April's report is a bittersweet one: news about the departures of several well-loved colleagues as well as updates about some new hires. There's also a quick look back over the events of the recent Gordon College Symposium.
I missed the Symposium this year since I was part of an accreditation visit in Athens, where the idea of a Symposium actually began. In Greek, Symposium literally means "to drink together"—though apparently discourse, not drink, was the prime activity at the Gordon College event two weeks ago. "Is not the road to Athens just made for conversation," asks Glaucon in Plato's Symposium. "And so we walked and talked of the discourses of love."
During my own walks along the roads of Athens I climbed up on the ragged marble crest of Mars Hill, rested on top of the Acropolis, and lingered in the stillness of Orthodox sanctuaries. That visit to Greece also prompted some reflections on Easter, drawn in part on Paul's own discourse on love to the Corinthians.
Best wishes as we prepare for the stretch run of the semester.
EASTER IN THE RUINS
In early spring the scarlet poppies of Greece fill the cracks of the marble ruins. They crop up alongside the dust of tourist paths, and mix with the thistles in the open grasslands, not so much in clusters but in scattered blossoms, like drops of blood sprinkled over the fields.
When I visited Ancient Corinth some ten days ago there were a few poppies growing between the rust-colored stones of the Bema, or the public rostrum, where the Apostle Paul appeared in 51 A.D. before a Roman tribunal, accused of “persuading people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.” The proconsul—brother of the philosopher Seneca—dismissed the charge even before the defendant had an occasion to speak. This was, after all, an intramural quarrel, weighty perhaps for the poor Jewish community but irrelevant to the edicts of Rome.
FAREWELL: MIA CHUNG
After twenty years of service at Gordon, music professor and artist-in-residence Mia Chung will be moving on to a new challenge. She explains: "In July, my family and I will be relocating to the Philadelphia area as my husband, John Yee, has received and accepted a position as head medical officer (US) at Astra Zeneca, a pharma/biotech company. In the spring of 2012, I will join the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Though I am resigning from my role as professor of music at Gordon, I will continue as artist-in-residence with monthly visits to perform and teach privately."
During her tenure at Gordon, Mia has been a splendid artist, winning wide acclaim for concert appearances, especially her vibrant interpretations of Beethoven. She also developed a remarkable gift for blending lectures with concerts, offering nuanced, richly informed explanations of a composition's historical context and aesthetic innovations as a preface to her performances. Despite her great prestige, I have always appreciated her unpretentious spirit, her concern for the welfare of students and colleagues, and her heartfelt desire to nurture the spiritual life of the community.
NEW HIRE: WALTER CHO, DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY
Walter Cho joins the Biology faculty in a one-year position, filling in for Dorothy Boorse while she is on a grant-funded leave to write an environmental science textbook . With a bachelor's degree from Harvard and a doctorate from M.I.T., Walter is currently serving as a postdoctoral investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he is studying the diversity of invertebrate associates of deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico. He will be in the Gulf for the next month, measuring the impact of the major oil spills on marine life.
FAREWELL: DAVE MATHEWSON
This summer Dave Mathewson will move from the rocky shoals of Cape Ann to the Rocky Mountains, as he will assume a new post at Denver Seminary. The move will bring him closer to his son, who lives in Colorado.
An associate professor of biblical studies, Dave has taught a wide range of courses, from large survey sections, to Greek seminars, to sections of The Great Conversation. He has also published broadly on New Testament topics, especially on the Book of Revelation. On more than one occasion I have tapped his expertise when I needed to know something about how Puritan and Reformation thinkers read the prophecies of the final book of the Bible. I will miss those conversations, as well as his judicious and discerning manner in assessing any issue.
NEW HIRE: ANDREW MOORE, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS
Andrew Moore will join the Department of Economics and Business next semester as an associate professor. A certified public accountant in both Texas and Pennsylvania, Andrew holds an M.S. in management from Troy State University, which he completed through a special program in the Netherlands (right), and an M.S. in Christian counseling from Philadelphia Biblical University. Over the past fifteen years he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at a number of institutions, most recently Eastern University. Already he is quite familiar with the College: three of his daughters and two of his sons-in-law are Gordon graduates.
FAREWELL: JULIE RAY
Julie Ray, associate dean for the first-year experience, will be moving back home to Mississippi this summer to be closer to her family. In her many roles—whether it has been as our Orientation program director or as chair of the Provost's Commission for the First-Year Experience—Julie has enthusiastically tried to make Gordon a home for students even as it had become a new home for her.
"Nine years ago," she states, "I never believed I would have been able to grow to call this place home. I have loved working here and am grateful for all the opportunities God and you have afforded me for friendship, collaboration, professional development and meaningful work. It is a tough place to walk away from."
I am grateful for the many ways that Julie strove to build collaboration between faculty and staff, and to keep our eyes focused on the things that mattered most to students during their times of transition.
NEW HIRE: JUSTIN TOPP, DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY
Justin Topp comes to Gordon's Department of Biology from North Park University in Chicago. Justin earned his Ph.D. in biological chemistry at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center. A molecular and cell biologist, Justin's current research involves the collection and characterization of tick-borne disease agents in the Chicago area, work which he hopes to extend to Massachusetts with the transition to Gordon. Justin is also deeply interested in the interaction of science and religion, and maintains a personal blog on this subject and others.
FAREWELL: ANDENE CHRISTOPHERSON
For the past five years, Andene Christopherson has been the director of worship at Gordon. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, she is especially interested in the arts in worship, and anticipates pursuing doctoral studies in that field. She is leaving Gordon after this term to return to her native Minnesota. I have greatly enjoyed working with her on several programs, and especially appreciate the thoughtfulness with which she has tried to integrate many elements—and many people—into the services. Greg Carmer observes: "Over the past five years, Andene has supervised the student Worship Cabinet and help craft about 300 chapel services. The Chapel program has benefited immeasurably from her theological insight, her aesthetic sensitivity, her professional competence, and personal charm. I am excited to see what lies ahead for her, but will greatly miss her as a collaborator in this work."
Bryan Auday, professor of psychology, and Dick Stout, professor of mathematics, have been elected to serve new three-year terms on the Faculty Senate. Congratulations to both of them.
Photo: Gordon College Senate for 2011-2012. Left to right: Roger Green, Jeff Miller, Bryan Auday, Tim Sherratt, Val Gin, Dick Stout and Marv Wilson.
CONGRATULATIONS: PILAR PÉREZ SERRANO
Congratulations to Pilar Pérez Serrano, who defended her dissertation entitled "La rebelión de Los esclavos: tragedia y posibilidad en el teatro de Raúl Hernández Garrido" ("The rebellion of Los esclavos: tragedy and possibility in the theatre of Raúl Hernández Garrido") this past month. Once a few revisions are complete this summer, Pilar will graduate with her Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Boston College.
CONGRATULATIONS: DESE REVIEW
Last week Gordon's education program and music education program underwent a thorough review by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE, formerly the Department of Education). At the exit interview, the team had high praise for the faculty and program. They specifically cited the overall quality of the reports, the rapport with community partners, the demand for Gordon graduates, and the strength of the field experiences throughout the curriculum. They also noted the cooperation of Arts and Sciences faculty, the maturity of our undergraduates, the collegiality of the department and College, the modeling of pedagogical techniques, and the integration of theory and practice. Congratulations to all involved for such an encouraging review.
KIRK McCLELLAND TO DIRECT INDIA STUDIES PROGRAM
Former director of service learning and missions at Gordon, Kirk McClelland has been selected by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities to direct the new India Studies program, centered in Coimbatore in the southern province of Tamil Nadu. He and his wife Hannah will start their work there this summer. The program will be based at Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Sciences, a Church of South India institution with its own affiliation to the state-sponsored Bharathiar University. In December of 2009, I was a member of the team that explored possibilities for the program, and I look forward to sharing some thoughts with Kirk about the development of the curriculum. I know that he wants to get some counsel from a few other Gordon colleagues as well. When I was there, the Bishop Appasamy soccer team (right) presented me a college jersey, so I will loan it to Kirk so he can wear it upon his arrival at campus!
"EN CAMINO" WITH THE FOURTH GRADERS OF LYNN
On Friday, April 15, education students from Melissa Winchell's urban education course, along with Gordon in Lynn interns and staff, hosted En Camino--an event for all the fourth graders (about 80 students) from Harrington Public School in the city of Lynn. This is the third year of En Camino (Spanish for "On the Path") as a Gordon partnership with the Harrington Public School. The fourth graders come to Gordon in the spring for a morning of exposure to college and then return again in the fall for leadership development. "Access to college is one major issue in urban education,” says Jennifer Brink, coordinator of academic programs for Gordon in Lynn. "By hosting En Camino, our Gordon students have an opportunity to take their learning out of the classroom. Plus, the teachers at Harrington love the learning that takes place for their kids when they see what college is really like."
MAY TERM SET FOR BIG SUMMER
Under the guidance of Stan Reczek (right), our third annual May Term has taken flight: more than 235 students are currently enrolled, virtually double last year's impressive showing. All told there are 33 courses, nine of which are being offered on-line in an experimental endeavor. We anticipate that the on-line courses will be attractive to many students who would prefer working with a Gordon professor rather than taking a course at local university or community college during the summer.
Many of the strongest enrollments, so far, are in basic Core classes: New Testament, Christian Theology, Historical Perspectives on Culture, Belief and Civilization, and The Scientific Enterprise. And Irv Levy already has 17 students signed up to spend May with Organic Chemistry!
ELIJAH PROJECT: MANHATTAN QUEST TRIP
Nine members of the Elijah Project joined Greg Carmer in Manhattan over spring break to explore different means of pursuing the Kingdom of God in the city. In addition to volunteering at the World Vision field site in the Bronx and visiting the Bowery Mission, the class met with Makoto Fujimura and the staff of the International Arts Movement. Before heading home they visited Jeff White at New Song Community Church in Harlem and stopped at Freedom Farm, a Christian community which "strives for peace and justice by teaching alternatives to violence, sustainable agriculture, and helping youth discover God's transformative love for each of us and for one another."
The 24th annual LEAD conference is scheduled for April 29-May 1 at Brookwoods Conference Center on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. We're expecting 140-170 new and returning student leaders. The LEADWorks theme connects the mission and values of a Gordon education to the practical ways in which student leadership enriches the process of learning for many students. Plenary sessions are presented by campus staff this year, and a special "Coffee with the Carlbergs" allows Jud and Jan some parting words about leadership and learning on Saturday night.
SYMPOSIUM BY THE NUMBERS
Students who shared their reflections on the unrest in the Middle East after being evacuated from study abroad programs in Egypt this semester.
Students who won the seventh annual JAF debate, arguing the negative case for the resolution that “A free market economy provides the greatest hope to alleviate poverty and is compatible with Christian ethics.”
Icons crafted and presented by students in Jennifer Hevelone-Harper’s HIS341 course.
Total Symposium events, ranging from a brass quintet performance to a presentation on “Medicine and Global Missions” to a sculpture contest using recycled materials. Thirteen of these events drew 50+ attendees.
Students who watched Gum for My Boat, a documentary about a surf club for impoverished children in Bangladesh and the most heavily attended of seven documentaries or films shown during Symposium.
Students who “walked the course of American education,” a creative, self-guided presentation that revealed the array of educational paths and the circumstantial forces that can shape those paths for students of all ages in the United States.
Students who read for thirty or more minutes during the Jenks Library’s “Big Read on the Quad” (perhaps lured there by the homemade cookies, zero of which remained by the event’s end).
Total Christian Life and Worship credits earned by students during Symposium
(or, on average, 1.5 credits per student).