Faculty Stories

Reverend Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong Receives GBHEM Exemplary Teaching Award

Dr. Dong Jeong

Reverend Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong was awarded the 2021-2022 General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) Exemplary Teaching Award at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s 165th Commencement on May 13, 2022. Jeong is assistant professor of New Testament interpretation and director of the Center for Asian/Asian American Ministry at Garrett-Evangelical.

The GBHEM Exemplary Teaching Award is awarded each year to a faculty member who has been nominated by their institution’s leaders for exceptional service to the school and excellent in education. Selection criteria include excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education, and service to students, the institution, and the community.

Testifying to Jeong’s transformative impact on their learning experience, one student wrote, “Over the span of this academic year, the professor not only took it upon himself to strategically and intellectually convey the course material, but he also demonstrated a praxis of professorship that is often missed in academic settings: being a person, a human being, being an individual. … I give thanks [for] the work and human-ness of [Dr. Jeong]!”

(L-R) President Javier A. Viera, Rev. Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong, and Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran

“I am truly honored to receive this amazing award!” said Jeong. “As I reflect upon reaching this milestone in my teaching career, I have realized more than ever that I am who I am as a teacher because of my students. This award is a culmination of the wisdom my students imparted to me throughout the years. I hear you, I remember you, and I thank you, my students from Garrett, Drew, Rutgers, Maranatha, and Academy of Saint Elizabeth.”

In her presentation at commencement, Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran, academic dean and vice president of academic affairs, noted how changes around COVID-19, vaccine mandates, the increasing number of teaching modalities, and teaching students who are scattered across time zones and geographic regions presented unprecedented challenges for all of higher education. Though every member of Garrett-Evangelical’s faculty has persevered and stepped up to the challenge of teaching during this academic year, Jeong in particular stood out.

“[Dr. Jeong] was uniformly affirmed as a gift, a fantastic and brilliant teacher … who is inclusive, open, and authentic in their approach to the students and the material of their teaching; who is incredibly knowledgeable and wise; who shows deep and genuine care for students; who sets an example for practicing discernment in the Spirit; and who models leadership beyond the classroom,” said Tran.

Jeong joined the faculty in the summer of 2020. The son of Korean missionaries in the Philippines, he is an ordained elder in the Philippine Central Conference, Manila Episcopal Area, Southwest Philippines Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.