“Excellence,” as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, is “the state, quality or condition of excelling,” and anyone in higher education knows that it requires evaluation and change.
At Corban, the quest for excellence is never-ending, and change has been a constant as the school prepares for the 2006-07 academic year. With the student population booming and the college’s once-a-decade accreditation review set for fall, President Hoff has rearranged the college’s leadership structure and hired five full-time professors.
Dr. Linda Samek is the school’s new provost, while Dr. Bryce Bernard, who held that position for seven years, is now the college’s first vice president for information services. In his new position, Bernard is responsible for creating an M.B.A. program, which the school plans to introduce in the near future.
“Our overall goal is to transform Corban from a good institution into a great one,” says President Hoff. “We’re always trying to improve and get to a place where everyone operates within their area of strength.”
Samek’s strengths include all things academic. Trained as a public school teacher, she came to Corban to teach math in 1980 and became chair of the Teacher Education program in 1993. She’s worked for Oregon’s Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and has participated on more than a dozen state and national education committees.
“Linda has an excellent reputation with the state education department, and she’s very involved in higher education,” Hoff says. “She’s well-recognized in the state and the nation. She’s just a natural pick for the area.”
A GROWING FACULTY
The college’s faculty is expanding to include five new professors: Dr. Scot D. Bruce in Social Science, Dr. Samuel Baker in Ministry, Dr. John Wilson in English and Doctors Barbara Smith and Sang-Eun Kim Dyer in Teacher Education.
Bruce will complete his doctorate at the University of Nebraska this summer. His area of interest includes diplomacy and war, and his doctoral thesis examines post-World War I Europe and explores whether the peace process eliminated colonialism as its leaders claimed. The son of a Wheaton College professor, he was a college instructor while completing his graduate work.
Baker will lead the Student and Family Ministries program, which is replacing the Youth Ministry program. This broader program teaches students to lead whole families and individuals of all ages, rather than to focus on teenagers. Baker has 17 years experience in church ministry and most recently worked as an adjunct professor elsewhere. His doctoral work focused on the ways seminary students grow spiritually.
Wilson joins the English program to teach writing and literature classes and to co-teach the school’s unique American Thought and Culture and World Thought and Culture classes. During his two decades as a college instructor, he has taught everything from freshman composition to British literature. While instructing at the University of Oregon, he received a Fulbright-Hays research grant to study in Florence, Italy.
Smith, a new instructor for Corban’s Master of Science in Education program, is moving to Oregon with more than 30 years of education experience. A math specialist, she established advanced placement and dual enrollment high school/college programs in Louisiana. She has also been a math department chair, grant writer and technology coordinator.
Dyer will complete her doctorate through Ball State University this summer and has been hired to help undergraduate and graduate teaching students earn their reading endorsement. Raised in South Korea, she’s focused her research on Latino and Korean students in English-speaking classrooms. Understanding the factors that affect these students’ literacy development is important for today’s elementary teachers.
All of these five professors will prepare this summer for their new students and to join the entire college in pushing the bar of academic excellence even higher.