The Modern and Classical Languages department welcomes the appointment of Chair Dr. Jon C. Laansma and Assistant Chair Becky Toly.
The Gerald F. Hawthorne Professor of New Testament Greek and Exegesis, Dr. Jon Laansma possesses expertise in both biblical studies and Greek. Originally aspiring to a career in physical therapy, Dr. Laansma changed paths to pursue biblical studies, driven by an overwhelming desire to understand the Scriptures, to explore what it means to be a Christian, and to help others do the same. In addition to his contributions to theological reference texts and biblical commentaries, Dr. Laansma has written on topics ranging from The Rest Motif in the New Testament to the Difficult and Irregular Greek Verbs of the New Testament. His most recent book, So Great a Salvation: A Dialogue in the Atonement in Hebrews (co-edited with George Guthrie and Cynthia Westfall), joins two other edited volumes to complete a series covering Christology, salvation, and mission. Dr. Laansma’s commitment to faith seeking exegetical and interdisciplinary understanding extends beyond his scholarship to the classroom. Serving for most of his Wheaton years in a dual appointment, he has taught extensively in both the Biblical and Theological Studies and Modern and Classical Languages departments, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In his Greek courses, Dr. Laansma’s motto is to “get as many students as possible as far as possible, and to enjoy the journey.” His commitment to serving students was formally recognized in 2014 when he was awarded the Wheaton College Senior Faculty Teaching Award.
Incoming Assistant Chair Prof. Becky Toly brings extensive, multi-level foreign language teaching experience to the department, having taught Spanish for six years at the high school level and fourteen years of undergraduate courses. At Wheaton College, in addition to teaching, Professor Toly has served as the Modern Language Conversation Group Coordinator, the Head of the Spanish 103 and 201 programs, and as a faculty mentor for the Human Needs and Global Resources program. Professor Toly is passionate about helping students to succeed and find joy in language learning by making the classroom a hospitable and inclusive environment for all students, regardless of their prior level of exposure to or interest in languages.