Suzanne Ehst and Long Tran joined the Education Department for the 2014-15 academic year.The Education Department has two unfamiliar faces this semester—new professor Long Tran and newly returned professor Suzanne Ehst. Both professors are settling into a new routine at a new place, but seem to be not only passionate about but refreshed by Goshen College’s students, faculty, and community.
Suzanne Ehst has returned to Goshen College after a three-year hiatus to work on her PhD, on which she will continue to work alongside responsibilities as full-time faculty member, Associate Professor of Education, and Director of Secondary Education.
Professor Ehst might still be a familiar face to some Goshenites and alum—she worked at Bethany Christian High School for 11 years, and during that time was an adjunct professor for the education department here at GC. Six years ago, she worked as the Director of the Academic Resource Center and then filled in as a full-time education professor while Kevin Gary led Peru Study Service Term.
“Its nice that I’m not totally new—I know the campus and some students as well, and the course I’m teaching right now I’ve taught before,” said Ehst. “So only one half of my job is new, which makes for an easier transition.”
Ehst is co-teaching the education senior seminar with Kathy Meyer-Reimer as well as the course Middle School Methods, and has students in the field completing their student teaching requirement. And that’s only half of her job. Her other responsibility is as the administrator of the department’s national and state accreditation.
From working in various aspects of Goshen College’s Education department as well as elsewhere in the school, Ehst has a deep understanding of GC’s strengths and how to use them for both the students’ and community’s benefit.
“I really enjoy the student body here,” said Ehst. “Students are invested in their own professional development. I love that. We’re small enough [as an institution] that we’re aware of what’s going on in everyone else’s department. I think just by the nature of our size it helps us be an interdisciplinary institution.”
Ehst has many goals for her students and for the department as a whole, not least of which is the need to grow along with the realities of the education field and the direction teaching is currently taking.
“I feel like working in education right now is an incredible challenge because a lot of the pressures that are on the K-12 schools are with performance assessments and documenting student growth,” said Ehst. “But, I believe in what we do and I’m passionate about our program.”
Long Tran is a completely new face for the education department, coming to Goshen after teaching at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, a school whose student body rivals the population of the city of Goshen.
Tran studied at Miami University and did doctoral work with a focus in the economical, political, social, and cultural formations and foundations of society. This background provides a great depth of knowledge fitting for his classes at Goshen College, including political science, special education, and the Foundations of Education course.
“I’ve been looking forward to a smaller, more intimate place,” said Tran. “When you’re at a larger university, more emphasis is placed on research and publication, and I’m ok with that, but I think I’m better at teaching. So when I came here it was just wonderful—the emphasis is on teaching and building relationships with people.”
Tran’s undergraduate and postgraduate work has focused primarily on the theoretical approaches to various aspects that shape society, and he bases the conceptual aspects of education on experiences he has had in 11 years of teaching, from elementary to post-graduate levels.
Tran comes to GC with acknowledgement of and appreciation for faith-based education as well as the community that Goshen College is renowned for. Tran expresses deep commitment to getting to know the students not just inside the classroom, but outside the class context as well.
“A lot of the times, if you’re the teacher or the professor, you feel like you’re the giver of wisdom,” said Tran. “But if I allow myself to create an environment with the students where we both share, then we both can grow. We can give and take until we’re not teaching students, we’re teaching people: people that can go out and change society.”