Biola University welcomes two new faculty members this Spring, Dr. Matt Van Hook and Chase Andre. The new professors — from Torrey Honors College and the School of Fine Arts and Communication — vary in research interests ranging from American political thought to globalization and network policy.
To learn about Biola’s new faculty, read their thoughts below on the value of Christian higher education and the significance of a strong foundation in their specific fields.
Torrey Honors College: Matt Van Hook
Matt Van Hook received his doctoral degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame with a focus on political theory, constitutional studies and American political thought. He also holds a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Van Hook taught at the United States Air Force Academy for several years where he served as the American and Policy Studies Division Chair in the Department of Political Science and a faculty representative for the Academy Scholars Program. His research and published work ranges from the statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln to politics and law in the novels of Harper Lee. Van Hook’s diverse career also includes two decades of service as an active-duty officer in the United States Air Force.
“Christian higher education in our current age has the potential to revitalize truth-seeking as a serious endeavor for human beings,” said Van Hook. “As fewer institutions encourage students to wrestle with foundational questions about our nature and our relationship with a living God, Christian colleges and universities should serve as beacons that illuminate the danger of dismissing these inquiries out of hand. They stand at the forefront of nourishing intellectual and spiritual growth in the fullest sense for an increasingly hungry generation. Christian institutions are particularly well-equipped to exemplify liberal education as an indispensable preparation for the flourishing of free people, because we understand well that those whom Christ has made free are free indeed.”
School of Fine Arts and Communication: Chase Andre
Chase Andre received his master's degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in intercultural studies with an emphasis in just peacemaking. Teaching in Biola’s Department of Communication Studies since 2014, Chase's approach to education helps students practically follow Jesus' teachings in how they live, speak, work and act — particularly as peacemakers and reconcilers at the sites of intercultural conflict. He has researched and engaged in fair housing advocacy, communication in the global, networked society and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s communicative action. Outside the classroom, Chase serves business and nonprofit leaders as a communication consultant. He speaks at national conferences and leads workshops and retreats. Chase and his family live in Los Angeles.
“Communication Studies is a rigorous academic discipline, but it is also highly practical,” said Andre. “Our work incorporates insights from sociology, psychology, intercultural studies and philosophy — and yet, for the Christian, it needs a thoroughly biblical ethic as its grounding and telos. Training as a communicator, students go beyond studying culture to learning how to impact culture. In the Department of Communication Studies at Biola, we are able to go beyond examining what God would have us say to the world by asking, ‘How would God have us speak?’ Whether students hope to pursue graduate studies, lead in the nonprofit or public sector, go into the ministry, or serve in business, this world needs Christians who communicate with discernment, wisdom and love.”