STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/19/2008

In Focus: Faculty

Faith and Foreign Policy Forum

Three Gordon faculty gave presentations at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP), a venue that regularly hosts programs and events surrounding presidential politics. It was a conference focused on faith and foreign policy with candidates from both major parties invited to participate. NHIOP is part of Saint Anselm College, the site of several recent presidential debates broadcast by CNN. Associate Professor of Biology Dorothy Boorse delivered a paper on religion and global environmental issues; Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, assistant professor of political studies, spoke on religion and immigration; and Professor of Political Studies Tim Sherratt addressed the theme "Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy Rhetoric." Harold Heie, former director of Gordon's Center for Christian Studies, was the conference host.

More about the New Hampshire Institute of Politics:

Institute for Public History Launched

Public history is history that is seen, heard, read, and interpreted by a popular audience. Public historians expand on the methods of academic history by emphasizing nontraditional evidence and presentation formats, reframing questions, and in the process creating a distinctive historical practice. It illustrates multiple perspectives about the past that often go unacknowledged, expanding beyond the use of written documents to include material culture and oral history.

The new Institute for Public History at Gordon College is a venture involving the History and Theatre Departments. It combines existing museum studies curricula, public history fellowships, and the interpretation of history through theatre. Assistant Professor of History David Goss '74 and Kristina Wacome Stevick '98, artistic director of History Alive!, will offer the courses Public History and Museum Studies; Museum Management; and the theatre course Historic Interpretation. Goss will offer a course on researching church cemetery records, using tombstones as resources and starting an archival collection at a church. Stevick will build on the tradition of History Alive!, the longstanding program that oversees performances of Cry Innocent in Salem, Massachusetts.

The Institute offers field trips to New England's best museums and historic sites; guest lectures from some of the nation's leading museum and public history professionals; internships at many of New England's most highly rated museums and historic sites; job placement in some of the area's top museums; and a minor in historical interpretation working with a long-established program in historic Salem. History Alive! presents historical stories through interactive theatre involving both actors and audience, hoping to broaden an understanding of the past and to relate it to the present.

Goss spent 25 years in museum administration before coming to Gordon in 2000. Stevick has been at Gordon for 13 years, first as a student actor, then company director, director of education and finally artistic director in 2006.

Department of Public History:

Abramo Nostro Padre

Last fall Dr. Marvin Wilson was invited to Italy by a group of evangelical Protestant organizations to lecture for a special occasion. Under the leadership of Serenissima International, these groups raised funds to publish Our Father Abraham in Italian--a four-year project. (The English edition of Our Father Abraham is in its 22nd printing). Serenissima raised enough funds to give a copy of Dr. Wilson's book to all rabbis and professors of religion in Italy. The book was formally introduced at a four-day Abrahamo Nostro Padre Conference in Florence, where Wilson delivered three keynote lectures. The conference was attended by more than 600 Italians, many coming from southern Italy including Sicily. Wilson also gave lectures in two cities north of Venice and visited students and faculty at Gordon's program in Orvieto, Italy.

Museum Studies and Public History Internships

Under the direction of Assistant Professor of History David Goss, history majors interested in following a concentration in public history and students majoring in other disciplines may now take a minor in public history. Their internship placements allow them to receive professional training in museum work. Recent internships in this program have included a range of settings and experiences, including curatorial positions at Salem Maritime National Historic Site and at the Peabody Essex Museum (pictured at left) in Salem, Massachusetts; museum-interpreter positions at sites owned by Historic New England; archiving internships with the Patton Family Homestead; and a marketing internship with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Wired for Sport
Story by Valerie J. Gin

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper Thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, if with His love He befriend thee.
--Joachim Neander, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (1680)

While on sabbatical, I had the luxury of reading, reflecting, lecturing and writing--"ponder[ing] anew what the Almighty can do." Alone and quiet, I was keenly aware that "His goodness and mercy here daily attend" me.

I had the privilege of writing the sports ethics curriculum for the International Sport Coalition, a network of global sport leaders, and then teaching it to students at the International Sport Leadership Schools in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and Chennai, India. In November 2006 in Pattaya, Thailand, I shared with 50 leaders from around the world, training and providing each with a CD of lecture notes and PowerPoint slides.These leaders will improve the material by adapting it to their own cultural context as they teach future leaders in their own regions.

I also wrote a paper, "Reversing the Curse: Practicing the Presence and Presents of God in Sport," to be included as a chapter in the forthcoming book The Image of God in the Human Body: Essays on Christianity and Sports.

As I pondered how to positively impact sport,, an online community promoting the value and love of sport, was birthed. People who love sport from over 40 countries regularly log on. The site's home page changes daily, and we feature stories and special connection sites (Athlete to Athlete, Coach to Coach, etc.). Contributors include university and high school coaches, elite and college athletes, athletic directors, athletic trainers, chaplains from the Indiana Fever and Philadelphia Phillies, and several Gordon student-athletes and alums.

Grateful and humbled, I continue to "ponder anew what the Almighty can do" as I strive to be an agent of change and redemption in the world of sport and in my classroom at Gordon.

Valerie J. Gin. Ed.D., is associate professor of recreation and leisure studies and department chair. She writes and does research on sport ethics.

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Museum Studies