posted January 5, 2009

Hope Presents Awards to Faculty

Hope College presented awards honoring teaching, service and scholarship to multiple faculty members during the college's annual recognition luncheon on Monday, Jan. 5.

Named a "Towsley Research Scholar" was Dr. Ji Hoon Park, assistant professor of communication.

The "Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Awards" were presented to Andy Nakajima, assistant professor of Japanese; and Todd Swanson, assistant professor of mathematics.

The "Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Awards" were presented to Dr. Jeff Brown, assistant professor of engineering; and Dr. Debra Swanson, professor of sociology.

The "Provost's Awards for Service to the Academic Program" were presented to Nancy Cook, associate professor of education and director of student teaching; and John Yelding, associate professor of education.

The Towsley Research Scholars Program is funded through an endowment made possible through a grant from the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation of Midland. Through the program, newer Hope faculty members receive support for a project for four years. The foundation's awards to the college have also included grants for the construction of the Van Wylen Library and the SchaapScienceCenter, faculty development in the pre-medical sciences and support for an endowed chair in communication.

Ji Hoon Park will use the support for his project "Racial Representation on Reality TV: Genre and Audiences," through which he will explore the social implications of racial representations on reality television.  Involving students as research assistants, he intends to produce scholarly articles and ultimately a book based on the study.

A member of the Hope faculty since 2006, Park has a longstanding interest in the intersection created by race/ethnicity and communication.  He teaches courses including "Media Production I: Introduction to Digital Media Production," "Media Production II: Media Literacy," "Social Documentary: Theory and Practice," "Communication and Race," and "Media Theory," and is currently developing a course on "Reality TV: Theoretical Perspectives."

The Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Awards are presented to faculty members who have been teaching at Hope for at least seven years and who have demonstrated recognizable excellence in specific activities or aspects of teaching. The award is named in memory of Dr. Janet Andersen, a professor of mathematics at Hope who died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2005.

Andy Nakajima, a member of the Hope faculty since 1996, has played an active role in developing the college's Japanese program, which includes a composite major in Japanese studies and an academic minor in Japanese.  He teaches courses ranging from the program's introductory language class, to a course on Japanese culture and history, to individualized classes for advanced students.

Todd Swanson joined the faculty in 1989.  His teaching is primarily in three general-education courses:  "Understanding Our Quantitative World," "Nature of Mathematics" and "Introductory Statistics."  He is active in curriculum development, and has also co-authored three texts:  "Understanding Our Quantitative World," "Projects for Precalculus" and "Precalculus: A Study of Functions and Their Applications."

The Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Awards recognize members of the Hope faculty who are superior teachers and have also contributed significantly in some other area of professional life. The award was established in memory of Dr. Ruth Yzenbaard Reed, a 1965 Hope graduate who was associate dean of MacombCommunity College. Reed died in August 1999 at age 55.

Jeff Brown is a co-advisor of the college's chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which during the 2005-06 school year initiated the college's ongoing service and research project focused on improving water quality and hygiene education in the village of Nkuv in Cameroon.  The interdisciplinary effort, which Brown coordinates with Dr. Amanda Barton of the nursing faculty, involves four departments:  communication, education, engineering and nursing.  Teams of students, faculty and staff have traveled to Nkuv multiple times since the project began, in addition to conducting related research and preparation on campus.  He has taught at Hope since 2005.

Debra Swanson is director of the college's Teaching Enhancement Workshop Committee, which plans and conducts workshops in teaching for members of the faculty.  She has made several presentations on teaching during meetings of the North Central Sociological Association, which in March 2008 presented her with its "John F. Schnabel Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award."  She teaches a First-Year Seminar in addition to a range of courses in her department.  She joined the faculty in 1989.

The Provost's Award for Service to the Academic Program is presented to individuals who have provided special contributions to the academic program through student academic support, general education, assessment work, implementation of programs that support/enhance the curriculum, and any activity outside of formal teaching that contributes to the overall excellence of the academic program.

As director of the college's student teaching program, Nancy Cook is involved in student placements locally as well as through off-campus programs in other cities in the United States and abroad.  Some 150 Hope students are involved in student teaching each year.  Her teaching focus is in special education.  Her professional involvement beyond campus has included serving as part of the team involved in revising the state's test for those seeking certification to teach students with learning disabilities.  She has taught at Hope since 1987.

John Yelding's teaching specializations are secondary education, multiculturalism and rural education.  He is director of the college's "Encounter with Cultures" course, which reaches more than 200 students each semester, and team teaches the First-Year Seminar for students participating in the Phelps Scholars Program, a residential program for students interested in exploring issues related to diversity.  His involvement at Hope has included serving on the advisory boards of the Phelps Scholars Program as well as Hope College Upward Bound and Project TEACH.  He has taught at Hope since 1994.