Hailing from all corners of the country, OE faculty and staff have at the core of their work a deep love for this place and the students that join us here.
WHO WE ARE
Kelton (Tad) Cobb (Ph.D. University of Iowa) joined the faculty of the Oregon Extension in the fall of 2011. He has taught Christian theology, church history, and comparative religions at Wesleyan University, St. Joseph’s University, and Hartford Seminary. He grew up in Colorado, but has led an itinerant academic life in Oregon, New Jersey, Iowa, Germany, and Connecticut. He has published one book called The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture, and is currently interested in how Christianity has learned, with great difficulty, to be moral through the hard lessons of its darkest hours. He lives at Lincoln with his two sons.
Nathania Seales Oh (M.F.A. UC Riverside) has spent many years on both sides of the craft of storytelling. Originally from the Cayman Islands, she worked for more than twenty years as a producer in film and television, including hosting a music video show and working in animation with Cartoon Network. More recently, she writes and teaches writing workshops in Southern California. Nathania is published in Coast Magazine of the OC Register, The Coachella Review and The Redlands Review. She is a Visiting Professor at the OE fall 2019 and is enjoying the adventure of a different rhythm of life in a forest with her daughter and husband (when he can visit).
Seaton Tarrant (Ph.D. University of Florida) has grown organic food and developed and taught sustainable lifestyle practices for the last twenty years. He is a writer, musician, and social scientist with research experience in community resilience, social justice, theories of empowerment, and sustainability education. He is a certified restorative justice practitioner and an associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. He has published on the changing role of civics, new conceptions of critical thinking, systems thinking, and transdisciplinary communication and collaboration. Seaton loves reading, weeding, and spending time in the wilderness with his wife and his two free-range ninja boys.
James W. (Jim) Hood (Ph.D. UNC-Chapel Hill) comes to the OE as a Visiting Professor for Fall 2020 from Guilford College, where he teaches nineteenth-century British literature, American nature writing, and writing courses. He grew up in south Florida, enchanted by birds and the Everglades. Home now is central North Carolina, where he spends his free time walking the woods and hand-crafting furniture. His recent publications include The Ecology of Quaker Meeting (Pendle Hill) and articles on Victorian reading practices.
Deirdre Longacher Smeltzer(Ph.D. University of Virginia) is stepping away from six years as undergraduate dean at Eastern Mennonite University and bringing her deep knowledge of the liberal arts to the OE as a Visiting Professor for fall 2019. Her field is mathematics, which she has taught at both EMU and the University of St. Thomas in MN. Among her achievements at EMU was assistance in the creation of the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, a collaborative effort of Mennonite colleges, organization, and churches to mitigate climate change. She is also currently serving as chair of the Environmental Performance Standards Advisory Committee for the city of Harrisonburg, VA.
Gretchen Steidle (MBA, Dartmouth College) established and leads Global Grassroots, with the mission to catalyze women and girls as leaders of Conscious Social Change in their communities. Gretchen is a producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary film, The Devil Came on Horseback. She was honored in 2007 by World Business Magazine and Shell as one of the top International 35 Women Under 35, and as a CNN Hero in Haiti, and was awarded the inaugural Susan J. Herman Award for Leadership in Holocaust and Genocide Awareness. Her newest book, Leading from Within: Conscious Social Change and Mindfulness for Social Innovation was published in 2017 by MIT Press. Gretchen teaches the OE’s social entrepreneurship track in Segment 3.
Star Tarrant (Office Manager and Student Coordinator) Star comes to the OE with a background in event planning, grant writing, and teaching for organic farms and environmental education. Prior to joining the OE, Star initiated and ran environmental education programs for an award winning land conservation trust, and developed outreach projects for an international certifier of organic farms. She is a practicing herbalist, naturalist, and mom. In her spare time Star enjoys wildcrafting, exploring wilderness, yoga, and cooking.