Archived Voice Articles

Faculty News

Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd

Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd

Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd, professor of social work, gave three presentations on faith-based organizations this summer. On June 19, he gave a "A Case Study of Organizational Secularization and Religiousness' at the Midwest Qualitative Research Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On June 24, he addressed the board of directors of Hope Haven, Inc. in Rock Valley, Iowa, on "Keeping the Faith in a Faith-Based Organization." On August 26, he addressed the board of directors of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska in Omaha on "How Faith-Based Organizations Manage Secular Pressures Associated with Government Funding."

Dr. Sydney Hielema, professor of theology will speak at four of eight regional youth ministry conferences sponsored by the Christian Reformed Church. The eight conferences will take place between Nov 2003 and July 2004, with one of the eight at Dordt College in February 2004. They are designed to help the CRC examine its identity and its way of ministering to young people. Hielema, who is chair of the organizing committee, will also lead a three-hour workshop at all eight conferences.

Dr. John Van Rys

Dr. John Van Rys

Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplac was recently released by English professors Dr. John Van Rys and Dr. Verne Meyer. The book provides guidelines, models, checklists and templates that save business people time. Color-coded checklist pages, a detailed topic index, and easy-flip spiral binder all help users find the information they need quickly. Tips are given for writing memos, e-mail, letters, announcements, requests, complaints, acceptance/denial notices, reports, procedures, etc.

Van Rys and Meyer regularly present Write for Business workshops to businesses. For more information, contact Van Rys at 722-6328. The book is available at the Dordt Bookstore (712-722-6420 or e-mail and from the publisher (1-800-261-0637 or on the web go to

Dr. Paul Fessler

Dr. Paul Fessler

History Professor, Dr. Paul Fessler, attended the Latin American Study Program Faculty Development Tour of Costa Rica and Nicaragua sponsored by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities from Aug 8-Aug 18. The CCCU sponsors such tours for faculty who advise students about CCCU-sponsored off-campus programs. Fessler teaches Latin America history at Dordt College.

Fessler is also working on a research project on the role of ethnic and denominational identities in non-profit institutions. As a case study he is looking at the rise and fall of Grundy College in Grundy, Iowa, from 1916 - 1932. Fessler invites anyone who is willing to share personal letters or documents that describe experiences and life at Grundy College during those years to contact him at or call or write him at the college.

Dr. John Visser and Gary Vander Plaats, both business professors, taught in the "Pathways to Leadership" MBA program for World Vision managers again this summer. Visser taught in Thailand and Vander Plaats in Canada.

Dr. Charles Veenstra, communication professor, presented a paper at the International Listening Association convention in Stockholm, Sweden, on July 18. The paper was titled "Listening Between Americans an Arabs."

Mary Lou Wielenga, adjunct organ instructor, attended the McGill Summer Organ Academy at McGill University in Montreal in July and the American Guild of Organists Regional Convention in St. Joseph, Missouri, in June. Wielenga also played a dedication service and recital at Faith Lutheran Church in Sioux City.

Susan Van Geest

Susan Van Geest

Art Professor Susan Van Geest's sculpture, "Altar I" was accepted into an exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center titled "Local Perspectives." Twenty-seven artists were accepted into the show, which runs from September 20 through January 11, with an opening and juror's talk on the 20th. Three of her works, a painting titled "Et in Terra Pax," and two sculptures titled "Grace Seat" and "Waiting" were accepted to "Iowa 18," a state-wide juried competition, at the Polk County Heritage Gallery in Des Moines, Iowa, from October-November 22.

Van Geest also will have a solo exhibit at the Sanford Museum in Cherokee during the month of November.

Dr. James C. Schaap's latest novel, Touches the Sky, was recently released. Set in the Dakota Territory as Dutch immigrants move into Indian Territory, readers are drawn into the lives of both cultures as their pathways intersect and clashes boil over into the violence of the historic massacre at Wounded Knee.

The cross-over appeal of Touches the Sky speaks to a broad audience. "I'm not sure whether, in the end, I've read a mystery, a morality play, or a western-but it is a great, passionate yarn," says the former editor-in-chief of The Banner, Dr. John Suk, the magazine where the novel was serialized and printed over the course of the past year.

The book is published by Baker Book House and is available at bookstores, the Baker website and the Dordt College Campus Bookstore or by mail from the bookstore by calling 712-722-6416.

Schaap also spoke at the San Diego Christian Writers Union annual conference in September and at the Warm Beach Family Conference in Warm Beach, Washington, on July 3, 4, and 5.

Foreign Language Professor Leendert van Beek was invited by the University of the Nations to present a guest lecture titled "Abraham Kuyper: Creating a Reformed Worldview" for their School of Humanities and Science at Heidebeek campus, the Netherlands, on June 11, 2003.

On June 10, Dr. Tony Jelsma gave a presentation at the 43rd Annual Midwest Regional Developmental Biology Meeting and Singer Symposium in Kansas City, Missouri. The talk was titled, "Elevated Levels of Homocysteine Induce Neural Tube Defects in Zebrafish Embryos."

Communcation Professor Tim Vos, currently on doctoral leave, presented the paper, "Mapping Deviance: The role of news content in communicating legitimacy" at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference, in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 2, 2003. The paper received the Leslie J. Moeller Award and the Kappa Tau Alpha Research Award as the top paper in its division.

Agriculture Professor Dr. Duane Bajema helped lead a workshop held at Dordt College on July 31 on agricultural stress in farm communities. The workshop was jointly sponsored by the University of Iowa, the local community hospital, and Dordt College. Bajema also recently completed the course work for a Master Beekeepers accreditation at the University of Nebraska.

Work by Art Professor David Versluis was selected for recognition in the annual state-wide competitive exhibition at the Hearst Center for the Arts, Cedar Falls, Iowa. The exhibition theme was "Wind and Water: Iowa's Evolving Landscape." The show opened on September 21, 2003 and will be on view until November 16, 2003.

Versluis's entry titled: "Wind and Water," consisted of a series of aerial photographs that artistically document the Floyd River Basin as it traverses through Sioux County, Iowa.

Dr. John Van Dyk, director of the Center for Educational Services, taught two graduate courses at Dordt College and one at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia in July. In August he conducted a seminar on worldviews in education at the ACSI-sponsored Poland-Slovakia-Czech Summer Institute in Frydlant, Czech Republic. In September, he gave two keynote addresses (and conducted a workshop) on the topic "Defining Effective Reformed Schools" at the national conference of Canadian Reformed schools principals, near Winnipeg, Manitoba. In October, Van Dyk was one of four featured speakers at the Christian Schools International convention for teachers in the U.S. Northwest, British Columbia, and Alberta. Van Dyk's topic is "The Reflective Practitioner." He also led three workshops.

Chris Rehn, professor of business administration, received a National Endowment for the Humanities Award to study comparative constitutional law at Notre Dame this summer. The six-week seminar, "American Constitutionalism in Comparative Perspective," examined several problem areas in American constitutional law, comparing them with similar problems and developments in Germany and Canada. Participants delved into life and death issues (abortion and the death penalty), freedom of speech, religious liberty, equal protection and social-economic rights. Their objective was to look at U.S. constitutional jurisprudence in comparison with German and Canadian constitutional jurisprudence in such areas as abortion, death penalty, equal protection.

"I am delighted to have been selected," said Rehn. "I was drawn to this seminar for several reasons. The topics [abortion, religious liberty, etc.] are obviously very relevant for the kinds of discussions we have at Dordt. Our seminar leader is committed to looking at the background conceptions-we would say the 'world views'-behind the commitments and structures, something we try to do in all our classes and disciplines here at Dordt.

Dr. Calvin Jongsma was invited to attend a five-day CCCU workshop on "Mathematics, Faith, and Learning" at Westmont College from May 22 - 27, 2003. His accepted project proposal was to work jointly with Dr. Dave Klanderman from Trinity Christian College to outline a historically-oriented textbook on middle school mathematics for prospective middle school teachers. They hope to continue work on the project next summer.

Dr. Sherri Lantinga, professor of psychology gave a keynote address at the Heartland Teachers Convention and at the Northwest Christian Schools International teachers convention in mid-October. In "Christian and Cultural Understandings of the Self" Lantinga asserts that what we each believe about the central nature of the self-whether an innately relational being, a rational mind, or an image of God-is strongly affected by culture, and that significant cultural shifts have impacted how we see ourselves, and as teachers we may understand the self rather differently than our students-even if we're all Christians. She gave an overview of these cultural shifts, show how they relate to a biblical understanding of the self, presented some provocative data on college students' perceptions of the self, and offered some implications for teaching.

Lantinga also led two workshops at the NWCSI convention: "Learning about the Self" and "Making Healthy Choices.