posted April 20, 2006

Six Hope Professors Retire

The 2005-06 school year is seeing the retirement of six members of the Hope College faculty.

Retiring at the end of the spring semester are Maxine DeBruyn, who is the Dorothy Wiley DeLong Professor of Dance; Dr. Tamara Bloom George, associate professor of nursing; Jacqueline Heisler, director of the Academic Support Center and adjunct assistant professor of psychology; Dr. Carol Mahsun, associate professor of art and chairperson of the department; and Jack Ridl, professor of English. In addition, Dr. G. Larry Penrose, professor of history, retired at the end of the fall semester. The six professors have served the college for a combined total of more than 166 years.

Maxine DeBruyn has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1965. She chaired the dance program from its beginning through the 2004-05 school year, and was also head cheerleading coach from 1968 to 1996.

She pioneered the department of dance with a single course. From that first class, the program grew into a department in 1974 and a major in 1984. The department currently has four full-time faculty and a number of others who teach part-time, with 89 students majoring and 33 minoring.

She played a leadership role in the effort to establish the DeLong Professorship in the 1980s. The endowment was for many years used to bring additional dance professionals to campus to work with students. In 2002, the college named her to the chair and committed to supporting the visits in other ways.

DeBruyn has received numerous external honors for her work in dance, which has included extensive professional involvement at the state, regional and national level. She was, for example, on the board of the National Dance Education Organization and vice chair of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and is past president of the Midwest District of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and past director of the National Association of Schools of Dance. In July she will begin a three-year term as a member-at-large on the Executive Committee of the Advisory Board of dance and the Child International (daCi). In October 2004, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Dance Council in Cooperation with the National Dance Education Organization.

She received the college's Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Award in 2001, and was honored by the Alumni H-Club in 1985 and 1996.

DeBruyn completed her undergraduate degree at Michigan State University and had taught in Newton, Mass., prior to coming to Hope.

Tamara Bloom George has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1992. Her specialty is in psychiatric/mental health nursing.

Immediately prior to joining the Hope faculty, she had taught nursing at Nazareth College in Kalamazoo for 16 years. She had also taught in the University of Michigan's outreach BSN completion program.

She began her career in nursing at the hospital at Ohio State University, where she had completed her BSN. She was at the hospital for five years, subsequently moving with her family to Florida. She became interested in teaching when a friend convinced her to serve as a mid-year replacement at St. Petersburg Junior College. The family ultimately moved to Schoolcraft, and she completed both her master's and her doctorate at Wayne State University.

George is particularly interested in how nursing can better attend to the cultural perspective of those it serves. As she completed her doctorate, she received the "Madeleine M. Leininger Transcultural Nursing Award for Excellence and Creative Leadership in Transcultural Nursing and Human Care."

She has also been recognized for her work as a researcher. In 2000, she received the "Excellence in Research Award" from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

George has served during an eventful time in nursing at Hope. From 2000 to 2003, Hope transitioned from the major it had offered jointly with Calvin College since 1982 to its own program, tailored to fit the college's emphasis on research-based learning. The department moved to new quarters, including purpose-built laboratory space, in the new science center in 2003.

Jacqueline Heisler was hired in 1982 as the college sought to expand its Academic Support Center.

The center had previously emphasized helping students with writing, but grew to include assisting with disciplines such as mathematics and the sciences as well. Today, the center works with some 400 to 500 students each year.

Heisler was brought aboard part-time initially, but soon picked up responsibilities for advising freshmen and working with the FOCUS program for students who require additional assistance to succeed academically, and now has been on staff full-time for more than 20 years. Eventually she stopped working with FOCUS and instead has been a liaison for students with disabilities as they pursue their academics, complementing the Office of Disability Services, which helps students with special needs adjust to college in general.

She has also taught a First-Year Seminar each fall since the program began in 1997. As a result, each year she has carried 40 to 50 advisees, until the students choose a major and advisor within that discipline.

Heisler completed her B.A. at Drew University and her master's degree from the University of Nebraska. Her background is in educational psychology, and while working for a school district in Nebraska she developed programs for special-needs students at both the elementary and secondary levels. In cooperation with others she also wrote a book for parents interested in helping their children who were having difficulty in school. While subsequently living in Pennsylvania, she taught evening continuing education classes for adults with special needs.

She moved to Holland in 1981, when her husband Dr. James Heisler received an appointment to the college's economics faculty. He will continue to teach at Hope.

Carol Mahsun has been a member of the Hope art faculty since 1989, and has been department chair since January 2005. She is a specialist in art history.

She grew up in Wisconsin, the daughter of a Methodist minister. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she majored in history, graduating in 1961. Before graduating she was married and spent a year traveling in Europe while attending art school in London. Her husband served in the U.S. Army, and eventually they were stationed in the state of Washington, where she became a social worker and they remained after he finished his military service.

Her life took a tragic turn when her husband was killed in a boating accident. Employed as supervisor of a crisis intervention intake unit, she decided to further her graduate education. She initially attended Smith College School of Social Work, but ultimately she returned to her interest in art. She went on to the University of Chicago, from which she received both her master's and doctorate, majoring in both Baroque and modern art and specializing in the field of contemporary criticism.

Mahsun's dissertation was adapted to book form and published as "Pop Art and the Critics," which explored how pop art broke away from previous critical categories and assumptions to enter into dialogue with criticism itself. She later edited an anthology of criticism related to pop art, titled "Pop Art: the critical dialogue."

Her recent scholarship has included research on portraiture of James IV, King of Scotland, and his queen Margaret Tudor. She has also been researching the depictions of Greek and Roman myths of human creativity.

Mahsun held a variety of appointments prior to joining the Hope faculty, working for Emory University Museum and teaching at Georgia State University, Agnes Scott College and the University of Nevada-Reno.

Larry Penrose, who joined the Hope faculty in 1970, is a specialist in Inner Asia, Russia and the Middle East. After growing up on a farm in Oregon, he completed high school in Tehran when his father took a job in Iran as an agricultural developer. Following service in the U.S. Army, where he studied Russian, he graduated from Portland State University in 1966 with a Certificate in Middle East Area Studies, and subsequently completed his master's and doctorate in Uralic and Altaic studies at Indiana University-Bloomington.

His international focus not only shaped the courses he has taught in the department--which ranged from "Ancient China," to "History of the Soviet Union," to "Modern Middle East" - but also led him to guide students to study-abroad experiences of their own. He was director of the Hope College International Summer Session in 1971, 1972 and 1975; an assistant in international student advising from 1971 to 1975; director of the Great Lakes Jerusalem Program in 1985; and director of the ACM/GLCA (Associated Colleges of the Midwest/Great Lakes Colleges Association) Russia Program in Krasnodar in 1990, 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2002.

He spent the fall of 1990 at Kuban State University in Krasnodar as the Exchange Professor of American Studies. In August of 2002, he led the Hope alumni tour of Russia, which traveled from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Penrose is the author of numerous scholarly articles, reviews and presented papers. Among other honors, he received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship for study in the Soviet Union during 1973-74.

In addition to his teaching and other service to the college, he was chair of the college's Academic Affairs Board during 1975-77 and was chair of the department of history from 1980 to 1988.

Jack Ridl has taught at Hope since 1971.

He came to Hope after working in admissions at the University of Pittsburgh. He had completed both his bachelor's and master's degrees at Westminster College, and had apprenticed to poet Paul Zimmer.

Ridl has received multiple honors through the years for his teaching and his poetry.

In 1996, he was chosen Michigan's "Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The college's graduating class presented him with the "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator" Award in 1976, and the student body elected him recipient of the "Favorite Faculty/Staff Member" Award in 2003. He was chosen by the graduating seniors to be the Commencement speaker in both 1975 and 1986. Westminster College presented him with an "Alumni Citation Award" in September 2005.

He is the author of several collections of poetry, including most recently "Broken Symmetry," published in late March by Wayne State University Press. In 2001 his collection "Against Elegies" was chosen by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins as the winner of the "Letterpress Chapbook Competition" sponsored by the Center for Book Arts of New York City. His other volumes include "The Same Ghost," "Between," "After School," "Poems from The Same Ghost and Between" and "Outside the Center Ring."

Ridl is also co-author, with Hope colleague Peter Schakel, of two textbooks, "Approaching Poetry: Perspectives and Responses" (1996) and "Approaching Literature in the 21st Century: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama" (2004). They also co-edited two anthologies.

He has read his work and led workshops at colleges, universities, art colonies and other venues around the country. He co-founded with his wife Julie the college's popular and long-running Visiting Writers Series, which since 1985 has brought more than 150 authors to campus.