Looking Forward: Changes in Eastern’s Staff and Administration

Dr. Susan Edgar-Smith Appointed Dean of College of Education,

Beginning on Sept. 1

      Dr. Susan Edgar-Smith will begin as dean of the College of Education on Sept. 1. In her new position, she plans to “continue the already excellent, innovative programming” that has been implemented by the present dean, Dr. Harry Gutelius. Edgar-Smith notes the different education certifications provided by the College of Education, as well as their commitment to further developing programs in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field.

As dean, Edgar-Smith will seek to “support Eastern’s core operating strategy targeting the increased diversity of our student body” and advocate for “inclusion practices” and “closing the achievement gap for minority students in the Pre-K–12th grade educational environment.”

Edgar-Smith is also co-chair of the graduate counseling and psychology department, director for school counseling, co-director for school psychology and professor of graduate counseling and psychology. She is also a licensed psychologist and a Green Cross Compassion Fatigue Educator and is certified in school psychology in the state of Pennsylvania.

Dr. David Bronkema to Continue as Interim Dean of Palmer Theological Seminary

      Dr. David Bronkema will continue to serve as Interim Dean of Palmer Theological Seminary for one more year. Iddings writes that in the past 16 months as Interim Dean Bronkema has “launched a new M.T.S. delivered entirely in Spanish, facilitated the redesign of the M.Div. and managed the move of the seminary to the St. Davids campus.”

      Bronkema says that being Interim Dean has been “such a blessing.” When discussing all that has occurred under his leadership, he comments, “It’s our staff; it’s our faculty. They’re moving all of this.” The Seminary’s plans for the next academic year include expanding the M.T.S. in Latino/a Ministries into Bolivia and Brazil and exploring the implementation of a fully-online M.Div. Bronkema also mentions his goal of paying more attention to alumni.

      “I can’t think of a place where I can feel God’s presence more,” Bronkema says.

      Bronkema is also the Templeton Chair of Christian Service Through Entrepreneurship and has earned the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Dr. Michael Thomas Steps Away From Chalk & Table; Appointed Chief Marketing Officer

      Dr. Michael Thomas has left Chalk & Table and assumed his new role as Chief Marketing Officer. Thomas created Chalk & Table for the purpose of “enhancing teaching and learning at the University.” Through their short videos, the Chalk & Table team have sought to “tell the stories” and “celebrate the beauty of our community.” Guided by the leadership of Thomas, Iddings writes that the learning collaborative “has worked to build adjunct training processes, supported further development and quality in distance education, guided course development, instituted and supported a new L.M.S. [learning management system] and provided ongoing faculty development.”

      In his position as Chief Marketing Officer, Thomas oversees the entire marketing team and all of Eastern’s marketing initiatives. He believes that “good marketing is…just sharing who you are” and talks about the importance of “thinking big.”

      “Just because we’re small doesn’t mean we’re not doing amazing things,” Thomas says.

      Thomas is also assistant professor of psychology, a licensed psychologist, founder of Recovery Spark and Program Administrator of Dine Eating Disorder Services. He is also on the advisory board of Project Heal.

Dr. Sherry Kull Selected to Be

Interim Director of Chalk & Table

      Dr. Sherry Kull will serve as Interim Director of Chalk & Table during this time of transition. Iddings writes, “She deeply understands instructional design and has done much to upgrade our university’s abilities in promoting student learning.”

     Kull says, “As Interim Director of Chalk & Table, my role is to help our small team (down from five people to three) continue to provide good training and support for Brightspace, Zoom and online pedagogy and course development. We would appreciate everyone’s prayers for the search for a new director of Chalk and Table to lead the work of faculty development more broadly.”

      Kull is also Senior Instructional Designer of Chalk & Table. She teaches classes in Bible, leadership and business ethics at Eastern and teaches Greek at Biblical Theological Seminary. Kull is part-owner of K9JYM, a dog sports and training center in Colmar, Pennsylvania.

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