Written by Alyssa Wilson ~ Editor-in-Chief
Several of beloved University of Lynchburg professors will not return for the 23-24 school year.
Dr. Bosco Bae, Religious Studies
Dr. Bosco Bae became a widely known and loved professor in an extremely short amount of time; both in his department and campus-wide.
Bae first came to the university two years ago at the start of a one-year visiting contract as an assistant professor of religious studies.
“He made himself invaluable to the religious studies department, to the general education program and to the students,” says Dr. Amy Merrill Willis.
It was Merrill-Willis’ goal from the start of Bae’s Lynchburg journey to get him renewed for a second contract.
Automatically upon his arrival, Bae made connections with students, faculty and staff across the university community, quickly making a name and reputation for himself.
Merrill-Willis recalls hearing about this good reputation by the middle of his first semester here in 2021 from students and faculty advisors.
Students of color were quickly drawn to Bae and he quickly became a confidant and trusted faculty member, which led to him being hired as the director for student diversity and belonging in the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
“In my opinion Dr. Bae was one of the few professors that really cared about the well-being of black students, as well as people of color in general,” says alum Theo Veal.
Veal reflects on how Bae was always open and honest about who he was as a person, and cultivated a free and personal atmosphere in the classroom. “Dr. Bae took the time to connect with his students and you could tell that he cared deeply about them,” continues Veal.
Merrill-Willis also noticed the impact he has had on students over the past two years and says that he is extraordinary at listening to students’ concerns, helping them and encouraging them to listen to each other as well.
Bae was also integral to the DELL General Education Program and taught several classes outside of the specified religious studies offerings.
One of these classes was Sociology of Race and Ethnicity in which he had Jacob Jones, sophomore as a student.
Jones says, “He made it a really fun class and it was good to hear a minority perspective.” Jones is also the president of Man2Man, a club that “focuses on the successful development of men of color at the University of Lynchburg”.
Because Man2Man is housed in the Office of Equity and Inclusion, Jones has been able to work with Bae in both a classroom setting and club setting. “I’m sad to see him go,” says Jones. “He is always a bright spot in my day.”
Bae will be moving on to Centre College in Danville, Kentucky after this semester is over, where he will continue to deepen his impact.
“Wherever he lands, I want him to flourish and thrive and be in a place where he can practice his scholarly gifts and teaching gifts to the extent that he deserves,” concludes Merrill-Willis.
Bae will be deeply missed by both students and faculty campus-wide.
Dr. Adam Dean, History Department
Dr. Adam Dean first entered the University of Lynchburg in the fall of 2011, with his now-wife Dr. Kara Eaton Dean and has made a great impact on the university and its students in the years since.
Dean currently serves as the chair of the history department and, according to Dr. Brian Crim, is a great leader of the department.
“He’s masterful as a chair. He’s very personable and then he knows how to work between faculty colleagues and administrators, which is a hard thing to do,” says Crim.
Crim also serves as a Professor of history and arrived at the university two years before Dean in 2008. One of the greatest impacts Crim has seen Dean have on students is through his domestic study-away program and building-up of internship opportunities and connections in central Virginia.
In 2021, Dean led a domestic-study trip to Yellowstone National Park with Exercise Physiology Professor Dr. Jeffrey Herrick.
“The trip both incorporated my personal experiences with going to Yellowstone since I was a kid, and my academic work,” says Dean.
In addition to his love of teaching, Dean also wrote a book on mid-19th century land policy that included a chapter on the creation of Yosemite and Yellowstone, which he loved teaching the students about on the trip.
Dean has always had a love for US National Parks and has visited them almost every summer since he was a third grader, so it is fitting that Dean’s next journey will be to New Mexico, where will become a park ranger at Vias Caldera National Preserve.
“I’m passionate about the history [of national parks], and a big value of Vias Caldera is to become a model park for tribal partnerships and cooperation,” says Dean.
Dean led a talk about indigenous dispossession in US National Parks. “I think, quite frankly, it’s easy to be critical when you’re sitting in your office over there in Carnegie, but to actually try and be part of the solution is something important to me,” says Dean.
Understanding past history and being critical and discerning when it comes to information is something Dean is passionate about teaching his students as well.
“I hope that they [students] understand the past in greater complexity and nuance,” says Dean. “I hope that they’ve become better writers and discerners of information and develop their own answers to complicated history.”
Senior Rebecca Faulkner exemplifies this legacy that Dean hopes to leave behind.
Faulkner took a class with Dean her sophomore year, and learned skills in his class that she has taken with her through her college career.
Faulkner recalls her experience in class as one that genuinely applied concepts learned in lectures to everyday life and facets of American culture.
“In this class specifically we were talking about the development of slavery in the United States, and how it looked from an economic perspective, religious perspective, and all of these other facets that I hadn’t heard of before,” says Faulkner.
Faulkner raved about the discussion based classes and how Dean taught more than just history, changing the way she viewed the subject going forward.
Dean has left a legacy behind at the university and the community is excited to see him doing something that perfectly fits his passions.
“He’s going to be impossible to replace,” says Crim. “It’s great for his young family, so the timing is right for him.”
Dean is looking forward to the snow that will be present in his future home of Jemez Springs, New Mexico where he will be closer to his family and original western roots.
Dr. Takashi Maie, Biology Department
Dr. Takashi Maie came to Lynchburg after teaching at a public university in Minnesota on a year contract.
That was in 2014 and since then he has led study-abroad trips to Japan, where he is from, and collaborated on projects with other professors, such as Chemistry Professor Dr. Samrat Thapa.
Maie teaches anatomy and physiology and is passionate about teaching his students the art of understanding.
“It’s a content rich subject, but as students learn how organ systems work, how our body functions, I love to see how their face lights up when they understand it and have that eureka moment,” says Maie.
He hopes that students will be able to take that same excited energy and spread it to their future students or patients after they graduate.
In addition to understanding the subject of anatomy and physiology, he also has led a study-abroad trip in the hopes that students will understand what it is like to be a foreigner in a new country.
“I wanted to help reverse that experience, because I came here as a foreigner and I think it’s important for students to go outside of the US and experience other cultures,” says Maie.
He has not only affected the lives of his students, but has also cultivated great relationships amongst faculty members.
Thapa in particular, has collaborated with him on projects and research that have enriched the School of Sciences.
Because of his focus on anatomy, Maie works closely with wetting solutions that are used with cadavers. Maie and Thapa collaborated on a project that merged their chemistry and anatomy backgrounds to find alternative solutions.
Thapa and Maie are not only good research partners, but also great friends as they arrived at the university at the same time and quickly found that they had much in common and generally enjoyed getting to know each other.
“He always has that smile plastered on his face, very welcoming. He’s just very affable and kind,” remarked Thapa.
Since coming to teach at the university, Maie has helped around 40 students with their senior research projects, many of them being nursing students.
Nursing student Naomi Watkins says, “Having Maie as my professor this semester has been a new experience for me that I’m grateful for.”
Maie will be heading back to Minnesota in the fall to St. Olaf’s College, a private, liberal arts school close in size to Lynchburg.
He hopes to be able to expand his research there and have more opportunities to discover.