- Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Professor Bjelland was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1986 by the University of Minnesota, earning the university’s highest distinction. He worked on urban transportation and development projects before earning a Master’s in civil engineering from the University of Washington in 1989. He obtained his professional engineering license in Washington State while working for consulting firms in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. As his engineering projects intersected with urban planning, environmental justice, and ethical issues, he pursued further studies in theology, ethics, and the social sciences. He earned a Master’s degree in theology from Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. in 1995 and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Minnesota in 2000. He has been awarded two Fulbright grants, allowing him to study, lecture and conduct research in Germany and Great Britain. He taught geography and environmental studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota for fifteen years before coming to Calvin College in 2013.
He worked as an Environmental engineering consultant between 1988-1994. He then taught at Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN from 1998-2013, before joining the GEO department in 2013.
- Urban environments
- Urban planning
- Water resources
- Religion and place
- Geographic information systems