Seven join faculty

Seven new full-time faculty are preparing to teach at Northwestern College as the fall semester nears. Classes begin Aug. 26.

Kathy Coyle joins the nursing faculty after having taught at Briar Cliff University for the last four years. She also works part time in the home health department at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, where she has been employed since 1994. Coyle earned a master’s degree in nursing (family nurse practitioner emphasis) at Creighton University, a B.S.N. from Briar Cliff and an R.N. from St. Luke’s School of Nursing.

Julie Dragstra will be one of Coyle’s colleagues on the nursing faculty. A nurse at Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls for the last 23 years, she most recently worked in the hospice area. She also worked at Sioux Center Community Hospital. She earned a master’s degree in nursing from Augustana College, a B.S.N. from Briar Cliff and an R.N. from St. Joseph Mercy School of Nursing.

Dr. Ranjan George is serving a one-year appointment as an assistant professor of business while on sabbatical from The Open University of Sri Lanka, where he is the senior lecturer in management studies. He earned a Ph.D. in management at Australia’s University of Western Sydney. George also received master’s and bachelor’s degrees in commerce from India’s Madras Christian College.

Ray Gibler will also be serving as an assistant professor in the business department, teaching accounting. He has accounting experience at a property management company and public accounting firms in the Pacific Northwest and for a Mexican mission agency. He completed a master’s degree in accounting at Washington State University and earned a bachelor’s degree at Northwest Nazarene College.

Ethan Koerner is serving a one-year appointment as technical director and scenic designer for the theatre department. A 2005 theatre graduate of Dordt College, he designed sets for two mainstage productions at Dordt in 2006–07. He also received a technical apprentice award for his work at the Santa Fe Opera in 2004 and an award for achievement in puppet design from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in 2005. He recently earned a master’s degree in theatre at Bowling Green State University.

Valerie Stokes joins the social work department after serving as executive director of The Bridge, a transitional housing agency in Orange City. She spent seven years as a therapist at Northwestern, including four as co-director of student counseling services, and also worked at the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and the Crittenton Center in Sioux City. Stokes is a Ph.D. candidate in educational psychology at the University of South Dakota. She earned a master’s degree in social work at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and graduated from Northwestern College in 1993.

Maria Van Der Maaten joins the modern foreign language department on a one-year appointment as an instructor of Spanish. A 2005 Northwestern College alumna, she earned a master’s degree in international development at the University of Denver. She returns to Northwestern after working for Sister Parish Inc., a nonprofit organization that links U.S. churches with churches in Guatemala and El Salvador for the purposes of fostering a mutual understanding and commitment to peace and justice.