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About Us: Faculty

Deb BuursmaDebra Buursma

Associate Professor
Learning Disabilities Advisor
(616) 526-6231
395 Spoelhof Center

Weekly Schedule
(Calvin login required)

Educational Background

  • M.A., Western Michigan University, 1989
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2005

Research Interests

  • Developing literacy skills
  • Communicative competence
  • Higher order thinking of culturally diverse learners through Book Club discussions
  • Identity development
  • Schooling practices

Publications, Presentations, and Professional Services

  • Organized/chaired conference: Everyone is a literacy teacher, Community Literacy Summit. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. 09/29/2014
  • "Accessible, responsive pedagogy: Math for all learners," Professional Development Summer Session for Math Grant. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. 06/10/2014
  •  "Sacred space pedagogy: Place and the powerful role of semiotics in pedagogy," Penn Ethnography Conference. Penn: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 03/20/2014
  •  "Sacred spaces: God’s grace-filled glimmers in the dreams & dust of teaching-learning activity," Teacher Education Division Conference. Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI. 09/23/2013
  • Led Workshop: Sacred Space Pedagogy A five dayHybrid workshop/symposium. Calvin Collee, Grand Rapids, MI. 07/14/2014
  • Led Workshop: Seeking Truth Within and Without: Knowing Ourselves; Knowing our Learners. International School Professional Development. Sekolah Pelita Harapan, Sentul Campus, Jakarta, Indonesia. 10/14/2013
  •  "Literacy, learning and the co-constructed identity of a learner," Community Literacy Summit. Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI. 09/27/2013
  • "Place, power and the practice of hospitality: Locating the pursuit of virtue," Kuyers Institute’s "Virtues, Vices, and Teaching Conference. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. 10/10/2013
  • Calvin Alumni Choir Board President May 2013- June 2015
  • Member of the Community Literacy Initiative Advisory Council 2013-2014 and 2015-2015

  • "Responsive Pedagogy through Metaphor, Parables, and Story," Teachers College Symposium. University Pelitas Harapan, Lippo Karawaci, Tangerang. 01/22/2013
  • "Prayer & Fiber Art: Paying Attention to God Glimmers," Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) Worship Symposium. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 01/24/2013
  • Co-led "How We Learn" faculty group on Sacred Teaching/Learning Spaces (bimonthly meetings 2012-2013)
  • Participated in the reading group Becoming an Anti-Racist Church: Journeying toward Wholeness by Joseph Barndt Fall 2012
  • Coplanner and liturgist for Calvin Alumni Choir Church Services, "All is Well," held January-February 2013
  • Served as a board member of the Calvin Alumni Choir 2012-2013
  • Simonson, J., Isom, D.A., Paxton-Buursma, D. (2008). The transformative power of questions: A journey from color blindness to racial awareness. In E. Horowitz (Ed.), Teaching Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: Perspectives from North America (pp. 197-212). Birmingham: Center for the Study of Sociology, Anthropology, and Politics, The Higher Education Academy Network Press.
  • Paxton-Buursma, D. (2008). “I was never not interested in learning”: Students with LD Speak. An invited research to practice presentation at CSI (Christian Schools International), South Bend, IN.