News & Resources

Featured Faculty: John Korstad, Lake Ecology and Management

Posted by Paul Wiemerslage | Dec 14, 2015

Professor of Biology and Director of the Honors Program at Oral Roberts University (ORU), John Korstad is a well-known and much beloved member of the Au Sable faculty, annually teaching Lake Ecology and Management at Au Sables Great Lakes Campus in Summer Session II since 1996. Raised in northern California, John was a double major in biology and geology at California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks. There John was strongly influenced by and attracted to Christian professors who expressed their faith in Christ transparently in many disciplines. Their examples had a profound impact on his ultimate decision to become a college professor who would teach students in a faith-based institution. After earning his Bachelor’s degrees (BA in Geology and BS in Biology) from California Lutheran, John earned an MS in Environmental Biology from California State University- Hayward before completing both an MS and PhD in Zoology from the University of Michigan. A research contributor to such journals as Hydrobiologia, Journal of Great Lakes Research, and Green Chemistry, John is also known for his outstanding skill as an educator, having received awards at ORU for Faculty Member of the Year (Excellence in Teaching), Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Outstanding Faculty Award for All Schools, and, from the Carnegie Foundation, Professor of the Year in Oklahoma. A former Fulbright Scholar, John has conducted research in Norway on aquaculture research and the development of biofuels from algae. Known locally around Au Sable’s Great Lakes Campus, John and his students in Lake Ecology and Management annually conduct surveys of local lakes and provide the results to local lake owner associations, a practice that has made many friends for the Au Sable Institute.

Students like John Naritoku recall, "Jon Korstad is a teacher that believes in the student's ability to excel in his class. He is very out-going and we get to take trips to lakes and ponds during the class period. Even though it sounds fun, it is hard but manageable work for everyone.” Despite a demanding schedule and a constantly growing array of opportunities for his service and skill, John continues to return to Au Sable each year. He explains “I love teaching at Au Sable.  It fulfills my desire to apply the academic aspects of Lake Ecology and Management in practical ways through working with local lakeside homeowners to better manage their beautiful aquatic resources. I appreciate the opportunity to fellowship with the wonderful Au Sable community and to serve the Lord far beyond what I dreamed possible.”

For every student, the opportunity to learn under the skills and care of John Korstad in his Lake Ecology and Management course at Au Sable remains an exceptional privilege and a transformative educational experience.