This story was originally published in the spring edition of The Master’s University Magazine. Read the full issue here.
Three beloved educators are retiring from the faculty of The Master’s University after this semester. Dr. Ruta Bloomfield, Dr. Ross Anderson, and Dr. Joe Francis have each made a lasting impact at the University through their ministry to students, fellow professors, and the institution as a whole.
“These faculty members have served generation after generation of students, and we want to honor them in that,” said Dr. Mitch Hopewell, provost and chief academic officer at TMU. “And we also want to hold that up as an example to professors who are early in their careers, to say, ‘This is a model of a faithful TMU faculty member.’”
Hopewell mentioned three distinguishing marks of faithful teaching exhibited by these departing professors: “They love their students. They’re excellent at their crafts. And they encourage and strengthen their fellow faculty members. There’s a sense in which their service exists in 360 degrees. It’s service to the students, to their peers, to the institution, and ultimately to the Lord.”
Bloomfield — who holds a doctorate from Claremont Graduate University in historical performance practices — joined TMU’s faculty in 1989. As an associate professor of music, she has taught students of all majors in Essentials of Music and Art. She’s also taught music history, world music, and aural skills courses.
TMU’s resident harpsichordist, Bloomfield has offered harpsichord lessons and performed frequently, both on and off campus. Her repertoire includes famously difficult harpsichord pieces such as the 75,730-note Goldberg Variations by Bach. She is also the president of the Historical Keyboard Society of North America.
In all of that, she is best known on campus for her inexhaustible enthusiasm.
“The level of energy and passion she has for the field of music is off the charts,” Hopewell said. “And it’s real — it’s not manufactured. She’s just so passionate. And when it comes to her Essentials of Music and Art course, she takes a subject that many students think is dry and brings it to life.”
Anderson earned his Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, where he also taught biochemistry and directed research projects. He also served as a postdoctoral researcher at the Houston Neurosensory Center and as a faculty member at Lamar University before coming to TMU in 1998.
Here, he has served as a professor of biochemistry, teaching a range of biology courses, as well as courses like Genetics & Genomics and Origins. His particular area of interest is the structure and function of DNA and RNA polymerizing enzymes, and he is a member of the American Chemical Society and Sigma Xi. Over the years, he has contributed to several journal publications.
Hopewell attributes the high medical school acceptance rate among TMU graduates (95%) in no small way to Anderson’s influence.
“He places a high level of expectation on his students and demands a kind of excellence that drives our medical school acceptance rates,” Hopewell said. “People ask, ‘How can it possibly be that high?’ It’s because our faculty have such high standards, and that is of tremendous benefit to our students.
“(Dr. Anderson) is also very discipleship-oriented. He’s accessible to students. Doing both of those things to such a high level is rare.”
Francis earned his Ph.D. from Wayne State University and worked at the University of Michigan Medical School for five years — first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a research scientist. He also taught at Cedarville University for a decade before coming to TMU in 2002.
Since then, he has served as professor of biological science, chair of the Department of Biological & Physical Sciences, and dean of the School of Science, Mathematics, Technology, & Health. He has taught everything from physical science to the history of science, though his particular expertise is in cellular immunology and microbiology.
Francis is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has published many scientific articles throughout his career.
Francis’s thorough commitment to his field is one thing that stands out to Hopewell.
“Joe Francis is truly a scholar and a scientist,” Hopewell said. “And he’s a dogged defender of subjecting science to biblical truth. He passionately defends the authority of Scripture, not in the face of science, but as the key to truly understanding science.”
Learn more about TMU’s exceptional faculty here.
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