La Sierra University welcomes Ron Osborn, PhD and Marlene Ferreras, PhD as the newest additions to its world class faculty.

What do you like best about your field of teaching?

Ron Osborn: Ethics and philosophy allow one to explore strange and puzzling quandaries that do not admit easy answers.

You’ve had a career path with some variety. How has that prepared you for the classroom?

Marlene Ferreras: I am tri-vocational and I see my career path as one where each role/discipline (teaching, preaching, counseling) informs the other. What I bring to the classroom is a value for interdisciplinary studies that help us ask interesting questions. Life is not compartmentalized, life is messy and the challenges before us (as a church, society and nation) require a generation of students able to think in interdisciplinary ways.

What “aha!” moments do you try to create for your students?

Ron Osborn: I think it is often an “aha” moment for my students when they realize that they won’t learn the right answers in my classes so much as the right questions.

How has your research impacted your own life?

Marlene Ferreras: My research fundamentally changed how I think and act in the world.

What hobby or hidden talent do you have that would surprise people?

Ron Osborn: My go-to karaoke song is “Know How” by Young MC.

Describe yourself in three words.

Marlene Ferreras: Pastor-Scholar-Clinician-Activist (Does it count as one word if I use a hyphen?)

What are you reading that you can’t put down?

Ron Osborn: Dryer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer.

What’s at the top of your reading list right now?

Marlene Ferreras: “Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism: Womanist and Black Feminist Perspectives” by Keri Day

What classroom moments make you smile?

Ron Osborn: Students who make comments that show they have done their reading make me smile.

What would we always find in your refrigerator or cupboard?

Marlene Ferreras: Carbonated water, peanut butter, and fruit snacks.

What’s the most unusual job you ever had?

Ron Osborn: Given the rarity of stable, long-term positions in today’s academic job market, my present job feels most unusual.

What mentor most impacted your life?

Marlene Ferreras: Whole communities brought me forward: refugees in the USA, immigrants, Latinx, sister-scholars of color who persevered through the PhD program with me, Adventist congregations in Southern California, as well as working-class women and single mothers in the pueblo in México where I did my research.

When you were growing up, did you imagine you’d be a professor?

Ron Osborn: Yes.

What is your favorite Bible verse and how did it become your favorite?

Marlene Ferreras: John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The verse came to be my favorite as I spent time considering life-limiting theologies and life-giving theologies. The latter has been a source of healing for me and a way of clarifying my commitments to justice-making as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.

What’s your favorite Bible verse and how did it acquire meaning for you?

Ron Osborn:
“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

I often think of this verse while grading papers.

What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a professor?

Marlene Ferreras: I generally sit in a circle to teach. At the end of one of my courses, a student approached me with words of gratitude for the course. Since this was also a farewell exchange and he was standing, I stood up to also express my appreciation for his presence and participation in the class. At that point the student gasped and said, “Wow, I thought you were much taller!” We laughed.