Defender Profile: Dr. Fred Coulter

Written by: Elizabeth Patrick

I am excited and proud to introduce you to Dr. Fred Coulter. Dr. Coulter is a professor here at Defiance College in the teacher education program and will be retiring at the end of the spring semester.

Throughout Dr. Coulter’s educational career, he has been to various colleges. The first college he attended was the University of Rhode Island, where he majored in psychology.

He believed that he wanted to be a minister and was advised that this would be a good major since he would be working with people.

After earning this degree, he attended a Seminary at Andover Newton Theological School outside Boston. In 1980, he was ordained and started working at the United Church of Christ as a minister.

During this same time, he started working as an assistant minister at Green Farms Congregational Church in Westport, Connecticut. He worked there for five years before he became the minister of the Ledyard Congregational Church, in which he worked there for ten years.

At this time, Dr. Coulter realized that he wanted to do more with his life and had the opportunity to attend the University of Tennessee and earn his doctorate in Child and Family studies. After getting his Ph.D., he began looking for a faculty member job.

In 2002, a faculty member job became open here at Defiance College, and Dr. Coulter applied and was hired.

Dr. Coulter stated that his time here has been very satisfying, and he has learned so much from his colleagues Dr. Burkhardt and, more recently, Dr. Engel. They have supported and inspired him to help with the McMaster trip to Cambodia.

One experience that meant so much to Dr. Coulter was being asked by Dr. Engel to teach a course called “The Road to God,” or “A Row to God,” that used baseball to talk about faith. Coulter recalled that this was such a good experience for him.

Throughout Dr. Coulter’s time here at Defiance College, there have been many opportunities that he has had that have left a significant impact on him and his fellow students.

One opportunity is that he has been the Center for Effective Teaching director for the last four years. As the director, he leads workshops for faculty members to become more effective teachers. Dr. Coulter recalls this opportunity as being very satisfying for a variety of different reasons. One reason is that he believes that Defiance College has had some great teachers here, and not only does he get to share his ideas, but they also share theirs. As a result of the other teachers sharing their experiences, Dr. Coulter has been able to take what he has learned and apply it to his classroom.

For the last three years, Dr. Coulter also has had the opportunity to be the Fuller chair for Christian education, and he stated that that had been a great opportunity of getting back to his love of ministry.

Locally Dr. Coulter attends the St. John UCC, but his wider denomination church in Ohio is the United Church of Christ.

Another thing that is very important to Dr. Coulter is the Schauffler Chair. The Schauffler Chair has inspired Dr. Coulter to do the weekly mindfulness and meditation. This also inspired Dr. Coulter to apply for grants through the Heartland Conference, which has allowed for updates in Schauffler.

He also has taught various classes in the teacher education program here at Defiance College. The most satisfying part of his teaching job is seeing students come to his class every day and then watching them graduate.

Seeing his previous students out in local schools as teachers, principals, and superintendents gives Dr. Coulter a lot of satisfaction as he knows that the Defiance College education program taught them well.

There are various things that Dr. Coulter enjoys doing for fun. Some of these things include: walking with his wife Jan, cooking, taking trips, and going to art museums.

In terms of his retirement, his wife Jan and him will be taking a big trip and traveling to Scotland sometime in the near future. For now, he and his wife will be traveling to Florida this winter to see his son’s wife and grandchildren while it is cold up here and warm down there.

Dr. Coulter would like to say that the students here at Defiance College have given him so much that he truly enjoys going to class and teaching every day. As a professor, he believes there is never a dull moment as something is always happening.

To conclude, Dr. Coulter has left an everlasting impression on his former students and will be deeply missed by the students and faculty in the future.

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