This week we’re introducing three more faculty members to the student body: Heather Goertzen, resident director, Colleen Geier, of the American Sign language department and Christopher Fashun from the Music department..Heather Goertzen
Goertzen joins the Goshen College Community as the new resident director of the Kratz and Miller halls. She previously owned and worked in a private counseling practice and believes this background will help her work with students.
“I feel like I’ve worked with some very difficult situations and at this point it’s hard to shock me, so I feel like I can be open to different students and situations without being disarmed,” she said. Goertzen spent five years in El Alto, Bolivia where she worked for Word Made Flesh, a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to helping to world’s poor. In El Alto, Goertzen worked with poor urban women and compares her work to crisis management and social work.
Goertzen’s time in Bolivia also helps her relate to international students on campus. Having experienced it first hand, she feels she understands the cross-cultural duality which students from different countries face.
The passion and energy of the students and the Goshen College community is what Goertzen enjoys about Goshen. Looking ahead, Goertzen says she’s most looking forward to working with students.
“I’m excited about the connection with students and getting a feel of the vast differences between them and what motivates and drives them,” said Goertzen.
Geier joins the American Sign Language department as the new program director. She taught hard of hearing and deaf students for 11 years at Rochester School for the Deaf in New York. She also taught at Columbia College of Chicago, but after two years of living in downtown Chicago she missed the trees and grass. Fortunately, Goshen can provide plenty.
As program director, Geier is looking to make a few changes to the ASL department. One of her goals is to standardize classes so that each course will cover the same content no matter which professor is teaching it. Geier also is actively
researching other ASL programs across the country.
“I want to make sure we’re providing the best options for our students,” Geier said.
Currently Geier is teaching classes as well as helping students set up internships all over the country, including locations like Alaska, Maryland and Tennessee. One of the parts she enjoys the most about teaching college students, as opposed to younger ages, is the freedom.
“College students are adults, so I’m not responsible for checking up on where they are if they miss class. I like that!” she said.
Fashun is the newest addition to the Music department’s staff as an assistant professor. He has toured as jazz vibraphonist and previously conducted the University of Iowa Philharmonia and
University 0f Iowa Philharmonia and University Orchestras.
As a percussionist, Fashun’s passion lies in Brazilian and Afro Brazilian music, dance and culture which he has studied for the past seven years.
Throughout Fashun’s musical performance and education career he has studied and worked with the likes of Anthony DiSanza, an internationally recognized musician, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Professor DiSanza is one of the most genuine people I know who has the rare combination of being an outstanding educator and performer,” Fashun said.
Now at Goshen, Fashun is excited about his new position, which, on top of teaching classes, includes conducting the symphony and chamber orchestras as well as Lavender Jazz.
“It comprises all the things I love to do,” Fashun said, “conduct a symphony orchestra, direct a jazz ensemble, teach percussion and prepare future music educators.”