Allen Shoemaker wasn’t planning on coming back to Calvin to teach, and certainly didn’t expect to teach alongside his former professors. He had earned his bachelor’s from Calvin in 1975, and while working toward his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he got a call from his Calvin professor Wayne Joosse saying Calvin needed someone to teach for a one-year appointment. Thus, Shoemaker taught at Calvin from 1977-1978. “That was interesting--I was a little nervous,” he said. “A lot of people thought I was a student.”
After this year of teaching, he finished his PhD in 1980 and taught at Regent University from 1984-1988. He returned to teach at Calvin in 1988, where he stayed until his retirement this past year. At Calvin, he taught psychology courses such as Child Development, Mental Health in the Classroom and Experimental Psychology. He also taught Research Statistics, as he has done a great deal of statistical research himself.
Shoemaker has taken two teaching sabbaticals to be a research consultant for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. He will still be doing occasional work for them researching child growth across developing countries. Shoemaker is given raw statistical data, and he conducts final results after analyzing that data. Areas found in need are often sent help, or foreign aid is requested.
With his two sabbaticals, Shoemaker has been to Switzerland approximately 10 times. Shoemaker attributes his passion for psychology to his Calvin professors. With a degree in psychology and chemistry, he decided to pursue psychology because he felt that there was a more pressing need for psychologists at the time.
Shoemaker has three children, who are all Calvin graduates. He enjoys tennis, racquetball, fixing computers and traveling. He has mainly traveled in Europe, often with his son, Ben. Since he often travels to Switzerland, he is quite familiar with the Alps and enjoys camping there. In fact, he and his son Benjamin both have photo credits from the Alps in Rick Steves’ travel book, Europe Through the Back Door.
Shoemaker plans to continue working with the World Health Organization on occasion, and to continue traveling as well. He will miss his students, the excitement of the first day of classes and even department meetings. It was a pleasure for him to work with his former professors, and he enjoyed the wit of his colleagues.