News & Resources


Welcoming Dr. Eric Nord to the Costa Rica Team!

Feb 14, 2017

An Assistant Professor of Biology at Greenville, Eric will fill the post normally held by Dr. David Unander of Eastern University (Pennsylvania) who is unable to travel to Costa Rica this year. Already a part of the Au Sable faculty teaching Forest Ecology alongside his wife, Dr. Andrea Nord, during Summer Session II at the Pacific Rim Campus, Eric brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Through TAM, Eric will be providing students with an introduction to tropical agriculture with applications for working with resource-poor farmers.

Knowing Au Sable well, Dr. Nord first visited the Institute as a student in 1992, and went on to work at Au Sable as an intern, staff member, and faculty representative before becoming a professor on the faculty in 2016.

“What can I say except that God has clearly provided the perfect person for our students in Tropical Agriculture and Missions this year in the person of Eric Nord. We’ll be glad to see Dave Unander back in 2018, but there will be no drop in the quality of this course with Eric as the instructor. Students taking Tropical Agriculture and Missions this year will have an outstanding experience.” said Dr. Fred Van Dyke, Executive Director of the Au Sable Institute.

Eric brings much personal, professional, and cultural experience to TAM that will be a blessing to his students. Eric’s graduate studies and post-doctoral work at Penn State focused on the use of ecological tools to enhance productivity in agricultural systems, including efforts to support plant breeding targeted at increasing the productivity of small-holder production systems in majority world nations. Eric has worked and studied internationally in China, South Africa, and Malawi. Fluent in Spanish, Eric has also worked in Honduras with Mennonite Central Committee in projects focusing on agricultural development and missions.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to teach this class; agriculture in the tropics is important both as a tool for stewardship of creation and as a tool for meeting human needs. Some of my best memories from Honduras are of touring small farms and hearing the farmers describe their ideas, hopes, and dreams – I’d love for our students to experience that” shared Eric about his appointment to teach TAM.

Glad to have you on board, Dr. Nord!

Learn more about Tropical Agriculture and Missions here, and enroll here!