For the past twenty-seven years, Andy Goyke has been a staple figure at Northland College. The science professor is notorious for wearing funky sweaters and no shoes; teaching a plethora of classes from biology, ichthyology, fisheries, and limnology; and being influential in Northland academics as the lead instructor of biology and the chairman for the Natural Resources Department.
Andy and his wife, who is also a teacher at a local primary school, raised their family in Ashland; their four sons grew up with Northland as their playground; and there is no doubt that education is important in the Goyke household.
So, when a one-year fellowship teaching position opened up in the department of Biology and Natural Resources, Andy told his peers that he “knew the perfect person for the job”— his son, Noah.
Noah can recount many memories surrounding the college: from sledding down Fenenga Hill to walking through the old science building, Bobb Hall, with his dad. During his high school career, he even took a summer ecology class with his dad. “He’s been well trained,” Andy laughed.
But Noah’s education stands on its own. With a master’s in forestry from Michigan Technological University, a PhD in forestry from the University of Georgia, three years in Paraguay with the Peace Corps, and his all-around love of learning, Noah fits in well.
“I have always had a passion for liberal arts education, maybe even more than for natural resources,” he said. “For me, to be at Northland—the environmental liberal arts college—is just an absolutely perfect fit.”
Andy and other faculty in the sciences have chipped in to make Noah’s transition into teaching easier. “The nice thing about Northland is that when you come in people are willing to open up their filing cabinets, as it were, and basically say ‘dig in,’” Andy said. “Colleagues in the sciences are generous with their thoughts and time.”
This fall both Andy and Noah are teaching sections in General Biology, and their offices are just around the corner from each other. Noah said it has been a little strange to work with his dad in a professional capacity, particularly strange because both are teaching different sections of the same class.
“We talk quite a bit about that just because I am trying to learn how General Biology looks at Northland compared to at other colleges,” Noah said, “so it is good, to have someone to turn to when you have questions, but also weird because that person is your dad.”
Andy said it has been great to work with his son. “I know he is bright and works hard, and I am excited to see him develop as a teacher.”