The Voice: Fall 2001

The Voice

New books out this summer include Dordt faculty authors

Sally Jongsma

    Many faculty members will tell you that they have at least one book they’re hoping to write some day. Many also find that the time constraints of teaching three or four courses a semester plus committee work makes achieving that goal difficult. Nevertheless, several faculty members contributed to a variety of books released this summer.
    Scott Quatro from Dordt’s business department is the second of five authors listed on a new book that can be found on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and on-line booksellers. The Manager as Change Agent: A Practical Guide to Developing High-Performance People and Organizations was written in cooperation with Quatro’s doctoral dissertation advisor, Jerry W. Gilley, now at Colorado State University. It is part of a series titled “New Perspectives in Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change.” Another of the authors is former Dordt business professor Erik Hoekstra, who has now returned to a position in business.
    “This opportunity was the direct result of Dordt’s faculty development program,” says Quatro. Because Dordt funds graduate study, Quatro was able to start his program shortly after beginning to teach at Dordt. Dr. Gilley, who already had a contract with a publisher for a series of books, took the opportunity to work with a select group of his graduate students with significant business experience to publish another in the series.
    “It was a win-win situation for all of us,” says Quatro. “It gave a wonderful first experience in academic publishing for us graduate students.”
    Quatro says the book is geared to business practitioners and business academics in the field of organizational development and management. As such it is very practical and accessible, he believes. He is using segments of the book in his own teaching, and the ideas and models he developed for the book are helpful to his students.
    Although the book does not spell out the Christian world view from which Quatro works as explicitly as it might if he were the final editor, he believes the concept of change agents and leaders as servant leaders who believe they are accountable for what they do is important and demonstrates the Christian perspective out of which he works. The Manager as Change Agent is published by Perseus Publishing.
    Quatro will also co-author a chapter in a book edited by Ronald Sims titled Changing the Way We Manage Change: The Consultants Speak. It will be published by Quorom Books in January of 2002.
    In another cooperative effort, Dr. Calvin Jongsma, professor of mathematics, contributed two and a half chapters to Mathematics in a Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective. Edited by James Bradley and Russell Howell, the book is published by Eerdmans Publishing and was written under the auspices of the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship and with the support of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences.
    Mathematics in a Postmodern Age is written primarily for college mathematics majors, high school mathematics teachers, and college and university mathematics professors. The writers’ goal was to address issues of perspective in mathematics that they felt were inadequately treated by others. Divided into three parts, the book discusses the nature of mathematics, the influence of mathematics in our world, and various topics in mathematics and mathematics education in which faith plays an active role.
    As a historian of mathematics, Jongsma wrote about the role of mathematics in modern Western culture. He analyzed how mathematics came to be so important in our world, showing how mathematization is tied to Enlightenment views of rationality, truth, and science. He also showed how mathematics contributes to our knowledge of the world.
    “Writing the chapters helped me solidify my understanding of the important role mathematics has played throughout the development of Western culture,” says Jongsma, adding, “It helped me better understand the essentially religious character often ascribed to mathematical knowledge in modern thought, where mathematics is viewed by many as providing necessary and absolute truths about the underlying structure of our world.”
    His research was also beneficial for his teaching, especially the history of mathematics course, as it helped him demonstrate the impact mathematical ideas have had upon the development of our modern culture.
    Dr. Arnold Sikkema, professor of physics, contributed a chapter to Living in the Lamblight: Christian and Contemporary Challenges to the Gospel. The book, edited by Hans Boersma and published by Regent College Publishing, is a collection of essays that were originally given as the Lamblight Lectures at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. Aimed at a popular audience, the book explores the implications of a Christian world view for contemporary, postmodern society.
    Sikkema’s contribution draws on research and thinking he has done over the past two years on how Christians perceive God’s acting in the world. In “Death of the Watchmaker: Modern Science and the Providence of God,” Sikkema deals with the seemingly opposing notions held by many Christians that God predetermines all events and at the same time intervenes in our world in ways that are not scientifically explainable as a result of prayer. Sikkema reflects on how God responds to prayer and poses the possibility that these two views may not need to be set against each other.
    A fourth book that includes many Dordt faculty contributors is Marginal Resistance, a festscrift for retired philosophy and theology professor Dr. John C. Vander Stelt. Published by Dordt Press, the volume was edited by Dr. John Kok and contains chapters by Dr. Charles Adams, Dr. Sydney Hielema, and Dr. John Van Dyk. Adams titled his essay “Meaning, Authenticity, and Passion: Directions for a philosophy of engineering design;” Hielema wrote “Reclaiming the Apex of the Triangle: Scholarship as Pilgrimage;” and Van Dyk contributed “What We Teach vs. How We Teach: Unscientific Musings on Vander Stelt’s Danger # 5.”

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