Jayden Hoksbergen – Staff Writer
Marcus Buker, Dordt’s new professor of mathematics and statistics, believes that God led him to his new position at Dordt.
Before coming to work at Dordt, Buker taught at Western Illinois University for 11 years. But Western Illinois struggled with enrollment, and under Governor Rauner, a budget crisis hit Illinois. In one year, the state cut 70 percent of the university’s budget, forcing it to lay off much of its faculty and staff.
Buker made it through the first round of layoffs, but lost his job in the second round, despite being tenured. He was informed of his layoff in 2019. Because of his contract, Buker was able to teach one more year.
In September of 2019, Buker started to apply at other universities. He expanded his search to places looking for a teacher in a math-related field, rather than just his current field of atmospheric science. Dordt was one of those places.
At the time he applied at Dordt, Buker had hopes of staying at Western Illinois. The university had canceled some of its layoffs, and he hoped to be one of the people they allowed to stay on. But when he started to look into what Dordt believed as an institution, he became more interested in Dordt as well, even before he officially lost his job.
Buker said that many strange and seemingly random events happened that allowed him to teach at Dordt. “At some point, you aren’t surprised anymore,” he said.
Buker gave one example of that kind of event. When he was looking to sell his house in Lacombe, Illinois, and move to Northwest Iowa, the housing market was terrible because of all the layoffs in the area. Houses frequently stayed on the market for years before selling.
The house across the street from where the Bukers lived was bigger, newer, and better than the Bukers’ house. It had been on the market for eight years. Buker was faced with the possibility that he would have to pay off two mortgages at one time after he moved. But when he put his house on the market on the morning of July 10, he received and accepted an offer before noon of the same day.
“Things like that kind of pointed pretty hard towards ‘God wanted us here,’” Buker said.
Despite knowing he was going where God was leading him, the transition from Illinois was not easy for Buker. He had to leave the school he thought he’d teach at until retirement. He knew he would be teaching in a field different than what he had gotten his PhD in and had been teaching before. He had to leave all of his friends behind, and he wasn’t even able to give them a proper goodbye because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Buker said his new colleagues have made him feel welcome in his new environment, even with the difficulties of the pandemic. He also enjoys the freedom he has at Dordt to teach his students using a biblical perspective in all of his classes.