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Faculty News

Dr. Douglas Allen, assistant professor of physics, along with his colleague Larry Coy, who works at the Naval Research Lab, Washington, D.C., co-authored a paper accepted for publication in the online journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, titled “The Effects of Model Chemistry and Data Biases on Stratospheric Ozone Assimilation.” (Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 2917-2935, 2007)

Campus Pastor Rod Gorter taught a one-week course, “Interpretation of Scripture,” (Hermeneutics) at the Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine in May. Gorter spent eight years teaching there before coming to Dordt.

Sheryl Taylor

Sheryl Taylor

Sheryl Sheeres Taylor, director of library services in the John and Louise Hulst Library, was elected to serve as a BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research) delegate on the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) Members Council. Taylor currently is chair of the Sirsi Midwest Users Group; a member of the Iowa Library Association Awards Committee; and a member of the Iowa Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) ad hoc Committee on Education. Taylor previously chaired the Iowa Private Academic Libraries and the Colleges of Mid-America Librarians. She also previously served as a mentor in the ACRL College Libraries Section’s College Library Directors Mentor Program.

Taylor says she considers serving on the OCLC Members Council a great way to serve as an advocate for high-quality, cost-effective products and services that meet the cooperative needs of all libraries.

Dr. Wayne Kobes, professor of theology, taught a course titled “Worldview Foundations of Education” as part of the Trinity Western University School of Education graduate program. The class examined how worldviews are related to an educator’s calling and probed how to apply a biblical worldview in the classroom.

Communication Professor Mark Volkers spoke to business alumni at a Friday morning breakfast on September 21. Volkers’ presentation titled “The New Dirty Job…Or is it? Dordt College’s Role in Preparing Media Leaders” gave a response to the growing influence and falling standards of media in our society. He described how Dordt College’s new “Digital Media Production” major is trying to do something about this state of affairs and at the same time help clients—locally and nationally.

New faculty members joining the ranks this fall are (front) Erin Olson, social work; Bethany Schuttinga, vice
president for student services; Leah Zuidema, English; Peter Sheesley, art; (back) Wade Whites, football coach;
Craig Heynen, HPER; Bill Bauer, football coach; and Bruce Kuiper, communication.

New faculty members joining the ranks this fall are (front) Erin Olson, social work; Bethany Schuttinga, vice president for student services; Leah Zuidema, English; Peter Sheesley, art; (back) Wade Whites, football coach; Craig Heynen, HPER; Bill Bauer, football coach; and Bruce Kuiper, communication.

Volkers and three of his students, Aaron Huisman, Jess Brauning, Tassneem Ibrahim, were in charge of media presentation at this Summer’s RISE FEST in Orange City, Iowa.

Dr. Paul Fessler, history professor, led a two-day workshop in August at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion on the use of “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy, which USD is adopting as the pedagocal style for its honors classes. The workshop consisted of playing a simulation on the French Revolution. Faculty and administrators at USD read Rousseau’s Social Contract and Burke’s Reflections (among other primary sources) prior to engaging the “game.” Dordt College was one of the earliest members of the Reacting to the Past Network out of Barnard College at Columbia University. The pedagogy focuses on reading primary sources and engaging these sources through the perspective of various worldviews.

Dr. Jay Shim of Dordt’s theology department spoke at the Westminster Graduate School of Theology in Seoul, Korea, as part of their 40th anniversary celebration in October. The WGST is a Reformed institution that offers both college and graduate level education. Shim’s lecture is titled “Reformed Spirituality and the Challenge of the Church.”

Robert Horton

Robert Horton

Dr. Robert Horton, director of keyboard studies, was the winner of this year’s Mikhail Tariverdiev International Organ Competition, held in September in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Dr. Horton was awarded both first place and the audience award in the international competition. As the top organist, he was presented cash prizes, a trophy crafted from the Baltic amber mined in that region, a handcrafted model ship, and a prestigious invitation to present solo concerts this year at the Siberian International Organ Festival, the St. Jacobi Lirche in Lubeck, and Moscow’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Horton qualified for the finals in this worldwide competition after being the only U.S. organist selected to participate in a preliminary round of twelve competitors at Worcester, Massachusetts. A Canadian organist and Horton were selected at that time to advance to the finals in Kaliningrad, Russia, in September.

Dr. Horton was also invited in June of this year to participate in the Seventh International Schnitger Organ Competition on the two famous organs of the Grote Sint Laurenskerk in Alkmaar, the Netherlands.

Dr. James C. Schaap spoke at three events celebrating the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Christian Reformed Church: a classis-wide worship service at Parkersburg, Iowa, on September 9; a classis-wide worship service at Kanawha, Iowa, on September 26. 

Schaap was also honored as a plenary speaker at the denominational conference “Assessing the Past, Facing the Future—the CRC at 150,” held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In each case, Schaap’s presentation was titled “Will there be a Bi-Centennial?” A version of that address was published in the September issue of Pro Rege, the quarterly faculty journal of Dordt College. The Grand Rapids presentation included significant video work compiled and edited by Dordt student Jess Brauning. The video was a compilation of the ideas and thoughts and opinions of CRC people from a variety of churches throughout North America. 

Dr. John Kok, dean of the humanities, presented  a paper titled “Discerning Insight: Is it True, Correct, or Just Accurate?” at the International Institute for Christian Studies Conference, Truth Under Reconstruction: Presenting Christ in a Relativistic World, held from July 12-14, 2007, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jason Lief

Jason Lief

Theology Professor Jason Lief gave two presentations at the Youth Unlimited Convention this summer in Salt Lake City. His presentations were titled Genesis and You: Finding our identity in the Biblical story and Pop Culture Prophets: Listening for God in music and film.

Art Professor David Versluis presented an academic paper at the Christians in the Visual Arts Biennial Conference at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania, on June 16, 2007. The CIVA Scholars committee selected Versluis’s paper titled “What Directs Design?” The conference theme was “Transforming Spaces: Virtu(e) and the Virtual.”

Dr. John Zwart participated in a Governance Retreat for the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) held from May 23-25 at the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland. As the Iowa representative, he joined fifty AAPT committee chairs and section representatives for a brainstorming session regarding future directions for AAPT. Zwart also attended the AAPT Summer Conference held in Greensboro, North Carolina in late July, presenting a paper titled “Doing it wrong so they get it right,” where he described a problem-solving technique that he uses in his introductory physics classes.

Zwart served as an AP Physics Reader in June at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, working as part of a group of 100 physicists. And he worked for the Educational Policy Improvement Center at the University of Oregon as a consultant/reviewer of physics course syllabi. 

Political Studies Professor Donald King attended the Faculty Development Summer Institute on Active Learning and Teaching at the University of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown) from July 30-Aug. 3, 2007. The program has been held annually since 1984, helping increase the knowledge and skills of college professors at all stages of their careers. 

Charles Veenstra

Charles Veenstra

Dr. Charles Veenstra, professor of communication presented a paper at the International Listening Association Convention in Frankfurt, Germany, on July 19, 2007. The paper is titled “Christian Zionism: Listening Left Behind.” Veenstra's abstract says, “Listening does not seem to be on the agenda for those who believe in Christian Zionism. I identify noteworthy figures and groups which support this movement, explain the key elements and beliefs, describe its relation to dispensational theology, and indicate the significant political influence this movement has in American and international politics. Throughout the paper, I examine the extent to which those within the movement listen to those who agree with them and to those who do not. Since this movement focuses on a one-sided political view of the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, one can expect to find little listening to those who have a different view—both in politics and theology. We need to think about the impact of failure to listen. Finally, I will point to some future directions for solution and hope.

The results of that failure to listen, predictably, lead to huge problems in reconciliation in the Middle East. This failure also leads to divisions among Christians. The author suggests beliefs in Zionism contradict Christian beliefs of loving one’s neighbor.

The challenge is to show to government leaders the power and necessity of listening. We need to take models from the interpersonal level—models that we know work well—to the national and international levels. Without listening, there can hardly be reconciliation.”

Dr. Jonathan Warner, professor of economics, presented a paper, “What Might We Have Reason to Value?” at the Human Development and Capabilities Association conference held in New York from September 18-20. The paper takes up Amartya Sen’s statement that what matters for human development is the ability to work towards ends that people value, and “have reason to value.” Warner argues that this formulation, while allowing Sen to exclude adaptive preferences (where oppressed people come to believe that oppression is actually okay), still requires a normative view of what values and reasons count and that these values and reasons will depend on a worldview.

Earlier this month, Dr. Leah Zuidema gained a new understanding of what it means to be a Defender. Zuidema wrapped up her Ph.D. studies at Michigan State University, taking an oral exam conducted by the four professors on her guidance committee—"defending” her dissertation.

Zuidema’s dissertation is titled “Genre, Technologies, and the Intern-Net Discussion List: Parawork (Con) Texts for English Teachers’ Reflection and Inquiry.” She admits that the title isn’t designed to captivate the average reader; rather, it includes many key words that are likely to bring her work to the attention of other researchers combing through academic databases.

The study traces her work over a three-year period with thirty-six early-career English teachers linked together by e-mail. Zuidema analyzes how e-mail genres and technologies can both facilitate and constrain teachers’ participation in informal, online conversations intended to further their learning and professional development. She and her committee anticipate that her analysis and theoretical work will be of interest to other English teacher education professors (a.k.a. English educators), especially those who are interested in establishing online networks that help beginning teachers.

Zuidema is scheduled to present her research to Writing Research across Borders, an international conference to be held in Santa Barbara, as well as to the Conference on College Composition and Communication that will meet in New Orleans.

Agriculture Professor Ron Vos gave a public presentation titled Bio-Energy, Hype or Reality on August 1, 2007, as part of a public lecture series sponsored by Au Sable Pacific Rim Institute.