Psychologist and educator, Steven Timmermans came to Trinity Christian College in 2003 with a deep commitment to Christ, an unwavering embrace of Reformed perspectives on faith, learning, and living, and extensive experiences in rehabilitation, teaching, and administration.
He completed a B.S. degree in Special Education at Calvin College in 1979 and began the subsequent fall as a teaching-principal at the Christian Learning Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, helping lead the shift of the former Pine Rest Children's Retreat Day School into the Grand Rapids Christian Schools. Once the CLC was on the pathway toward stability and support, he began an interdisciplinary program at the University of Michigan, earning a Master's degree in Psychology and then a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology in 1985. His doctoral studies led him into the specialization of learning and cognition as well as to licensure as a psychologist in the state of Michigan.
After completing his degree, Timmermans worked for four years at Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, eventually serving as both Chief of Pediatric Psychology and Director of Pediatric Programming & Research. There he worked with young people with head injuries and other forms of disabilities, establishing both a transition classroom for students with head injuries and a parent advisory board for the hospital.
In 1989, Timmermans left the practice of psychology and began at Calvin College, serving first as the Director of the Student Academic Services and then quickly joining the Education Department. In 1994, he began serving as the Associate Dean for Instruction, a position that eventually became Dean for Instruction. In that role, Timmermans assisted with the College's assessment program, helped manage the revision of the core curriculum, and attended to a host of faculty and program development responsibilities. After concluding two terms as Dean, he served as Executive Associate to the President and Interim Director of the Service-Learning Center.
Throughout his professional years, Timmermans has spoken at numerous conferences, workshops, and faculty retreats. As a recipient of major grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development, and the McCormick Tribune Foundation, Timmermans has used creativity and collaboration in seeking community engagement and service for students and faculty while building bridges to communities and groups often disconnected from colleges and universities. Additionally, his work, published in professional journals and books, reflects the range of his professional expertise.
Although professional activities have provided him the avenue for meaningful service and opportunities for faith expression, Dr. Timmermans counts involvement in church and community a key source of spiritual nourishment and Christian service. Having served as deacon, elder, committee chairperson and church school teacher at Neland Ave. Christian Reformed Church, Timmermans believes participating in a local family of faith as essential. At present, he and his family are members of Loop Christian Ministries, a downtown CRC ministry. In addition, he co-leads a Bible study at Restoration Ministries, a holistic urban ministry for men overcoming addictions.
Organizations in which Timmermans is involved include Illinois Campus Compact, the Associated Colleges of Illinois and the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities. He has served in leadership roles in all three. Over the last 20 years, he has served numerous times as Director of Tall Turf's Single Parent Camp, a camp for inner city children and their families. In addition, he has served as board president of Grand Rapids Christian High, as vice-chair of the Breton Health Center, and on the University of Michigan's School of Education Alumni Board.
Early in his tenure at Trinity, Timmermans established the Community Services and Pre-College Programs and instituted a week-equivalency service leave for staff. Both reflect his belief that while our ultimate allegiance is to the King of Kings, he also believes Trinity students, faculty, and staff must be engaged locally, nationally, and globally. This belief continues to shape his leadership, as he currently is co-director of a local project with students for the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. And the results are seen in Trinity’s being included in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since its inception in 2006. If students adopt habits of kingdom service while in college, Trinity will realize its vision of shaping lives and transforming culture by the work of the Holy Spirit.
During his tenure at Trinity, the campus has grown, both in terms of facilities (Alumni Hall completed in 2004; Art and Communication Center in 2008; DeVos Athletics and Recreation Center in 2013) and properties-a five acre parcel was acquired in 2005 and has become the Bootsma Bookstore Café and a 70 acre parcel that is now the George and June Scaaf Athletics Complex. . The student body has grown steadily over his tenure, reflecting 16% growth. The academic program has expanded to include programs in Criminal Justice and Speech Pathology as well as masters programs in Counseling Psychology and Special Education. Also, Trinity continues to play an ever increasing role among her communities of support, as the Timmermans era has witnessed the introduction of three important efforts. The Church Connection Initiative at Trinity reaches out to area churches, assisting them with their missions. The Trinity Business Network seeks to enrich leaders in the for-profit and non-profit world. The Seasoned Adults Learning at Trinity or SALT (formerly the Senior Academy of Learning at Trinity) provides learning opportunities for senior neighbors and friends.
Finally, an introduction of Steven Timmermans is not complete without mention of his family. His wife, Dr. Barbara Timmermans, has taught maternity and community health nursing for over 30 years, first at Calvin College and presently at Trinity Christian College. Their marriage has been blessed in many ways, including seven children: Katie, a program director at a not-for-profit linking those with disabilities to the arts; Paul, a young man with Down Syndrome who works at Trinity’s Bookstore/Café; Yaineabeba, who graduated from college in Ethiopia but is now studying here; Becca, who earned her master’s in social work and is now working in the field of youth development and public policy; Jessica, a Trinity student majoring in graphic design; Getenet, a soon to be Trinity student who excels in the classroom and on the soccer field; and Fekadu, a high school student also committed to soccer.
The Timmermans Family: (l-r) Getenet, Katie (Timmermans) Brower, Ben Brower, Yaineabeba Tadese, Paul, Barb, Steve, Becca, Fekadu, and Jessica and her fiancé Chris Colvin