Oct 22, 2021

Recent Faculty Keeping Busy in Retirement

A picture of a woman in a sweater smiling

What do professors do after they retire? These recent Dordt emeriti are continuing their academic interests—and so far, they love it.

Dr. Mary Dengler, professor emerita of English, says she feels busier than ever since retiring. She enjoys spending time reading novels and books on theology, political theory, as well as literary and art theory; watching films; and having conversations with her “contagiously witty husband.” She is also staying busy academically.

“I’m still editor of Pro Rege, Dordt’s academic journal. This position allows me to read and publish thought-provoking, timely articles and reviews from Reformed Christians who are guided by Scripture in their response to cultural changes and trends,” she says. “I am also editing a colleague’s excellent book on the Reformed Christian approach to Scripture and worldview, which has deepened my own understanding.”

Last year, she edited a creative non-fiction book by what she describes as “a former bad-biker-turned Christian.” And she’s on page 210 of her own memoir – “my most difficult project,” she says.

“Through retirement, I have learned that our lives are not our own, that God is sovereign, that he calls us each day to fulfill the work he sent us to do,” she adds. “Watching how he has orchestrated my times and places, even when I was unfaithful to him or unaware, takes my breath away.”

Dr. John Zwart, professor emeritus of physics, has continued to peer-review articles, give presentations, write articles, and attend conferences. He has also worked with the American Association of Physics Teachers to develop online educational materials for high schools and colleges.

“God has opened many doors for me,” he says. “I have a variety of interests and talents, a supportive spouse, and opportunities to study and to keep making physics my calling and career.” He plans to continue demonstrating his competency as a scientist, particularly since he sees it as an important way to be a witness to the world.

Dr. Duane Bajema, professor emeritus of agriculture, has kept his love for bees alive since he retired. He has taught many beekeeping classes in the area, where he educates others on everything from pollination to honey creation. He also taught a class at Dordt and has been known to guest lecture.

“I have also worked on a major USDA grant to promote pollinator education among high school teachers,” he says.

Alongside these scholarly pursuits, Dr. Bajema has enjoyed the opportunity to get more involved in the local community and to work on projects at home.

“I continue to learn as new problems and challenges arise. The challenges stimulate creativity, and I never cease to be in awe of the creation. I enjoy getting up early in the morning to contemplate the challenges of the day as I seek to continue serving the Lord in whatever I do,” he says.

View the video of Jake Van Wyk professor emeritus of art at youtube.com/watch?v=ppit0oetmiA.

Liz Frisbee ('23)

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