Westmont Magazine Five New Faculty Arrive on Campus
Four academic departments have hired five tenure-track professors to teach and do research at Westmont
Timothy Van Haitsma (Kinesiology)
B.A., Calvin College; M.S., Indiana University; Ph.D., University of Utah
“I was a biology major and also a runner,” Timothy says. “When I took my first kinesiology class, everything made sense to me as a scholar and a runner. My two loves coincided and connected, and it was the first class where I felt at home.” His research focuses on the sensation of fatigue in athletes. “I’m trying to understand why athletes are tired a day after they exercise,” he says. “What makes them want to quit? The community of professional athletes here may be interested and could benefit from the findings.” He has taught at Indiana, Utah and Georgetown College since 2003.
Sarah Jirek ’01 (Sociology)
B.A., Westmont; M.S.W., Ph.D., University of Michigan
Sarah studies trauma recovery and post-traumatic growth. “I’m fascinated by working with and researching people at a crossroads in their lives,” she says. “After the biggest, most horrible thing that’s ever happened to them has occurred, some people go downhill, some recover over time, and some grow beyond their initial phase of development and do something amazing with the experience. It becomes part of who they are and maybe even their mission in life to help others who had similar experiences.” She taught at the University of Tampa for the past three years.
Enrico Manlapig (Economics and Business)
B.Econ. (Hons I), B.Com., University of Queensland; M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University
Enrico taught at Hope College for two years then worked as a capital efficiency senior associate at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services. His graduate school research focused on the economics of speed dating. “I watched the dating habits of grad students and wrote theories about why they proposed the way they did,” he says. “I’d like to study matching markets, which speed dating is, but also delve into the behavioral side of economics. How do people make consistent mistakes we can understand and can model?” Previously, he was a decision analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers Applied Decision Analysis.
Meagan Stirling (Art)
B.A., Whitworth University; M.A., M.F.A., University of Wisconsin
A printmaker and installation artist, Meagan enjoys working with large printmaking presses, acid, copper and etching. “I love combining different media such as painting and photography with printmaking, a very traditional form of art,” she says. She taught at the University of Colorado Denver, including Beijing International College, for the past four years. “I’m excited about the wonderful facilities here and hope to move the art department forward with the vision we want for the students and the school,” she says. “I look forward to mo re one-on-one interaction with students.”
Meredith Whitnah (Sociology)
B.A., Gordon College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Meredith studies forms of injustice in society, and her research has focused on the intersection of gender and religion. “Sociology opens a window into understanding how things outside of our own individual experiences have influenced us and shaped the way the world functions,” she says. “It enlightens our understanding of how we’re participating in society and how society is also forming us. There’s something unique about Christian liberal arts education, which provides a combination of critical thinking and compassionate engagement with the world.” She arrives on campus in January after completing her work at Notre Dame.