STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 11/22/2010

Faculty News

Distinguished Faculty
During this year’s 118th Commencement, two faculty members were honored for their service to the College, voted on by their colleagues and acknowledged during the graduation ceremony by Provost Mark Sargent.

The Senior Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to Irv Levy—professor of chemistry and computer science, and chair of the Chemistry Department—who has served students and colleagues in two departments since 1985. As part of his innovative leadership with green chemistry, Levy recently was elected national chair for the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Education Division.

“Irv’s endeavors have made Gordon a leader in green chemistry education, which has now won wide admiration and respect within both the academy and industry,” Sargent said. His class, Computers and Society, is one of the main reasons students are drawn to the computer science major. “He enthusiastically engages students in professional societies and is known for making complex materials accessible, relevant and invigorating,” Sargent continued. “I’ve always admired him for his commitment to leave the world God gave us a cleaner and healthier place for the next generation.”

The Junior Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to Steve Alter, associate professor of history, who has taught at Gordon since 2000. Alter’s work includes contributions ranging from biblical historicity and biological sciences to linguistics and jazz. Most recently he received a prestigious research grant from the American Philosophical Society.

“In addition to his intellectual curiosity, Steve is greatly appreciated around campus for his conscientious teaching, his thoughtful mentoring of young scholars and his unpretentious collegiality,” said Sargent. “He is always willing to step into the leadership role that is needed, whether that means serving as moderator of the Social Science Division, as chair of the History Department, or as the creator of new courses for education majors.” Sargent continued: “In my work with him I have been grateful for his ability to balance a rigorous mind with a charitable spirit, the capacity to ask the important questions in curriculum meetings or understand when he needs to set aside some of his own priorities to assist others.”

Wilson Honored with Festschrift Collection of Essays in New Book on Abraham
Marvin R. Wilson, professor of biblical and theological studies, never saw it coming. During Gordon’s 118th Commencement, his colleagues publicly surprised him with a book that honors his lifelong commitment to dialogue between Jews and Christians—just in time for his 75th birthday.

Perspectives on Our Father Abraham: Essays in Honor of Marvin R. Wilson is a collection of articles released by William B. Eerdmans Publishing. A wide range of Jewish and Christian scholars, all good friends of Wilson and experts in their fields, offered thoughtful studies related
to Abraham.

“Marv’s seminal text Our Father Abraham (William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989) has shown a generation of Christians the Jewish roots of their faith,” said Steven Hunt, associate professor of biblical studies and editor of the book. “With this new book, readers will benefit from groundbreaking studies of the patriarch in the Hebrew Scriptures, Christian Scriptures and other ancient and contemporary traditions.”

The book took three years to plan and was not easy to keep secret from Marv. Many of the contributors were present to celebrate the award, and a book signing followed Commencement Exercises.

“This book is a rare honor only extended to the best scholars in one’s field,” said President R. Judson Carlberg. “As thousands of Gordon College students will attest, he deserved it.”

The 400-page book is divided into three sections: “Abraham in the Hebrew Scriptures”; “Abraham in the Christian Scriptures” and “Abraham and Interdisciplinary Studies: The Dialogue Continues.”

Available for purchase at the Gordon College Bookstore, at, or on

Gordon's Newest Faculty Build on Global Scholarship
From Australia and Chile to Texas and Illinois, new faculty appointed for the 2010–2011 academic year come from all over the world, bringing distinguished scholarship and an array of cross-cultural experiences.

New faculty include:

Joel Boyd, Chemistry
Building on Gordon’s commitment to green chemistry, associate professor Joel Boyd comes from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, where he’s been teaching for the past nine years.

Jonathan Gerber, Psychology
Jonathan Gerber, assistant professor of psychology, joins the faculty from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, to teach research methods and social psychology.

Susan Kim, Music
Violinist Susan Kim will be the newest professor in the Music Department.
In addition to training at the Juilliard School and earning a doctor of education from Teachers College, Columbia University, Kim has also performed as a soloist and orchestra member throughout the world including Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Joyce Meeuwsen, Education
Joining the full-time faculty in the Education Department as an assistant professor is Joyce Meeuwsen, who taught elementary school for nine years before completing her Ed.D. in educational leadership, policy and organizations from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Her educational research interests include the impact of performance incentives on teacher quality, student achievement and organizational dynamics, and the intersection of policy and practice.

Moises Park, Language and Linguistics
Moises Park, assistant professor of Spanish, is originally from Santiago, Chile. As the newest member in the Department of Languages and Linguistics, Park, who just completed his Ph.D. in Latin American literature and cultures at the University of California (Davis), is also a musician, filmmaker and soccer player.

Kejun Song, Economics and Business
After teaching at Wheaton College last year, Kejun Song, assistant professor of economics, will join the Economics and Business Department, one of the largest majors on campus. With her B.S. from Central South University in China, Song received her Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine.

Jessica Ventura, Kinesiology
Jessica Ventura, assistant professor of kinesiology, comes from Austin, Texas, where she recently completed her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Ventura hopes that through completing the fun and interesting projects she has planned, students in her classes will gain a new appreciation for how their bodies move.

Retiring Faculty

Ann Ferguson, professor of English (see story)

Niles Logue, professor of economics and business, joined Gordon faculty in 2002 after 12 years as professor and administrator at Messiah College and many years in industry. He came as a seasoned and experienced professional, speaking with authority about both financial theory and practice.

Logue reshaped finance courses at Gordon and led in designing and establishing the finance major in the Economics and Business Department. He taught sound principles and practices, emphasized the negative impact of economic corruption on poor countries, and stressed how countries can and should regulate the finance industry.

Colleague Stephen Smith says of Niles that his record of financial predictions far exceed those of financial gurus in the media: “The Great Recession of 2008? The third floor of Frost knew all about it in 2006 and 2007 . . . typical of Niles’ bracing, clear-eyed insights, dished out for free at department meetings and hallway meetings alike.”

BU Leisure Studies Professor Gives Personal Collection Gordon Archives
It’s about more than play—much more. In fact, the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Gordon College has been committed to serious scholarship since it began 20 years ago. Recently, the program took another step forward when it was selected to house a generous collection of leisure studies resources.

Dr. Gerald Fain of Boston University, a leading scholar in the field, chose Gordon as the recipient of his personal collection because of his relationship with Peggy Hothem, professor of leisure studies, who initiated Gordon’s program in 1990. Fain—Hothem’s dissertation advisor in graduate school—said he believed leisure studies “should always be rooted
in spirituality.”

So when he retired he decided to donate his archives to Gordon. His gift includes over 400 books, resources and historical manuscripts that span the last 100 years of the recreation and leisure studies movement in the U.S.

Fain admires Gordon’s approach to studying leisure since it includes the classical, philosophical and liberal arts, as well as its faith-based approach to social justice.

“Not only will this collection benefit our students, but it will also be of great service for other scholars and practitioners in the field,” said Hothem. “There’s no doubt Dr. Fain’s gift will position our library and program with a collection that equals those of other top colleges with recreation and leisure studies.”

Biblical Geography in the Holy Land
Elaine Phillips, professor of biblical studies, led a trip during the summer to the Middle East, where she and her husband, Perry, co-taught a course on biblical geography.

Working with Jerusalem University College, Phillips spent three weeks in Israel teaching a class of students from Gordon College and Indiana Wesleyan University about the geographical settings and archaeological finds associated with biblical accounts. This was followed by a two-week extension course in Jordan, taught by another expert in the field.

“Once you’ve been to these places, it changes how you read Scripture,” said Phillips. She explained that knowing the setting in which to place biblical events provides a whole new depth of understanding to familiar passages and stories.

Phillips and her husband fell in love with the area some 30 years ago, having spent three years in Jerusalem after they finished seminary in 1976. She has a great appreciation for the intense cultural collisions apparent throughout old and modern Jerusalem: Jewish, Christian and Muslim; East and West. But she also said she enjoys the opportunities Israel presents, particularly in the southern wilderness, to withdraw from all of the city hubbub and live simply for a time. In these situations it becomes easier to understand the importance of the most basic necessities of life such as water. The images of water and rocks are woven throughout the Bible because they were such a part of the existence of God’s people.

One of her favorite parts of leading these trips is being able to see so many students come into Israel with fresh wonder and excitement. “It’s great to see students experience Jerusalem for the first time, walking through and around landmarks that have been in existence for more than two millennia. After three weeks in the land, the Bible names are no longer a foreign language; they have relationships with the geography that has significantly shaped the history of biblical narratives.”

Reczek Rocks
Recently Stan Reczek, assistant professor of physics, took students from his geology course on a site visit of tectonic proportions. They visited Northeastern University’s Marine Biology Center—not to study marine biology but to observe a variety of geologic structures that provide clues to how this part of New England
was formed.

Stan Reczek (pictured in a yellow hat) and his students studied sedimentary rock strata (limestone, siltstone and mudstone) deposited during the early Cambrian Period and containing fossils of some of the oldest shelled animals in the world. Much later, during the Permian Alleghanian orogeny (uplifting of the Appalachian Mountains), these strata were tilted by tectonic activity associated with the collision of portions of Europe and Africa with North America in the formation and then breakup of the supercontinent Pangea.

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