will be completed on March 15 when the first elected board takes office. The group already has more than one thousand members from around the world with board members coming from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.