Charged for the Liberal Arts

imagesLast May at the 2011 Commencement ceremony, Dr. Graeme Bird, associate professor of  linguistics and classics, received the College’s Junior Distinguished Faculty Award. Gordon tradition invites the recipient of the award to “charge” the students at the first chapel service of the following academic year. This morning, students, staff, faculty and Gordon’s new president, Dr. D. Michael Lindsay, gathered for chapel and heard Graeme’s talk on the value of a liberal arts education at Gordon. Below is the text of his talk:

Matriculation, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, By Graeme Bird

Good morning. According to the program, the title of my talk is “Charge.”

Should this be a noun or a verb?  It’s probably not the financial meaning that is intended here – hopefully you (or your parents) have taken care of tuition matters.

It’s probably not the verbal meaning – that would require an exclamation point, and would convey the meaning (#22a in the Oxford English Dictionary):

“To rush against or upon, with all one’s force, in a hostile way; to spur one’s horse against at full gallop; to bear down upon, make a violent onset on, attack or assail with impetuosity.”

No, I think a more timely definition is meaning #12 as given by the OED:

OED: 12. A task or duty laid upon one; commission, trust, responsibility . . .”

Thus I feel a sense of duty today, to share with you part of what I see as your responsibility while you are here at Gordon College.

So – why are you here?  Why are we all here?  What is Gordon College?

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New Faculty: Justin Topp

In preparation for the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, Faculty Central will highlight the new members of the full-time faculty over the next few weeks.

Justjtopp_2011_04_15_03_43_42in Topp joins Gordon’s department of biology this year as an associate professor. Justin earned his B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Iowa in 2000 and his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in 2005.  After three years of post-doctoral experience at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, he became an assistant professor of biology at North Park University in 2008.  Justin has research experience in a wide variety of areas of biology including membrane transport, cell signaling, alternative splicing, and most recently, genotyping of tickborne agents that cause infectious diseases such as Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis.  Justin is also very interested in science and religion, maintaining a blog and contributing academic works on the subject.

New Faculty: Andrew Stuart

In preparation for the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, Faculty Central will highlight the new members of the full-time faculty over the next few weeks.

photo_2011_03_23_03_53_33Andrew Stuart joins the department of economics and business this year as an assistant professor. Andrew earned his B.A. in Accounting and Business Administration at Gordon College in 2001 and his M.B.A. from the Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire in 2009. He spent three years working in the audit division for PricewaterhouseCoopers, while also obtaining his C.P.A. license. After leaving public accounting, Andrew has spent the last seven years working in higher education, first as the Accounting Manager for the University System of New Hampshire and most recently as the Director of Budgeting and Financial Planning at Gordon.

Beginning with Worship

photo.cfmOn Thursday, August 18, some 200 members of Gordon’s faculty, staff and student orientation staff gathered in the A.J. Gordon Memorial chapel to begin the 2011-2012 semester with worship. The service, led by Chapel Dean Greg Carmer, built on the tradition and mission of Gordon: to focus on the Giver of all good gifts at the start of a new academic year. Dr. Dan Russ, academic dean (pictured here), offered the message, a challenge to consider how change affects us. His talk, The Taste of New Wine, is published here:

“In about 24 hours we will welcome over 525 new students to Gordon College. They will make up about 1/3 of our student body, and their sheer numbers will demand a great deal from all of us: faculty, staff, and the O-Team who represent the other 2/3 of Gordon students. We, of course, welcome them and will work hard to be change agents in their lives so that they can become more the persons God has called them to be. However, we cannot forget that they, in turn will change us. By this I do not mean that they will change the mission and ethos of Gordon, but rather that their gifts and challenges, their personalities and accomplishments, their discoveries and questions will affect us their faculty, their classmates, their RAs and Resident Directors. Whether they are gifted leaders or dissenting contrarians, God will use them to make Gordon become more the community he is calling us to be.

On Monday of this week, we welcomed seven new faculty members whom we chose because we believe that their deep faith in Christ and their impressive academic credentials fit Gordon’s mission and vision of “freedom within a framework of faith.” We hope that they will grow and thrive as teachers and scholars in the Gordon ethos. But we must acknowledge and hope that they too will change us, just as so many of our colleagues have changed us over past years.

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Best Poem: “A Stadium Full of Bears”

Stevick_Mark_2008_11_20_11_44_57Real life often inspires our best creative efforts. Maybe that’s why one of Mark Stevick’s poem was recently selected to appear in an anthology edited by Jill Peláez Baumgaertner. The book, Imago Dei: Poems from Christianity and Literature, will be published by Abilene Christian University Press in 2012. The anthology is a collection of the best poems that have been published over the past sixty years in Christianity and Literature. Stevick, associate professor of English, has published numerous times and is a regular contributor to Gordon’s National Poetry Month Podcast Project each April. His selected poem, “A Stadium Full of Bears” appears here:

A Stadium Full of Bears
There are 7,500 bears in Pennsylvania. If you put
all those bears in a stadium––that’s a lot of bears. – my dad

As the rows fill up, there would be the usual
jostling and scuffles over seats. Even before

the kick–off, imagine the noise from the stands.

Think of the lines to the women’s rooms,

to say nothing of the tussles outside Gate E

to the cheap seats. Vendors hawk fresh peanuts

over a din of growls and complaints about

parking or ticket prices; chums discuss Greenpeace

or annual weight gain; someone points out how

you could make a killing here on smoked salmon;

and everyone is generally ignoring the scoreboard

and adjusting their scarves and seat cushions as they

assemble, everywhere a bear, a common species,

a stadium full of bears growling and shrugging

and sucking their paws, negotiating for a little

space and a decent view, getting ready––the bears

are getting ready for something to happen, something

important, something truly out of the ordinary.

New Faculty: Chad Stutz

In preparation for the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, Faculty Central will highlight the new members of the full-time faculty over the next few weeks.

StutzChad Stutz will join the Department of English this fall semester, coming to Gordon from the University of Mobile where he was an assistant professor of English for the past two years. Chad completed his undergraduate work at Wheaton College (IL) before earning his Masters at UNLV and his doctorate at Boston College. His teaching and research interests include British romanticism, Victorian literature and culture, and the intersection of Christianity and aesthetics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially among English and American evangelicals.

Health(y) Connections

Sometimes being Director of Pre-Health Professions at Gordon has its benefits. On Friday July 30, Dr. Craig Story was invited to participate in a lunchtime meeting of other health professions advisors in Boston, followed by free access to the National American Podiatric Medical Association Meeting being held this year at the Hynes Convention Center. Over a fantastic meal of steak tips and lobster, Story met Jeremy Cook, DPM, clinical instructor in surgery from Harvard Medical School, who is starting a new podiatric medicine residency program in Boston. Dr. Cook explained that it is very challenging to start a new residency program, and only podiatric medicine and family practice are allowed to do so due to shortages in these fields. Story said “At the meeting I gained a further appreciation for the amazing kinds of surgeries that can be done on the foot. Ask any podiatrist, and they will tell you that podiatric medicine is a very under appreciated, yet extremely rewarding career. I sometimes wonder why more Gordon students don’t consider this field.”
Pictured: Dr. Story holding a foot model from one of the many vendors at the meeting.

0729111500-01_2[1]Sometimes being Director of Pre-Health Professions at Gordon has its benefits. On Friday, July 30, Dr. Craig Story was invited to participate in a lunchtime meeting of other health professions advisors in Boston, followed by free access to the National American Podiatric Medical Association Meeting being held this year at the Hynes Convention Center. Over a fantastic meal of steak tips and lobster (is that healthy?), Story met Jeremy Cook, DPM, clinical instructor in surgery from Harvard Medical School, who is starting a new podiatric medicine residency program in Boston. Dr. Cook described the challenges of starting a new residency program, and how only podiatric medicine and family practice are allowed to do so due to shortages in these fields.

“At the meeting I gained a further appreciation for the amazing kinds of surgeries that can be done on the foot. Ask any podiatrist, and he or she will tell you that podiatric medicine is a very under appreciated, yet extremely rewarding career,” said Story. “I sometimes wonder why more Gordon students don’t consider this field.”

Pictured: Dr. Story holding a foot model from one of the many vendors at the meeting.

Band of Five Offer Summer Advising

DSC04979Call them Gordon’s Band of Five. In addition to already full summer schedules that include research projects, professional trips, and family vacations, these five full time faculty members have added another priority to their agenda: advising first year and transfer students in a new pre-orientation program. This Band of Five is comprised of a physicist, an accountant, a biologist, a minister and a literary critic, providing new students a range of insights and perspectives. And they’ve already answered a number of questions from incoming students about courses, majors and well, All Things Gordon. Meet them here.

New Faculty: Daniel Darko

In preparation for the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, Faculty Central will highlight the new members of the full-time faculty over the next few weeks.

DarkoDaniel Darko will join the Department of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries this fall as an associate professor. A native of Ghana, Daniel studied in his home country, Croatia, and the UK before earning his PhD at King’s College (University of London). He comes to Gordon most recently from Pennsylvania, where he taught courses in theology at the University of Scranton in addition to serving as both an associate pastor at Light of the World Church as well as the founding director of the non-profit Africa Potential, Inc. Daniel has a variety of research interests, but his scholarly work focuses primarily on the Pauline epistles and especially the letter to the Ephesians.

Business Scholarship in China

SLSS in front of the Bank of China, Hong Kong

For Gordon’s third international “China Seminar,”  Economics & Business professor Stephen Smith—in collaboration with Gordon’s Global Education Office, Biola University and Westmont College—led 9 students from Gordon, 16 from Biola and eight from Westmont, along with two other professors May 27 to June 15 on a 19-day intensive study tour, logging some 20,000 miles along the way. As part of the four-credit academic seminar, the group visited businesses, factories, agencies and churches, talked with owners and professors, and learned about the realities of economic growth in a nation that has experienced massive change over the past thirty years.

“China right now has shifted away from low tech, labor intensive production to more high tech production,” said Smith, who grew up in Hong Kong, earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University and now regularly visits China as part of his scholarship and research on international economic issues. “It’s a classic transition that happens in countries where you see economic development working.”

For more on this story, click here.

(Stephen Smith pictured here stands in front of the Bank of China in Hong Kong.)