Dordt College News

New provost, faculty at Dordt College this year

August 19, 2008

The new academic year at Dordt College will begin August 27 with another increase in students, a new provost, and 14 new faculty members.

New Faculty

Erik Hoekstra

Dr. Erik Hoekstra will serve as Dordt College’s first provost, appointed to that position last spring as part of an administrative restructuring plan. As provost, he will oversee the academic and student services divisions of the college, reporting to and making recommendations to college president, Dr. Carl E. Zylstra. As provost, Hoekstra has faculty status and will have occasional teaching responsibilities.

Hoekstra earned his Ph.D. in organizational leadership and human resource development at Iowa State University; his M.A. in international business at The Rotterdam School of Management-Erasmus University; and his B.A. in history and philosophy at Trinity Christian College.

Hoekstra was previously a partner and principal at Harbor Group in Sioux Center, serving as a business acquisition specialist, and as CEO of Harbor Consulting Group. Before his move to Harbor Group, Hoekstra was employed at Dordt College, serving from 1997-2000 as an instructor of business management, business department chair, and director of the business internship program. He and his wife, Barb, have four children, Arie and Max (12), Karl (11) and Zoe (9).

Namsuk Choi

Dr. Namsuk Choi is an Assistant Professor of Economics who earned his Ph.D. and his M.A. in Economics at the University of Colorado, and comes to Dordt from Boulder, CO, where he taught Principles of Economics and Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory at the University of Colorado. Dr. Choi also has an M.A. in Applied Economics from Southern Methodist University and a B.A. in Economics from Kookmin University in Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Choi said he hopes to help students develop a better world view in economics, and is convicted that Dordt College is the best place for himself and for his students to become competent and knowledgeable disciples of Jesus. Namsuk and Yonchin Choi have a two-year-old son named June.

Jessica Clevering

Jessica Clevering is an Instructor of Psychology currently working on her Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate University. She received her M.A. in psychology from Claremont, and a B.A. in psychology from Calvin College, and has been employed as a tutor and teacher assistant in research methods at Claremont Graduate University; a psychology lab manager at Harvey Mudd College; and a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) in Laos, Korea, and Eastern Europe through various agencies (including CRWRC).

Laremy De Vries

Laremy De Vries is an Instructor of Philosophy during the one-year sabbatical of Dr. Roger Henderson. De Vries earned his M.A. in the Christian Studies of Science and Society at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science at Dordt College (Class of ’02).

“It is refreshing in some ways to move back to the Midwest after a stint in other places in the world,” says De Vries. “It’s good to be reminded of the friendliness of Sioux Center, the deliciousness of Iowa sweet corn and tomatoes, and Christianity that pervades many aspects of the community.” Laremy and his wife, Rebecca (Schelhaas, Class of ’02), have an infant daughter, Cornelia (Corrie) Ann.

De Vries commented, “I know Dordt, I respect and promote the philosophical underpinnings of the college, and I see this worldview as an important thing to be taught … I’m passionate about the content, which is a basic necessity for any work, but especially in this task as a college professor.”

Matt Drissell

Matt Drissell is an Instructor of Art with a M.F.A. in Painting from New York Academy of Art, a B.A. from Wheaton College (IL), and an art teaching certification from Cardinal Stritch University. Drissell previously taught middle school art at Milwaukee, WI, and high school art in St. Louis, MO.

“My family and I are grateful to be a part of the Dordt Community and look forward to new friends and experiences,” said Drissell. He and his wife, Becky, have two daughters, Bella (5) and Natalee (3).

Brian Hoekstra

Brian Hoekstra is an Instructor of Business Administration with a M.B.A. from the University of Sioux Falls and a B.S. in Business Administration from Trinity Christian College. Hoekstra has been teaching business classes at Northwest Iowa Community College for seven years, and is currently serving on the school board at Hull Christian School. He and his wife, Deanne, have two daughters, Shaina (10) and Sage (5).

Tim Klein

Tim Klein is an Instructor of Business Education with a B.A. in Business Education from Dordt College (Class of ’05). Klein has been teaching high school business courses at Remsen-Union High School for the past three years. He and his wife, Melissa (Eekhoff, Class of ’05), are excited to return to the Dordt College community, and Klein says he’s looking forward to working alongside Christian faculty and staff.

Gwen Marra

Gwen Marra is an Instructor of Education who earned her Curriculum and Instruction and a B.A. in Elementary Education at Dordt College (Class of ’90, 2004). She has been an adjunct instructor at Dordt since 2004, as well as being employed as a kindergarten teacher at the Sioux Center Christian School, and owning/operating The Learning Ship Preschool in Sioux Center. Gwen and her husband, Kris, are the parents of four children, KC (15), Maddie (13), Dustin (10), Jordyn (9).

Bradley Miedema

Bradley Miedema is an Instructor and Director of Instrumental Music who earned his M.M. with an emphasis in conducting from Western Washington University, where he also received a graduate assistantship appointment during which he conducted the Symphonic Band, played in the Wind Symphony, and taught a lab band methods course. He earned his B.A. at Dordt College (Class of ’93), with an endorsement in K-12 choral/instrumental music education. He has 15 years teaching experience in schools in Iowa and Washington (most recently at Sioux Center Christian School) and a wide range of experience teaching band, choir, orchestra, general music, and private instrumental lessons. Bradley and his wife, Lisa, have three children, Brendan (11), Brianna (8), and Gabrielle (5).

“The Dordt College community had a significant impact upon me as a pre-service teacher, and now I am eager to take my place on the other side of the podium to continue the task of equipping young people for service in His kingdom,” said Miedema. “I felt the calling to teach in an institution that provides a thoroughly Christian, distinctly Reformed, and highly excellent education.”

Sharon Rosenboom

Sharon Rosenboom is an Instructor of Education who earned her M.S. in Mathematics Education at Florida State University and a B.A. in Elementary Education at Dordt College (Class of ’96) specializing in Special Education. She is also a part-time resource coordinator at Orange City Christian School and has been an upper elementary and middle school teacher at Orange City Christian. Rosenboom has previously worked as a marketing/admissions coordinator and a life and office skills instructor at Village Northwest Unlimited. Sharon and her husband, Brian, have three children, Jordan (17), Autumn (12), and Megan (8).

“The faculty and students have made me feel very welcome, and I have enjoyed getting to know the Dordt family,” Rosenboom commented. “As we begin a new year, I look forward to interacting with students and colleagues in a variety of ways and working together to serve God and others.”

Timothy Rylaarsdam

Timothy Rylaarsdam is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Political Studies and Criminal Justice. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law and a B.A. from Dordt College (Class of ’88), majoring in political science and business administration. He was most recently employed in litigation management at Gateway, Inc. Rylaarsdam has been an adjunct instructor at Dordt since 1992, teaching courses such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Constitutional Law, and State and Local Politics. He has also been a prosecutor and victim-witness coordinator; was a member of the Iowa County Attorneys Association (ICAA) Legislative Committee; and trained law enforcement personnel. He was also one of two assistant county attorneys in Iowa to receive the ICAA Staff Attorney Award of Merit in 1997.

Rylaarsdam says, “I have found teaching and interacting with students as an adjunct instructor at Dordt very rewarding and look forward to the opportunity to continue doing so in this position.” He has two children, James (17) and Jenna (14)

Howard Schaap

Howard Schaap is an Instructor of English who earned his M.A. in English at SDSU, and a B.A. in Literature and Writing at Bethel College. Schaap has been teaching English at Southwest Christian for the past 10 years and says he’s looking forward to being part of Dordt’s learning community. Howard and his wife, Sy, have three children, Sommer (7), Micah (4), and Aidan (3).

Justin Vander Werff

Justin Vander Werff is an Instructor of Engineering who earned his M.S. in Civil Engineering (structural emphasis) at Iowa State University and a BS.E. (mechanical emphasis) at Dordt College (Class of 2000). He is a licensed professional engineer in Indiana and Missouri, where he has been a structural engineer at Superior Engineering since 2003, designing structural steel and reinforced concrete structures for a variety of clients in heavy industry including steel mills, oil refineries, chemical plants, and power plants. Vander Werff was awarded the ISU Graduate Student Research Award and was previously a lecturer in the civil engineering department there. Justin and his wife, Miranda, have a 16-month-old daughter, Lydia.

“I am excited to be teaching engineering at Dordt and hope to apply the real-world experience that I have gained from working in industry to the classroom setting,” said Vander Werff, who added that he’s looking forward to helping students become knowledgeable and influential Christian engineers in today’s society.

Dale Zevenbergen

Dale Zevenbergen is an Instructor of Business Administration who earned his M.A. in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix, his B.A. at Dordt College (Class of ’91) and passed the Certified Public Accountant exam in 1993.

Zevenbergen will serve Dordt College in two capacities, as a faculty member in the Business Department and as a special gifts officer in the Advancement Office. He has been an adjunct instructor in Dordt’s business administration program since 1999, and has been a cost management specialist for the Pella Corporation (four years); regional vice-president for Primerica Financial Services (four years); and since 1999 held positions at Pella Corporation’s Sioux Center plant, most recently as a subsidiary business manager. Dale and his wife, Tammy (also Class of ’91), have four children: Jenna, 13; Kylee, 11; Rayanna, 5; and Braden, 3.

“We’re very passionate about Dordt and all that it is about,” said Zevenbergen. “I've enjoyed being part of the education process as an adjunct instructor, and I’m excited to join the Dordt family on a full time basis — in the classroom working and learning with future Christian business leaders, as well as visiting with the broader Dordt community in support of the institution.”

David Zwart

David Zwart is an Assistant Professor of History who is completing his doctoral work at Western Michigan University, earned his M.A. in History at California State University, and a B.A. in History at Dordt (Class of ’99). Zwart has been a Doctoral Associate in Western Michigan University’s history department for the past four years, teaching American history, methods for secondary history teachers, and introduction to history. While at WMU he received a Michigan Supreme Court Fellowship for research, as well as a Visiting Research Fellowship from the Van Raalte Institute at Hope College in 2008, providing support for his dissertation research. Zwart was named Western Michigan University’s Outstanding Graduate Teacher in 2006. He previously taught middle school social studies at Central Valley Christian Middle School in Visalia, CA.

David and his wife, Cresta (Dordt Class of ’99), have two sons, Benjamin (5) and Nathanial (1). Zwart says he’s excited to work at an institution “that values my insights as a Christian historian.”

Fall classes begin at Dordt College on August 27, with a convocation ceremony being held Thursday, Aug. 28, in the B.J. Haan Auditorium at 11 a.m. The speaker will be Dr. Carl E. Zylstra, whose topic will be, “Education by the Book.”

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