Simpson University for Seniors Instructors

John Ayabe

Dr. Ayabe received his training in United States history with an emphasis on the religious and cultural history of early America. He has long been fascinated by popular expressions of Christianity — both individually and corporately. Much of his work explores the dynamic relationship between religious organizations and society. His scholarly interests include the history of Christian thought, American evangelicalism, frontier religion of the early Midwest, American missions and revivalism, and the exegetical writings of Jonathan Edwards.

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Catching Lightning in a Bottle: Christian Faith and Practice in American History, Lincoln: The Man Behind the Film

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Dawn Bulchandani

Dawn Bulchandani loves California. She also loves the Middle East. She lived in Israel three years and most recently worked with an organization in Baghdad, Iraq. She teaches Introduction to the Bible at Simpson University. Dawn is the author of Driving Through Walls: My Supernatural Journey of Hope. She has three master’s degrees and is married to Neel Bulchandani, a revolutionary chiropractor and book editor. Her website is

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: World Religions, The Transition from Judaism to Christianity in the New Testament

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Don Claspill

Don Claspill has taught at Simpson University for many years. He is currently professor emeritus but still teaches a variety of courses for the History Department.

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Fire and Ice, The Western World: Regional Geography of Europe and the Americas, Six Flags: The History of California from 1542 to 1945, Where We Began: A Geography of Africa and Asia, Here I Stand! - The Protestant Reformation

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Brian Larsen

Dr. Brian Larsen, Associate Professor of English at Simpson University, has taught a variety of classes in art, writing, and literature. He has a B.A. in English from Whitworth College, M. Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Ph.D. from the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at The University of St. Andrews, Scotland. With degrees in both literature and Biblical studies/theology, Dr. Larsen is an interdisciplinarian interested in the ways Christianity interacts and informs literature and art. He believes that art and the imagination are neglected in Evangelical Christianity and that art and the imagination form key components of a Christian response to postmodernism.

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Jane Austen: Wit, Wisdom, and World, Christian Apologetics: Exercising Faith in a Doubting World, History and Life through the Eyes of Art

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David Pierce

David Pierce is a former career Navy submarine officer with a Ph.D. in Acoustical Engineering. Prior to moving to Redding three years ago, he and his family ran a Christian high school in rural Uganda, East Africa, where they learned to be thankful for modern plumbing. He loves physics and is excited about sharing its wonders with the students in Simpson University for Seniors.

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Weird Physics, Understanding the Wonder of the Natural World

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Susan Rhyne

Susan Rhyne has lived in the Redding area with her husband, Ross, for 23 years. They have two children, Rachel who will be a senior in the Simpson University School of Nursing this coming fall, and Ross who will be a senior at Redding Christian High School.

In addition to teaching nutrition at Simpson University to pre-nursing students, Susan is a student in Simpson’s Master of Arts Counseling Psychology program. Prior to becoming a student again, she taught high school science for six years including Earth science, biology, chemistry and anatomy/physiology. She is also a Physician Assistant, who worked in a local community health center for 15 years.

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Nutrition: Here’s to Your Health

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Glenn Schaefer

Glenn Schaefer, Ph.D., has been associated with Simpson University since 1974, serving in various capacities: Old Testament professor, Division chair, “tour guide” to Israel, and most recently, Coordinator of Simpson University for Seniors. He has been married to Nancy for 52 years; they have three children and seven grandchildren. He loves to teach students of any age.

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Journey to the Biblical World, Documents from Bible Times, Jeremiah: The Man and His Message, The Customs and Culture of the Ancient Israelites, The Land of Milk and Honey, Joseph, the Dreamer: An Introduction to Biblical Narrative, Discovering a “Forgotten Book” of the Bible: I & II Chronicles

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Gary Schmidt

Before coming to Simpson, Gary Schmidt spent more than 13 years traveling and working in about 16 countries in Europe, Africa and the Americas. His teaching experience ranges from kindergarten to the university graduate level. Gary spent two years in relief and development work in West Africa, three years as a 'tentmaker' in Venezuela, five years as a bi-vocational pastor in Miami's inner city, and about a year serving with his wife as surrogate parents in a home for single pregnant girls contemplating adoption.

Predominantly, his work experience lies in the development and use of information systems (IS). He has done a variety of things in management information systems (MIS), from small personal projects to team participation on a multi-million-dollar development project.

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Political Economics and the World Today

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Dottie Smith

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: Shasta County History 101, Official Historic Places of Shasta County, The Trail of Tears for Shasta County Native Americans, The Pioneers Who Shaped Shasta County

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Jeffrey Smith

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: The Church Persecuted, the Church Triumphant: A Brief History of Christianity in its First Five Centuries, Seven Events that Shaped Christian Doctrine

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Len Wallmark

Simpson for Seniors Courses Taught: The Four Hundred “Silent” Years Between the Old and New Testaments, The Life and Times of Flavius Josephus, The Dead Sea Scrolls

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