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Dordt College News

Two Dordt College professors retire

May 6, 2013

Dordt College will bid farewell to two longtime professors at the end of this academic year. Both have contributed to the college in significant ways both inside and outside of the classroom, and the college is grateful for their faithful service.

Dr. Calvin Jongsma, professor of mathematics, retired after 31 years of teaching at Dordt College. Jongsma taught a variety of mathematics courses and was known by his students for his rigorous and effective teaching. He wrote the textbooks for two of his courses and has used them for two decades, and he has served as chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Jongsma was also influential in institutional matters. He was a primary author of the Dordt College Educational Framework, a guiding document for organizing Dordt’s curricular program from an intentionally Christian perspective. He also chaired several committees that helped set the direction for the college.

In a tribute video produced by the college, History Department Colleague Paul Fessler expressed gratitude for Jongsma’s leadership. “He truly embraced the vision of what Dordt is supposed to be, and he worked beyond his department to try to take the mission of Dordt and make it larger,” Fessler said.

Dr. Dennis Vander Plaats, professor of education, has retired after 20 years of teaching at Dordt College. Vander Plaats was recognized and respected as a “quiet leader” within the education department, having served as chair during his tenure. Vander Plaats brought two decades of middle school classroom experience to Dordt’s education department.

Vander Plaats has long advocated for education that allows each student to achieve their potential in contrast to requiring that each student move ahead at the same pace. He believes that technology is making this approach to learning easier. He was recently awarded the 2013 Iowa Teacher Education Distinguished Service Award.

In a tribute video, Education Department Chair Tim Van Soelen explained Vander Plaats’s influence: “He does so much work behind the scenes. Two years ago our department was reviewed by the Iowa Department of Education, and we came through with flying colors. They left early because basically everything was in such good shape.”

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