Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim

Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim


Professor Dykstra-Pruim graduated from Calvin College with a BA in German. She then studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned her MA in German literature, a certificate in ESL, and a PhD in German-English applied linguistics.


Penny’s passion for diversity and inclusion work comes from a range of life experiences. For decades she taught foreign languages and intercultural learning, developing courses for university students and workshops for churches, professional organizations, and non-profits. She has gathered a lot of cross-cultural experiences that were often challenging but also have inspired her work and provided her with some great stories to share. These experiences include identifying as an Asian American woman, being cross-racially adopted, and having lived on four continents. She is inspired by her colleagues, friends, and families as they continue journeys unpacking their racial, cultural, and gender identities, learning about the fractures in our communities that are tearing us apart, and exploring ways to bring us together. Penny’s recent publications include Christians and Cultural Difference and Understanding Us & Them: Interpersonal Cultural Intelligence for Community Building.

Professional history

  • Professor, Calvin College (2018-present)
  • Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Calvin College (2015–present)
  • Associate Professor, Calvin College (2010–2017)
  • Series Editor for Yale University Press (2013–present)
  • Cultural Intelligence Consultant for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, Office of Race Relations (2011–present)
  • Workshop facilitator and trainer for Cultural Intelligence Building (2010–present)
  • Assistant Professor, Calvin College (2005–10)
  • Researcher and developer, Evia Learning (1998–2007)
  • Lecturer and TA director, Brown University (1995–98)
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1989–94)

Academic interests

  • Intercultural learning
  • Foreign language pedagogy
  • Cultural Intelligence Building
  • Intergroup Dialogue

Favorite courses to teach

  • German 201: Intermediate German
  • German 361: Advanced Writing in Cultural Context
  • German 362: Culture and Language through Performed Text
  • German 302: German Cultures and Intercultural Studies
  • IDIS 290: Muslim Neighbors and Christian Hospitality

Additional information

  • Penny has been nationally recognized for Excellence in the Teaching of Culture receiving the ACTFL Nelson Brooks Award in 2013.
  • She enjoys cooking, knitting, spending time with her family, exploring new cultures, and learning from people’s stories.
  • She and her husband, Randall J. Pruim, a professor of mathematics at Calvin College, have three children.


  • Interpersonal Cultural Intelligence for Community Building. Forthcoming
  • Christians and Cultural Difference (with David I. Smith). Grand Rapids: Calvin College Press, forthcoming.
  • “New Media Texte für die Millenials im DaF Unterricht” (with Rachel Halverson). Unterrichtspraxis. Teaching German 48, no. 2 (October 2015).
  • Schreiben lernen: A Writing Guide for Learners of German (with Jennifer Redmann). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012.
  • Coauthor, Auf geht’s! and Weiter geht’s!, nationally distributed German curricula in use at 100 institutions nationwide.
  • “Getting Outside the Box.” Nuevo Impact (April 2013).
  • Exploring Cultural Intelligence." Web seminar for the CRCNA, 2013.

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