Redeemer University College is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Karen Dieleman as dean of humanities.
Dieleman comes to Redeemer with a great deal of experience in Christian higher education. As a full professor of English, she currently holds three academic leadership roles at Trinity Christian College in Chicago: chair of the English department, area chair of the humanities and chair of Trinity’s personnel committee.
She shares with Redeemer a Reformed biblical worldview that shapes her teaching, scholarship and leadership. “The arts and humanities play a significant part in the larger drama of kingdom work. Because they focus on the diversity of human experience to ask, essentially, ‘What are people for?’, they are crucial to a Reformed liberal arts education,” Dieleman reflects. ”Approached from a Reformed worldview, the arts and humanities prompt proper humility about ourselves, a receptivity to the God-given gifts and wisdom of others, a joyful amazement at the wide embrace of God over the multifaceted human world and the creation of works that respond to these conditions.”
In her work at Trinity, Dieleman has echoed Redeemer’s commitment to experiential learning across campus. Recently, she collaborated to create the opportunity for first-year students to learn experientially about the city of Chicago. Students toured five ethnic neighbourhoods, visited cultural institutions and followed the trip with a written essay detailing their learning for a composition course. Some students shared their stories with high school students, developing a sense of audience.
Dieleman also has first-hand experience in curriculum renewal — a process that for Redeemer culminated in the 2016 launch of the university’s new Core curriculum. Over the past two years, Dieleman has worked with Trinity on a potential redesign of its Foundations program. As just one example, she outlined alongside Trinity’s English faculty an approach for integrating writing instruction into the proposed interdisciplinary core program.
Prior to her first appointment at Trinity in 2008, Dieleman taught part-time in Redeemer’s English department, leading such courses as Expository Writing and Victorian Literature. She has further roots in Hamilton, having completed a PhD in English, a MA in English and an Honours BA at McMaster University. Dieleman also holds a Diploma of Teaching from Covenant Canadian Reformed Teachers College.
Dieleman’s own research areas include Victorian literature and culture and 19th century British women writers, particularly Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Adelaide Procter and Emily Pfeiffer.
Dieleman will begin her role as dean of humanities on January 1, 2019. She will serve alongside Prof. Susan Van Weelden, dean of social sciences, and Dr. Kyle Spyksma, interim vice president, academic and dean of sciences.
“Dr. Karen Dieleman has a wealth of experience in overseeing and developing faculty and programs in the humanities, grounded in the Reformed philosophical tradition,” Spyksma says. “Her commitment to Redeemer’s founding mission, as well as her abilities to think and work creatively as an educator and leader, will be a great asset to the university as a whole.”