The full-time OE faculty, listed below, live with their families in the small community of Lincoln, a place professors and staff have made a home since the late 1970s. We welcome students to join us here for a season, to unclutter their lives, read some good books, and find a more elementary connection to what makes up the “good life.” Time at the OE is remembered by our students as an unusually rich occasion to dwell on things long enough to let the swirl of new thoughts that college brings settle into a clearer vision of the whole.
Heidi (OE ‘87, Ph.D. University of Chicago) returned to the woods of Oregon by way of a long journey that carried her to India, Guatemala, Germany, and, eventually, Connecticut—travels that were interrupted by long years in graduate school. Her teaching is in the areas of philosophical and religious ethics. An avid runner and wilderness enthusiast, Heidi has her eyes set on the Portland Marathon and several canyons on the northern border of Yosemite. She can’t pass up a genuine moral dilemma, and can often be found on the horns of one. She and Tad are married and have two boys, Henry (13) and William (9).
Kelton (Tad) (OE ‘80, Ph.D. University of Iowa) joined the faculty of the Oregon Extension in the fall of 2011. He has taught Christian theology, church history, and comparative religions at several colleges and for fifteen years at Hartford Seminary. He grew up in Colorado, but has led an itinerant academic life in Oregon, New Jersey, Iowa, Germany, and Connecticut. He has published one book called The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture, and is currently interested in how Christianity has learned, with great difficulty, to be moral through the experiences of its darkest hours.
Melissa (Ph.D. University of Oregon) has split her time between the woods of Michigan and of Oregon since her first fall in the Oregon Cascades (OE ‘03). Her graduate work focused on American literature and environmental criticism, leading to her current interests in science studies, cultural representations of environment, and American nature writing. Melissa spent many summers working at summer camps in Michigan, and after five years of living in a student-owned cooperative in Eugene, Oregon, she joined the faculty of the OE in 2012 excited to have conversations about sustainability and intentional communities with students at Lincoln.
Jamie (OE ’93, Ph.D. Cornell University) developed a fascination with the American West in part through his semester at the Oregon Extension. This led to seasonal work for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado and eventually a Ph.D. in natural resource policy. His research focuses on the history of federal lands and resources in the West. He and his wife, Beth, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1999, taking a break when they reached Lincoln to lead wilderness trips for Sierra Treks. They’ll be moving to Lincoln next summer with their sons Sam (10) and Ben (8) from Grand Rapids, where Jamie has been on the faculty of Calvin College.
John teaches Bible, theology, and philosophy. He reads Greek, Hebrew and French. John studied chemistry and philosophy in college, but he earned his doctorate in Hebrew and Semitic studies because he wants to understand the Bible. John often lectures on difficult biblical texts or theological themes, but his best work probably occurs late at night. Students stop by his house to share a cup of tea and talk about their faith, and often find themselves exploring refreshing new ways to read the Bible.