After 29 years of teaching at Northwestern College, sociology professor Dr. Michael Yoder will be retiring at the end of this school year.
Professor Yoder has had an extremely accomplished career. He has been teaching for over 40 years, both in the United States and overseas. Professor Yoder speaks over four languages, including Portuguese and Spanish. He was an English Language teacher in Brazil for three years, teaching at Casa Thomas Jefferson and served as a private tutor to Brazilian Government officials. He has presented research and been published numerous times during his long and busy career.
Since his arrival in 1982, Professor Yoder has been actively involved in the Northwestern community. As a professor, he has been a member of almost every faculty committee at some point. He has spoken in chapel on several occasions, co-led an SSP to Brazil in 2003, and planned an SSA to Brazil in 2004.
“I will miss many things about teaching and being a part of the Northwestern community.” Professor Yoder will remember the “nice people”
here at Northwestern. He appreciated being a part of a community of “courteous, sincere, and committed Christians.” Yoder will remember his time at Northwestern because of the “opportunity to help develop and challenge young minds.” He has enjoyed years of discussions in the halls with faculty colleagues.
Professor Yoder recalled some of his memorable moments at NW. The best chapel prank he remembers took place in the old chapel. “Some enterprising students got into the attic. There was a hole in the ceiling right above where the speaker would be.” The students attached strings to
three hamsters and attached toilet paper to their feet. The hamsters were sent “wafting down” on the white wings of the toilet paper. Yoder assures us: “No hamsters were hurt in this prank, but it brought down the house.”
On a more serious note, Professor Yoder will remember the unique situations of tension that sometimes arise between a liberal arts college and a conservative community. The most recent example occurred last Monday when the unofficial gay support group on campus showed the film
“For the Bible Tells Me So” on campus. Yoder remembers several other times when tension over controversial issues brought about objections on campus or in the wider community, including the Black Flag exhibit four years ago and the plan to grant an honorary degree to George W. Bush in 1987. Yoder says it has been “interesting to watch the flashpoints that illustrate those tensions are there.” He feels that they “serve a positive purpose of helping us think about what liberal arts are.”
When asked what he is going to do next, Yoder chuckled and said, “Whatever I want to do.” Although his plans are somewhat “open ended,” he
has a few ideas of how he can spend his time. Some of his hobbies are traveling, reading and gardening. He is helping to plant a permanent orchard as part of the community garden at American Reformed Church. He “may be doing some development work for Bethesda in Orange City.” There are several research ideas that he wants to pursue and there is a possibility that he will be mentoring some L.A. theology students on the internet. In other words, he will be keeping busy.
Yoder and his wife Caroline have no immediate plans to leave Orange City and “hope to be somewhat involved” in the community. He hopes to still come to events on campus, but realizes that it won’t be the same.