Archived Voice Articles

The context is part of the perspective, faculty say

Teaching and nurturing a Christian worldview doesn't happen in a vacuum. Professors strive to make it concrete in classes. It's easier to do in some than others. In Gen 300, the senior capstone course Calling, Task, and Culture, professors are aware that students need to concretely wrestle with their roles as they get engaged or married, with being civil to people they go to church with or live next to, with how to set priorities and budget the money they will soon be earning.

But the wrestling continues beyond the classroom. One new faculty member says he notices a difference in how much his students discuss together outside of class. He attributes it to the strong sense of community that characterizes Dordt College as a residential campus.

Student Services staff stress the importance of community, giving a context and balance to students' lives. Students, professors, and staff get to know one another, creating a healthy accountability.

"This is a unique community," says Schaap. "It's almost a village in itself. Deep and abiding friendships and commitments begin here."

DeMol adds, "Music students are notoriously competitive, but I find students here to be more supportive than competitive. They encourage one another rather than bad mouth or one-up each other."

Zylstra, too, notes something healthy. "When I was in college I hung around mainly with other philosophy majors. Here I see students forming friendships and interacting with others from many different departments." That gives them a broader perspective on what they're learning.

And ready access to faculty and staff members who take time to mentor students who want it create ideal learning situations where students' Christian perspective can be nourished and grow.

Zylstra recalls a comment made to him by a student who decided to leave Dordt College after one year: "When I came I knew I would get a religious emphasis in theology class, I had no idea I'd get it everywhere," he said. While Zylstra does not like to see any student leave campus, that's the kind of criticism he doesn't mind hearting.