Gordon Tradition: Moving into the Best Year Yet

 Gordon begins each new academic year with a matriculation chapel and hears from last spring’s distinguished professor. In her talk, “The Best Shape of Your Life,” Valerie Gin, professor /chair of recreation & leisure studies and 2013 Distinguished Senior Faculty,  challenged students to consider how trust and regiments could translate into their best efforts for the new year. Her speech is reprinted below.

“The Best Shape of Your Life”

By Valerie Gin

When I told my Mom I was asked to speak at Matriculation Chapel, she wondered why I was asked.  When I told her it was because I received the faculty award, without hesitating she told me to, “GIVE IT BACK!”  My mom was horrified and worried that I had to speak in front of so many and now I think I should have listened to her. Well, at least I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to wear.

I am here today because I am blessed by faculty and staff colleagues who support, encourage and pray for me; wonderful students and the Lord’s generosity, grace and goodness. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach at Gordon College. I thank you all.

Wouldn’t it be great to start off this year in the best shape of your life and better yet, maintain it?  Perhaps some of you are there, others not quite. Whether you are there or not, Proverbs 3 provides wonderful guidance in how to prolong life, bring peace and prosperity, win favor and a good name in the sight of God and others, be on a straight path and bring health and nourishment to our bones.  Sounds like great shape to me!

How do we get and stay in shape?  Well, you are already off to a good start because you are at a state of the art boot camp/training facility with the best trainers available. The drill sergeants—I mean professors and staff—will provide a regimen so that you won’t easily forget what you have been taught. It’s our job to ensure that you write on the tablet of your hearts and not just your iPads.

We are professors because we profess what we believe.  Our profession of God’s teaching, commands, love and faithfulness are embedded in who we are and what we teach.  The Gordon basic workout/core classes are designed to develop and strengthen your CORE.  This tremendous workout, premeditated by the faculty, ensures that your mental, spiritual, emotional, social and physical muscles are developed in symmetry. Have you ever seen people who only work out their upper body and then have skinny chicken legs? Back problems are at an epidemic because we have stronger quads and weak hamstrings and abs.  But if you work on the CORE regimen and do your daily reps, you will be well balanced and in great shape.

I have had personal trainers before they were in vogue.  I’d like to share part of my training history with you to encourage you in your training. Continue reading

Six Faculty + Summer Grants = Interesting Scholarship, Part III

Each summer at Gordon, the Provost’s Office invites applications for small grants that Faculty can use toward ongoing research and scholarship in between academic years. This summer, six were awarded stipends, ranging in projects from screenwriting and data reviews to humanitarian logistics and fiction writing. Here are profiles of the final two recipients: (Read about the others HERE)

In between travel to scout locations and research, Toddy Burton, assistant professor of communication arts, has been completing a feature screenplay for a spring 2014 production that coincides with her sabbatical then.  In addition to her other scholarship and award winning films, Burton’s current project will explore the genres of drama and comedy. Here’s how she described her creative process for the development grant:The undertaking will involve revising different projects I have been developing, resulting in selection of the script that I will then lock into a production-ready draft. Work will include writing, soliciting feedback and launching of pre-production strategies. Additionally, I am overseeing an independent study this semester (with a film student) to shoot a short based on one of the feature ideas. The resulting film will used in fundraising efforts for the feature. Some of the work this summer will involve completing post-production and distribution on that short film.”

Kaye Cook, professor of psychology, has been continuing her scholarship on, “Teaching Integration, and Understanding Alumni Views of God.”  For her two-part summer project, Cook has been preparing an article for a special edition of the Journal of Psychology and Theology on faith-learning integration in developmental psychology, co-authoring it with Kathleen Leonard (University of Massachusetts—Lowell, Gordon graduate). Their goals are to summarize contemporary perspectives, teaching strategies, and scholarly resources, and to develop materials and propose creative pedagogical strategies for use in the field. Some of Cook’s students are helping with the review of current material. 

Here’s what Cook wrote on the second part of her project: “I have the transcriptions of 120 interviews with Gordon alumni, which current students and I will code for alumni views of God. After a review of the data, I believe they will challenge Chris Smiths’ well-respected description of emerging adult religiosity as marked by MTD (moralistic, therapeutic, deism). MTD refers to a belief in God that God is moralistic (i.e., the source of morals), therapeutic i.e., God is primarily a problem-solver), and deistic (i.e., God as distant and uninvolved in everyday lives). I expect to prepare a publishable manuscript of these data for a peer-reviewed journal and/or write it into a chapter I write on ‘Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood’ this fall.”