Experts on "Teaching"

Dennis Eastman

  • Associate Professor
  • Director, Secondary Education
  • Associate Director, Biola Youth Academics

Dennis Eastman spent 15 years serving in multiple roles in the field of education (Social Studies teacher, coach, Athletic Director and Director of Faculty Induction) before becoming the principal of Nova Academy Early College High School, in Santa Ana, California. During his tenure as principal, U.S. News and World Report recognized Nova Academy with a Bronze Medal ranking as one of the most improved schools in California.

Eastman is currently serving Biola University as the Director of Teacher Education where he is able to combine his faith, expertise and enthusiasm for teaching and coaching into preparing the next generation of high quality educators.

Eastman's research agenda has focused on equipping teachers in student motivation program design, creating an environment of attempt for all learners and preparing teachers in international settings. Currently, Eastman is researching the impact of Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) and Cooperative Learning (CL) on student achievement

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Ruth E. Ebeling

  • Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

Ruth has a broad background in the basic sciences but she specializes in the Anatomical Sciences with an emphasis on human anatomy. As she sometimes says, her specialty is people with their skin off. She also has a strong interest in the brain and teaches the Neurobiology class.

Ruth has taught many places besides Biola, among them was Cleveland Chiropractic College, Los Angeles. As a result of teaching there, she was part of the General Anatomy section of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Exam Writing Committee for five years. Ruth has also spoken to many Creation Science groups on a wide variety of topics.

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Octavio Javier Esqueda

  • Professor of Educational Leadership

Octavio Javier Esqueda is a professor of Christian higher education in the doctoral programs in educational studies at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He was born and raised in Guadalajara, México, where he graduated with honors with a Licenciatura in Latin American Literature from the University of Guadalajara as well as two additional diplomas, one on religion and society and the second on journalism. He graduated with honors from Dallas Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Christian Education and completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of North Texas. Before coming to Biola University in 2011, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas for over seven years. He and his wife, Angélica, have two children Darío and Salma. Esqueda has several publications on theological education, Christian higher education and literature. Teaching is his passion and has had the opportunity to teach in several countries on different academic levels. He is an avid soccer fan.

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June Hetzel

  • Dean, School of Education
  • Professor
  • Director, Biola Youth Academics

June Hetzel, who has a Doctor of Philosophy in Education, specializes in literacy processes and curriculum development. Hetzel has served in the roles of teacher, curriculum specialist, principal, writer, editor, consultant, professor and dean. She has served at school, district and county levels, including four summer teaching overseas. Recent projects include co-editing a book entitled Inclusive Classrooms for Community Flourishing (2018, SKILD, published in Arabic); co-authoring a chapter called "Jesus, Justice, and Special Education Inclusion: A Case for the Shalom Model of Inclusion" in Integrating Faith and Special Education: A Christian Faith Approach to Special Education Practice (2016, Wipf & Stock); editing a PreK–6 textbook series for English Learners, Passport to Adventure (Purposeful Design Publications, 2014); co-authoring a chapter for Foundations of Education: A Christian Vision (2014); and co-authoring The Literacy Gaps: Building Bridges for English Language Learners and Standard English Learners (Corwin Press, 2009). A former in-house editor, she has authored 18 teacher resource books, including the Steps to Writing Success series (2002), Writing Fluency (2001), Writing Teacher's Handbook series (1999) and Responding to Literature (1993; 2002). She has written articles for numerous journals, such Journal of Psychology and Theology, Evangelizing Today's Child, the Home School Researcher, the Claremont Yearbook, Focus Publications, Salem Press, Starburst Publishers, the Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, Teachers of Vision and Christian School Education. She was the managing editor for the American Bookseller's Pick-of-the-List in the parent category: Homeschooling: Answers to Questions Parent Most Often Ask (1995) and co-editor for Beauty is Soul Deep: 180 Devotionals for Growing a Meaningful Inner Life (Barbour Press, 2003). Hetzel has spoken for a variety of conferences, including the Oxford Round Table, Oxford University, a homeschooling conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand, an education conference at UPH, Jakarta, Indonesia and was the keynote at the ACSI regional conference for Christian School administrators in Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Hetzel’s doctoral dissertation topic was “Factors that Influence Parents to Homeschool” and her heart is to support families in the education of their children, whether public, private, mission or homeschool paths.

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John Liang

  • Professor of TESOL

A native of Canton, China, Liang loves language studies and enjoys exploring theory and practice in language learning and teaching! He currently teaches in the graduate and undergraduate TESOL programs that offer teacher education courses to both pre- and in-service English teachers. Before joining the faculty at Biola in 2001, he directed an ESL program in the University of California, Riverside Learning Center. Liang received his doctorate in TESL/TEFL at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. Liang is very active in research and is a frequent presenter at the TESOL and CATESOL conferences. His current research interests lie in pedagogical ESL grammar, ESL materials, second language reading and writing, and technology-enhanced language learning.

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Sean McDowell

  • Associate Professor of Christian Apologetics

Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, and in particular young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He connects with audiences in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a biblical worldview. Sean is an associate professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. He is the Resident Scholar for Summit California.

Sean still teaches one high school Bible class, which helps him have exceptional insight into the prevailing culture so he can impart his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors and parents alike. In 2008, he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Association of Christian Schools International awarded Exemplary Status to his apologetics training. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot School of Theology with a master’s degree in theology and another in philosophy. He earned a doctorate in Apologetics and Worldview Studies in 2014 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Backyard Skeptics, Cru, Youth Specialties, Hume Lake Christian Camps, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as The Michael Medved Show, Family Life Today, Point of View, Stand to Reason, Common Sense Atheism and the Hugh Hewitt Show. Sean has been quoted in many publications, including the New York Times.

Sean is the author, co-author or editor of over 18 books including So The Next Generation Will Know (David C. Cook, 2019), Sharing the Good News with Mormons (Harvest House, 2018), Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Harper Collins, 2017), A New Kind of Apologist (Harvest House, 2016); The Beauty of Intolerance (Barbour, 2016); The Fate of the Apostles (Routledge, 2015); Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage (Baker, 2014); Is God Just a Human Invention? (Kregel, 2010) and Understanding Intelligent Design (Harvest House, 2008). Sean has also written multiple books with his father, Josh McDowell, including The Unshakable Truth, More Than A Carpenter and Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Sean is the general editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students. He has also written for YouthWorker Journal, Decision Magazine and the Christian Research Journal. Follow the dialogue with Sean as he blogs regularly at seanmcdowell.org.

In April 2000, Sean married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie. They have three children and live in San Juan Capistrano. Sean played college basketball at Biola and was captain his senior year on a team that went 30-7.

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Timothy Muehlhoff

  • Author, Speaker and Research Consultant
  • Professor of Communication Studies

While teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tim Muehlhoff received his department's highest award for teaching and has been recognized by the International Communication Association for outstanding teaching. In his M.A. thesis, Muehlhoff developed a method of encouraging civil dialogue and perspective-taking between groups who perceive themselves as morally opposed with no room for, or interest in, connection. Extending his thesis research, his dissertation focused on a performative approach to enriching marital communication. His research interests also include social justice, gender, family communication, interpersonal communication and persuasion. Outside the classroom Muehlhoff and wife Noreen are frequent speakers at marriage conferences and seminars. His current project involves understanding the narratives of oppressed women in rural parts of New Delhi, India.

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Jonathan Puls

  • Associate Dean, School of Fine Arts and Communication
  • Associate Professor of Art History and Painting

Jonathan Puls teaches drawing, painting and art history in the Department of Art. He holds an M.F.A. in Drawing and Painting and an M.A. in in Art History. Jonathan's ongoing drawings and paintings pull their imagery from contemporary life, mingling these with compositional concerns from art historical sources. His teaching, studio production and historical research focus on the relationship between immediate observation and compositional synthesis.

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Victor S Rhee

  • Professor of New Testament Language and Literature

Victor Rhee specializes in Hebrews and general epistles in the New Testament. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on "The Concept of Faith in the Overall Context of the Book of Hebrews," and authored Faith in Hebrews: Analysis within the Context of Christology, Eschatology, and Ethics (Peter Lang). He also contributed articles to The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon Press). He had presented papers at the Evangelical Theological Society, Korean New Testament Society and Society of Biblical Literature meetings. He also had articles published in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Bibliotheca Sacra, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Filologia Neotestamentaria and Westminster Theological Journal. Rhee also initiated the formation the study group for Asian/Asian-American scholars in the the Evangelical Theological Society, which is now known as Asian/Asian-American Consultation Group. Before coming to Talbot, he served in different Korean churches in the U.S. as senior pastor, EM (English Ministry) pastor, youth pastor, assistant pastor and minister of education. Rhee is active in teaching and preaching in Korean-American churches, and has the role of visiting and encouraging the Talbot alumni pastors in different churches in Southern California. In the past he founded the Korean Talbot Institute for Biblical Studies (KTIBS) and taught the Bible systematically to the church lay leaders in Southern California for over 12 years. Rhee also played a key role in founding the Korean Student Scholarship for Talbot School of Theology through the generous contributions of Chan-il Foundation and many other Korean Christians.

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Judith Mendelsohn Rood

  • Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies

Judith Mendelsohn Rood received her Ph.D. in Modern Middle Eastern History from the University of Chicago and her M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. She earned her B.A. at New College, an experimental liberal arts college modeled on the Oxford University curriculum, and did undergraduate and graduate work at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Rood was the first woman ever permitted to undertake research in the Islamic Archives in Jerusalem, and was the first American since 1967 to do so. Her specialization is the Muslim community in Jerusalem during the Ottoman period. She is especially interested in the relations of Muslims, Christians and Jews from an historical perspective. Currently she is working on writing a history of world civilizations. Rood loves the arts, hiking, swimming and good conversation.

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Tim Stranske

  • Assistant Dean
  • Professor

With more than 30 years in the Christian school movement, several years as a junior high and high school teacher and 28 years as an administrator, Tim Stranske has a wealth of experience in the education field. He was a principal, curriculum director and superintendent for four California Christian school systems. In addition, Stranske served Biola as an adjunct faculty member from 1982–87 and from 1991–93. With this background, Stranske assists in moving forward the mission of Biola’s School of Education. He works to coordinate efforts with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), oversees placement of student teachers abroad and provides leadership for the M.A.Ed. program.

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K. Erik Thoennes

  • Professor and Chair of Theology

Erik Thoennes is committed to teaching biblical and systematic theology so that he and his students love God and people more fully. He strives to make the necessary connections between the study of theology, obedience to Jesus and fulfilling the Great Commission. He has taught theology and evangelism at the college and seminary levels for several years and is a frequent guest speaker at churches, conferences and retreats, in addition to co-pastoring a local church. Thoennes has received the University award for faculty excellence and professor of the year. His research interests include godly jealousy, the atonement, the exclusivity of Christ and theology of culture.

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