Tom Yoder Neufeld, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2002

Religious Studies, Conrad Grebel University College

Thomas Yoder Neufeld, associate professor of religious studies at Conrad Grebel University College, is also director of graduate theological studies at Conrad Grebel. A colleague reports that professor Yoder Neufeld “has obviously established a reputation as a fine teacher, not only to undergraduate students taking religious studies and peace and conflict studies classes, but also as a mentor and teacher of graduate students in Conrad Grebel's Master of Theological Studies program.” He is generous with his time in advising and guiding young and older students interested in pursuing graduate studies in theology. Professor Yoder Neufeld is “articulate, charismatic, passionate, and engaging in his teaching.” A colleague writes that he has a “very sharp mind with a great gift for the provocative and illuminative use of metaphors.” A student notes that he “not only is theatrical in his style of delivery but also seems to be energized rather than deflated as the 3-hour evening class proceeds.” Professor Yoder Neufeld's teaching style is also well received by distance education students through RS 206 (Jesus: Life and Legacy). This course has been offered through the centre for extended learning for the past fourteen semesters. Student evaluations are positive and enthusiastic noting how well the course is organized and that it is presented in an understanding and stimulating manner. Professor Yoder Neufeld is sensitive to the diversity of perspectives and interpretations that the students bring to religious texts, issues, and phenomena. One student writes “He has opened and dispelled opinions I have subconsciously held and changed my blockages and possible biases to a broader and more generous understanding of equally valuable perspectives.” Professor Yoder Neufeld's gifts of interpretation, analysis, and communication seen in the classroom carry through into the community as a resource to churches and organizations within the Mennonite constituency.