By Taylor Bradford
As another school year comes to a close, the Gordon community must say goodbye to some beloved professors as they enter a new chapter of their lives.
Professors Roger Green, Moises Park, Stephen Smith and Tim Ferguson-Sauder will not be returning at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. Tal Howard, who has been on sabbatical, and his wife, Agnes, are also leaving.
For Green, there is nothing better than getting the opportunity to study and teach. To do both of those at Gordon College and Barrington College for 43 years was even better as he was surrounded by wonderful colleagues and insightful students.
He said, “I am a student by nature so to get paid to study and teach I thought, ‘What could be better?’”
Green got his undergraduate from Temple University in Philadelphia and then went to Asbury Theological Seminary. He acknowledges that seminary was a big milestone in his spiritual and academic walk.
“It was during seminary that I observed the professors teaching biblical studies and theology and thought, ‘I like that!” he said.
After seminary, Green went on to receive a Master of Theology degree from Princeton and then a PhD from Boston College.
He was hired by Marvin Wilson in 1970 to teach biblical studies at Barrington College. He would leave for three years to teach at Asbury University but returned to teach at Barrington and then Gordon
He has loved teaching at the college, but it is time for him and his wife to start a new adventure. Green and his wife, Karen, are currently living in their retirement home in Danvers and will be spending the next couple of years traveling internationally.
Most of the traveling that they will be doing is with and for the Salvation Army, of which both are members. Once the 2016 spring semester ends, Green and his wife will be leading the Holy Land Pilgrimage from Gordon College which is a 13 day trip to Israel to “walk the land of Jesus and the Bible.” After that, Green will travel with friends and teaching in countries such as Argentina, Greece, Turkey and Israel.
While Green will be living close to the college, he admits that he will miss the experiences that happen in the classroom. He said, “The thing that I will miss the most is the excitement of the classroom, and the learning in the classroom that comes with the interaction with students.”
Moises Park, Associate Professor of Spanish and Communication Arts, will be moving to Waco, Texas, to teach in the Modern Language department at Baylor University. His decision to leave Gordon has been a difficult process as he has expressed his love for Gordon’s faculty and students.
Park graduated from University of California Davis, got married and moved to the East Coast all in one month. Park received his B.S. from University of Michigan and his PhD from UC Davis. This whirlwind of a journey brought him to Gordon College.
In 2010, Park joined Gordon’s Languages and Linguistics department as a full time faculty member on tenure track. Two years later Park began working in the Communication Arts department as well. However, it was not until the 2015-2016 academic year that Park worked half in the Communication Arts department and half in the Languages and Linguistics department. He has taught classes such as Intercultural Communication and Movie, Film and Genre.
Park’s love for the arts, students, his colleagues and the freedom that Gordon brings to education is evident in the way he teaches each of his classes.
He said, “I came here because I saw freedom. I could teach any book that I read, any film could be presented.”
His wish for students is that they will immerse themselves in different cultures. He fears that by not immersing in cultures other than their own, students will “begin to create these version of life that aren’t real.”
Growing up trilingual, Park discovered a passion for intercultural studies and the importance of immersing himself in cultures other than his own. It is evident that this passion continues throughout his work at Gordon and as he goes on to be a professor in Texas.
Professor of Economics and Business Stephen Smith will be step down from his position and continuing teaching at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, for the 2016-17 academic year.
Smith parallels his departure to Gordon’s seniors, saying, “By senior year, students are ready to move on to move to their next challenges. For me, too, after 29 wonderful years at Gordon, it seems like a good moment to take up a new challenge and a fresh experience in Christian higher education.”
Before coming to Gordon, Smith taught economics at Middlebury College in Vermont. He began teaching at Gordon in the 1980s, when he started as an assistant professor of economics and business, teaching business statistics in addition to courses related to international economics and development.
Smith expressed that, during his time at Gordon, one of the most important lessons that he has learned as a professor is the importance of experiential learning. He said, “I’ve learned how important experiential learning can be. Early in my career I was very focused on academic learning—learning in the classroom—and of course I still think that’s essential in every way. But leading student study/travel trips to China starting in 2008 showed me how potent experiential learning can be.”
During his first year at Hope College, Smith will be on leave in Washington, DC. While there, Smith will be a visiting scholar at the U.S. International Trade Commission and doing research on Indian and Chinese trade. The work that he will be doing will help the ITC provide analysis that will help Congress and the executive branch in trade disputes and policy negotiations. Smith stated, “I’m looking forward to a stimulating few months.”
Tim Ferguson-Sauder, a Professor in the Practice of Design, will leave Gordon to become an Associate Professor in the Practice of Design at Olin College of Engineering.
He has loved working at Gordon, however, Ferguson-Sauder has found that pursuing his passions of teaching design and running a student-populated studio full-time has lead him to this new opportunity.
Ferguson-Sauder said, “Gordon has been an amazing place to work and I’ve learned so much here, but I feel that the opportunity in front of me is an important one to take both for the development of Return Design as well as my own personal work and teaching.”
Before Gordon, Ferguson-Sauder was a designer at TANK for four years. He had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects while at TANK, ranging anywhere from logo design to animation. He then went on t to start his own design consultancy called a small percent. This design consultancy has worked with clients such as The North Face, Google, Intel, World Vision and Saucony.
When he came to Gordon 13 years ago, Ferguson-Sauder started as an adjunct professor of Design and the director of Return Design. He would later become the Creative Director and now holds the position of Professor in the Practice of Design.
At Olin College of Engineering, Ferguson-Sauder will be teaching design courses and “setting up Return Design as a student-populated design firm that focuses its work on partnering with nonprofit and art-related projects.”
After a long time heading up the Center for Faith and Inquiry, former director Tal Howard stepped down in preparation for starting his new position at Valparaiso in the fall, and his wife, Agnes, is teaching her last course at Gordon this semester.
The Howards served as history professors in addition to his role with CFI. In the classroom, he taught the Jerusalem and Athens Forum honors program for twelve years, with Paul Brink taking over this semester.
They said in a joint email, “We have been honored to serve here at Gordon College these past 16 years. We are sad to leave, but excited about opportunities in the future.”