Dr. Paul Boehlke
Martin Luther College is pleased to welcome Professor Paul Boehlke, Ph.D., DMLC ’61 to our graduate faculty. Dr. Boehlke’s life could serve as a blueprint for faithful teachers who understand the value of professional growth.
Boehlke’s assignment in 1961 was to a one-teacher school in Goodhue MN. Almost immediately he enrolled at Winona State, pursuing a master’s degree in education with a heavy science emphasis. “From then on,” he says, “I was always taking classes and applying what I learned in my classrooms.”
While teaching departmentalized science at St. John - Jefferson WI, he finished his master’s degree at Winona. He then taught chemistry and physics at Northwestern Prep for four years and received a National Science Foundation grant, which allowed him to complete a second master’s degree, in chemistry, at Union College in New York.
He was then called to DMLC, where he served for 24 years, finishing his doctorate at the University of Iowa soon after he arrived.
“One is never finished with learning,” he says. “To teach well, you have to study.” While at DMLC, Boehlke was nominated by Dr. Arthur Schulz for Project Kaleidoscope’s Faculty for the 21st Century. He received an award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for an educational activity he submitted to the AAAS Black Church Project. He was also appointed New Ulm Civil Defense Director and, along with Professor Martin Sponholz, taught classes on tornado spotting, for which the men received recognition from the governor of Minnesota.
Later, Boehlke was called to WLC, where he taught anatomy and physiology for 15 years and helped found the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. At WLC, he held the Gary Greenfield Endowed Chair of Christian Leadership, receiving a grant to study the relationship of science and faith. And at his retirement, he was honored with WLC’s Pro Gloria Dei Award.
Dr. Boehlke is quick to note the people who inspired and motivated him on his educational journey. It was his father who encouraged Paul to become a teacher after seeing how well he organized the neighborhood softball games. It was fellow Minnesota teachers Jim Hopman and LeRoy Leverson who urged him to get his master’s degree when he began teaching in Goodhue, and it was Dr. Edward Meyer who suggested they travel together from New Ulm to Iowa to pursue their doctorates.
Encouragement is something he deeply appreciates – not surprising from a man some former DMLC cross country runners still call “Coach.”
We are pleased to have such a distinguished scholar on our graduate faculty. Dr. Boehlke will be teaching EDU5103 Improving Instruction in Mathematics and Science. And his own studies will continue as well. He is researching and writing a book on science and its implications for faith. “Recently,” he says, “I have been studying the effect of the Reformation on science education at the University of Wittenberg. I want to stay intellectually active as long as God allows.”
Here in New Ulm, he and his wife, Jeanette, enjoy hiking in the woods, finding wildflowers and observing the wildlife. The professor reads C. S. Lewis, Martin Luther, and former DMLC professor Martin Galstad. He enjoys listening to Bach, Vivaldi, Pachelbel, and jazz. And he again has his HO model train set up - something his four sons and eight grandchildren have enjoyed through the years.
Dr. Boehlke is pleased to be teaching graduate students. “I certainly want to support MLC’s graduate program,” he says. “I enjoy students and seeing them learn something new.”
What our grad students will certainly learn is Dr. Boehlke’s blueprint for professional growth and faithfulness: learning and teaching and learning some more.
(Article written by Laurie Gauger)