News & Resources

Faces of Service: Dr. Fred Van Dyke, Executive Director

Posted by lindsaybarden | Nov 03, 2016

Faces of Service: Dr. Fred Van Dyke, Executive Director from Au Sable Institute on Vimeo.


A leadership characterized by steadfast faith and principles, decisive vision and a determination for success describes Fred well. Dr. Fred Van Dyke has served as Au Sable's Executive Director since 2011, though his association with Au Sable began long before that.

In 1984, Fred taught Natural Resources Practicum at Au Sable, his first touch with the Institute. Since then, he taught on Au Sable's faculty again from 1986 to 1999 instructing a May Session course titled Natural History in Spring. The following twelve years, Fred acted as an Au Sable Faculty Representative at Northwestern College in Iowa and Wheaton College in Illinois. In 2009 he joined the Board of Trustees, where he served for 2 years before moving to his current role as Executive Director. Through a lasting tenure with the Au Sable Institute, acting in various roles over the years, Fred's understanding of the Institute and its constituents equips him uniquely well for his role.

"In my present position as Au Sable's Executive Director, I have perhaps one of the best jobs. Everything I choose to do is about advancing the work of creation care. In developing Au Sable's courses and educational programs, strengthening environmental programs at Participating Colleges, building a community of mutual support for Au Sable, developing the Au Sable Research Program, engaging churches in the understanding and work of creation stewardship, and making Au Sable a better place to work for our staff; There is no wasted time and no wasted effort," says Fred of his role at the Institute.

Earlier in his career, Fred earned his Ph.D. in environmental and forest biology from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York-Syracuse. He served as a wildlife biologist for the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, a scientific and management consultant to the National Park Service, and an ex offico member of numerous interdisciplinary management teams of the U.S. Forest Service. Dr. Van Dyke is the author of extensive publications, ranging from research studies in scientific journals, to his widely used textbook, Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, Applications (Springer 2008), Redeeming Creation: The Biblical Basis for Environmental Stewardship which he co-authored with former Au Sable Associate Director, Dave Mahan, and his most recent book, Between Heaven and Earth: Christian Perspectives on Environmental Protection.

"At an individual level, I see many lives changed in students and faculty through their time at Au Sable. This is important at the most foundational levels, our growth in becoming obedient disciples of Jesus Christ, of which creation care is but one expression. Many people, when living in the Au Sable community, have an opportunity to "straighten things out" in their life with Christ that they didn't or couldn't do in other settings. My ongoing work is to make life and community at Au Sable a place where there are no barriers to this kind of personal change."

Apart from his academic pursuits, Fred is a proud husband, father and grandfather who enjoys running, fishing, and spending time with his wife Linda and their dog Teddy.