A century of service
2007 faculty award winners combine for 100 years of teaching
For Gary Kilburg, academics and personal connection go hand in hand: “In the end, nothing matters more than the relationships we have and how we care for them,” he says.
The philosophy is noted by his students. “His support, patience, and encouragement toward his students is unmatched by any other,” one student says. “He has truly opened my eyes to the courage it takes to live my life as a teacher who cares for each and every child and colleague as a child of God,” said another.
Kilburg has taught for nearly 40 years — 18 at the secondary school level and 21 in higher education — yet he still finds ways to keep things fresh. “I never teach the same way twice, which means I have the opportunity to continually reflect on my practice,” he says.
Kilburg has been a professor in the master of arts in teaching program for 15 years. In the past year, he was elected to the board of directors for the International Mentoring Association; served as a consultant to K-12 school districts in Lebanon, Madras, and Woodburn, Ore.; and traveled to Chicago to serve as a panelist on a research panel on mentoring.
He is also director of the Mentoring Institute — a program he helped create in 2000 that assists public and private schools in designing K-12 mentoring programs for new teachers.
Steve Grant admits he “was the most surprised person in the room” when his name was called as the undergraduate teacher of the year. His students, however, probably saw it coming.
For 25 years, Grant has taught health and human performance courses while serving as head volleyball coach. His ability to relate to students as both a professor and a coach inspired one student to say “he inspires you to grow as a person.”
“In the classroom I deal with theory, methodology, facts, and ideas,” says Grant, who earned a masters in education from Linfield College. “In the gym, I work with visual and auditory learners who need guidance in incorporating the ‘feel’ of something. Having those separate venues at which to focus on the learners’ needs keeps one motivated.”
As a volleyball coach, Grant, 61, has guided the Bruins to a .610 winning percentage, two conference championships, and one national title. In the past five years, every player in his program who has completed four years of eligibility has graduated.
Ed Higgins’ poems have been translated into Chinese. His work has been published in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Britain, and Bahrain. In all, more than 70 of his poems and four short stories have appeared in 39 print and online literary/art journals since January of 2006.
Higgins, a professor of writing/literature, began teaching at George Fox in 1971. “He is a model for other young scholars in that he strives to remain active in publishing even though he could just as easily kick back on his front porch, sipping lattes,” says colleague Melanie Mock, associate professor of writing/literature.
In addition to his productivity in publishing, he was the featured creative writer at three academic conferences last year and regularly contributes works and critiques as a science-fiction scholar.
Several of his poems reflect personal struggles or ideas central to his Quaker beliefs, including pacifism. One poem, “Epistemology,” was named “Poem of the Month” by the organization Poets Against War. “Art should at least try hard to point in the direction of truth,” Higgins says, “and represent a thoroughly honest search for values that avoids easy answers. Like faith itself, art ought to struggle. Maybe more so if produced by a Christian.”
It’s always about loss,
this kind of epistemology
philosophers regard with dread.
And we can fool ourselves with thinking.
Like the grandfather I read about recently
who picked up his four year old grandson
in two pieces on a Baghdad market street,
after a sudden car bomb there.
And then just yesterday grocery shopping,
concentrating on which broccoli florets to buy,
out of the corner of my eye
a little blond four year old girl
is running to the side of my leg
yelling grandpa, grandpa, we saw your car
in the parking lot and knew it was you.
And my son and his beautiful wife
are smiling an aisle away,
near the potatoes and sweet onions,
she holding their year old daughter
on her hip the way mothers do.
And I’m so happy to see them all there
in one piece that I begin to cry,
like a foolish, foolish old man.
— Ed Higgins