John Nordin has taught in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota for 16 years. He is interested in promoting critical thinking and has co-authored a textbook on that subject. He views argumentation theory as illuminating a wide range of discourse, not only public policy disputes. He also regularly teaches honors sections of Public Speaking.

He has a major passion for both ancient and modern Greece.  He created and has led a study abroad class in Greece to expose students to the foundations of democracy, formal drama, rhetoric, and as a framework for studying gender, religion and sport. These issues are also addressed in his honors seminar on The Greeks and the Eternal Human Questions.

He earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has held positions as adjunct professor in Religion, taught Computer Science at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and was an IT project manager where he earned the Project Manager Professional certification. After earning an M.Div degree from the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary he served parishes in Iowa and Colorado as a Lutheran Pastor. 

He has published articles on Iranian politics, humor in religious institutions, and database design. He has published a hymnal, written several unpublished novels, and is a published poet.

His teaching is enriched by considerable life experience including living and working in Kenya, research trips to Ethiopia and Malawi, travel to El Salvador during their civil war in support of human rights workers and persecuted communities and working in an African-American congregation in urban U.S. He has lived in multiple regions of the U.S. 

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Transportation Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1980 -
  • M. Div.: Theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, 1994 -


  • Argumentation and Critical Thinking
  • Public Speaking
  • Ancient and Modern Greece
  • Biblical Studies
  • Project management