A fresh set of opportunities will be available for Dordt University students majoring in Bio-Public Health, or Ag-Education. Both the education and biology departments have been constructing new program opportunities for their students.
Biology students can look forward to a new emphasis in public health. Dr. Jeff Ploegstra has led the biology department in collaboration with other campus programs to add additional paths for students called to the public health profession. Trends in public health continue to show the need for a greater emphasis on pro-active approaches to health and a broadening scope that more deeply includes psychological and community-based strategies for wellness. Ploegstra believes this program is a great mission-fit for Dordt seeking to equip students.
“We are working to shape community and help people live fully,” says Ploegstra.
He emphasizes the importance of public health, especially in the midst of public health crises like COVID-19. Now more than ever, it is important to take public health seriously.
Alongside biology, the new public health track will include classes in psychology, social work, and community development. This diverse program serves as a clarifying pathway for students hoping to enter this rapidly expanding professional career.
New endorsements are emerging in the education department as well, including a joint Agriculture/Biology Education major and an expanded Agriculture Education major. Dr. Ryan Zonnefeld, director of the Teacher Preparation Program at Dordt, and Gary De Vries from the Agriculture Department, have led this major proposal. Dr. Zonnefeld spoke of how the push for these programs will benefit future generations.
“Students in our schools are going to be able to learn from someone who has a Christian perspective on agriculture,” says Zonnefeld.
Dordt is one of three schools in Iowa offering an Agriculture-Education program, the only one to offer it from a Christian perspective. Offering these endorsements will provide opportunities for students to gain hands on experience in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE), as well as expand their capabilities in STEM teaching.