2015-16 Zylstra Grant Winners
The Redeemer Centre for Christian Scholarship announces its 2015-16 Zylstra Grant winners!
3 min. read
April 21, 2015

Dr. Robert Joustra, Director of the Centre for Christian Scholarship, is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Zylstra Grant. These awards, totalling $25,000, are one of the key components of The Zylstra Program for Public Scholarship, enabling excellent Christian scholarship that has an emphasis on public impact.

The Zylstra Program for Public Scholarship is named for Bernard Zylstra (1934-1986), who was a professor of politics at the Institute for Christian Studies and whose influence on the development of Christian perspectives and practice of politics has been widely influential in Canada, America, the UK, South Africa, and Australia.

The goals of the Zylstra Program are both to fund original scholarship, directly related to issues of major public concern, and to extend the reach and connect the ideas of Redeemer’s faculty into the public sphere.

This year’s winners of the Zylstra Grant are Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd, Dr. Deborah Bowen, Dr. Darren Brouwer, and Dr. Edward Berkelaar.

Dr. Edward Berkelaar, Associate Professor of Environmental Science
Dr. Darren Brouwer, Associate Professor of Chemistry:
Monitoring Water Quality of the Spencer Creek and Chedoke Creek Watersheds

Christians are called both to be caretakers of the environment and to unfold the potential within creation. We can, and should, be involved in projects that further our ability to care for God’s good creation. Through the Zylstra Grant, Berkelaar and Brouwer will practice this commitment in the broader community of which Redeemer is a part.

Working with Redeemer students, Berkelaar and Brouwer will monitor various streams within the Spencer Creek and Chedoke Creek Watersheds that flow into Cootes Paradise, a valuable ecological preserve in Hamilton, ON. Ongoing monitoring of these urban streams will help to identify sources of nutrient pollution. The results of this study will be shared with community stakeholders and the public, so that pollution can be reduced and Cootes Paradise may one day be restored to its original wetland state.

Dr. Deborah Bowen, Professor of English:
EcoAtwood meets EcoChristianity

“And they all lived happily ever after”: that’s how the fairytales put it. But how do endings in recent fiction relate to real-world experience, and to real-world fears about an ultimate environmental meltdown? In particular, how do the endings in recent novels by Margaret Atwood articulate the ecological sensibilities of our day? Though a fair amount has been written about Atwood’s dystopian post-apocalyptic trilogy of Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and Maddaddam (2013), little to nothing of this has been from a Christian perspective—a perspective about which Atwood has of course written very critically.

But since these novels are particularly concerned with issues of environmental apocalypse, looking at them through the lens of a Christian ecocritical understanding has the potential to highlight what such a Christian vision can offer to an ethical concern with environmental “end times.” How might the ending of the Christian story, which declares that “the leaves of the tree [of life] shall be for the healing of the nations,” speak into contemporary ecological concerns?

Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd, Professor of Social Work and Sociology:
Relationship Violence: Are Christian Colleges Safer?

Is there any doubt that sexuality is broken in our culture? This is, perhaps, nowhere more evident than on university campuses, where we hear all-too-frequent sordid media accounts of sexual assaults and sexual harassment. Unfortunately, there is very little information or awareness about these issues on Christian campuses. Are Christian colleges any safer?

Vanderwoerd’s own research and anecdotal evidence suggest that although Christian colleges are not immune to this problem, the rate of incidence is significantly less than on secular campuses. What is unique about Christian colleges and universities that creates the context for safer and more wholesome relationships and expressions of sexuality? What can we can learn from these colleges to ensure that university is safer for everyone?

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