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Faculty Profile: Yooyeun Hwang
Associate Professor of Education

Dr. Yooyeun Hwang visited Holland and Hope College with her parents when she was in graduate school, and was immediately impressed by the beautiful campus and the friendly people. “My parents said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if you could work here, if you could teach here?’ When I finished my Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin Madison and was looking for a job, I saw Hope College had an opening and thought, ‘I know this college!’” Eleven years later, Dr. Hwang is still excited to be a part of the Hope community.

“I feel comfortable here,” Dr. Hwang says. “Different types of campuses offer different things. At big schools, professors may not even teach undergraduate classes, but here, I get to know all of my students, not only by name, but their majors, their struggles in certain classes, and their joys. I get to know my students on a very personal level.”

The liberal arts dimension at Hope greatly appeals to Dr. Hwang. “College students are still young,” she says, “and it’s important for them to explore all the options that are out there, to experiment with what’s available, with their ideas and goals. When they go to graduate school, they can narrow it down, but I think students at Hope are lucky because they have so many opportunities right in front of them.”

One of the many opportunities available to students at Hope is the vast variety of extracurricular groups and activities on campus. Dr. Hwang is a co-advisor of HAPA, Hope’s Asian Perspective Association, open to everyone interested in Asian culture. She was born and raised in South Korea and came to the United States in 1985. “People are pretty good about being inclusive, about being sensitive to international students,” she says. “It’s good for students to be exposed to other cultures and to people who are different from them. America is not about isolation, it’s about inclusion and interacting with other people.”

Dr. Hwang is passionate about teaching students who major in education. “What I’m doing is a very important job—I’m educating future educators,” she says. “The educator’s job is so important in society. Some kids spend more time with teachers than their parents. Teachers can make or break someone—they have a strong influence on children’s lives. Teachers essentially show kids how to make ethical and moral decisions. I’m doing my best to educate great future educators, in hopes that my students will become great teachers and will contribute to society by teaching the next generation.”

This profile was written by Megan E. Dougherty, a 2007 Hope College graduate from Normal, Ill., for the 2007-08 Hope College Catalog.

Hope People - Learn about the experiences of some of the people connected with Hope College.