New faculty added to Biola’s staff

The year welcomes some new additions to Biola’s teaching staff.


Courtesy of University of Communications and Marketing

Anne Marie Larson, Writer

New faculty members from various departments have joined Biola’s ranks this semester.


Joshua Smith is an assistant professor in the English department. Although he is an ordained minister, Smith did not consider working for a Christian institution before coming to Biola. However, the university impressed Smith with its strong commitment to both scholarship and faith, he said.

“Biola was a place where I could actually bring together two worlds that had been separated for me: ministry and academia,” Smith said.


Another new face is assistant professor of intercultural studies Leanne Dzubinski, who said she is fulfilling her dream of teaching after working as a missionary. Dzubinski was a missionary in Europe, primarily in Austria and Spain. Her general title was church-planting and evangelism, but she worked as an educator as well.

“One of the best things I saw through working in different countries was all the varied ways God works in people and different cultures and settings to bring about the growth of the church and the expansion of the kingdom,” Dzubinski said.

She added that she is happy to have that experience because as professor at Biola, she will work with students from around the world.

“It’s much easier to interact with them if you have some concept of what it’s like to live outside of your culture. It makes you more compassionate, understanding, and supportive of students. You have the capacity to think and examine things from different perspectives,” said Dzubinski.



Paul Spears, director of the Torrey Honors Institute, worked with a hiring committee to bring in two new Torrey professors, Adam Johnson and Chris Mitchell. The hiring committee works together to hire faculty they find are a good fit for the institution, said Spears.

Adam Johnson, a Biola and Talbot graduate, is one new assistant professor at the Torrey Honors Institute.

“I have taught at five different schools now, and in my experience there is nothing like teaching in the Torrey Honors program. And I’ve also studied at a variety of places. I have either earned degrees or taken courses at Oxford, Princeton, the University of Chicago — all over the place — and I haven’t found anything quite like the courses that are offered in the Torrey program,” Johnson said.

Biola has grown up since Johnson attended as a Torrey student, but in some ways it feels like he is back home, he said.


There are two new additions to the nursing department this semester, Penny Bacon and Becky Fallon. Bacon has over 24 years of nursing experience. She is a master’s prepared nurse practitioner whose specialty area is in obstetrics, which deals with women and their children’s health during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.

“To be at Biola and work with nursing students entering the field that l love so dearly is just a dream come true,” Bacon said.

She quit two positions to pursue Biola. Bacon said she is glad she did because Biola has stolen her heart.

Fallon’s experience with Christian schools — her son attended Biola — helped her decide to work here, she said. Fallon likes working at Christian institutions because if people share the same moral grounds and basic beliefs, they can better support each other, she said.

“I’m just happy to be here,” she said.

Bacon and Fallon are valuable additions to the department, said Susan Elliott, director of the nursing department.

“Both have a warmth and caring for the Lord first. They honor and serve him through nursing. They are going to mold and prepare the next generation of nurses,” she said.


Hailing from Portland, Ore., Richard Zeller is an assistant professor for the voice department of the Conservatory of Music. He has been performing and teaching the last 25 years and is now making the transition into full-time teaching at Biola. He wanted to be at a place where his skill set could be used, and the Lord opened the door to Biola, he said. Zeller was not expecting to come to Southern California. He could have stayed home, but he turned down two other teaching positions in Oregon in favor of Biola, he said.

“Being at Biola is a chance for my son to be in school here, and it is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family,” he said.


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