Study Groups

Study groups are charged with assessing the college’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and obstacles from the perspective of a specific area of study.

The study group will engage several members in the information gathering process and will prioritize opportunities for the college to achieve the vision that guides the strategic plan. There are ten areas of study, independent, yet interrelated around which study groups will be organized.

Academic Distinctiveness

Chair: Matt DeJongh, Computer Science |

Hope College is known for challenging student-faculty collaboration in our liberal arts-based curriculum, with graduate school-style research and hands-on opportunities that pair students with masterful teachers/researchers in all fields of study. Hope also offers a range of professional programs that are grounded in a liberal arts approach to teaching and learning. Hope’s approach to education emphasizes formation of the whole person, and integrates intellectual, social, and faith development.

  • Deb Swanson, Sociology/Social Work
  • Kelly Jacobsma, VanWylen Library
  • Jim Gentile, Natural & Applied Sciences
  • David Myers, Psychology
  • Bill Pannapacker, English
  • Maureen Dunn, Kinesiology
  • Miguel Abrahantes, Engineering
  • Allyson Hoffman, English major
  • Anne Heath-Wiersma, Art & Art History
  • Sarah Harvin, Psychology major

Alumni Engagement

Chair: Beth Szczerowski, Alumni & Parent Relations |

Alumni are vital to the long term health of a college. Alumni expand academic and professional exploration experiences, they recruit students and advocate for the college, and they grow relationships for the college nationally and globally. Alumni serve as examples to students for how vocations are identified, developed, and engaged. They also provide a vital source of funding to support capital improvements, operating budget support, and long term viability of the college. We must offer meaningful opportunities for alumni to engage with the college and relevant ways in which we support alumni so that they are inspired to maintain a relationship with Hope and provide the valuable sources of support.

  • Sabina Otteman, Hope Fund
  • Jena Szatkowski, Career Development
  • Nikki Flinn, Dance
  • Scott Travis, Alumni & Parent Relations
  • Andrew Meyers, Admissions
  • Matt Neil, Kinesiology
  • David Cunningham, Religion/Writing Center
  • Jodi Wickersheimer,
  • Brigette Hamon-Porter, Department of Modern & Classical Languages
  • Kevin Deane, Management major

Campus Community

Chair: Yolanda Vega, Phelps Scholars; Education |

A college is a special kind of institution founded to ensure that each member of its community can flourish. Hope College’s Christian mission should provide a special advantage in shaping a community where students can grow in their intellectual, personal, and Christian formation. Our mission should also provide a framework that provides every possible opportunity for faculty and staff to learn from one another and work in an environment where their gifts are valued, affirmed, and celebrated. Hope should be viewed by each member of its community as a great place to learn and work.

  • Berta Carrasco, Department of Modern & Classical Languages
  • Kristen Gray, Counseling & Psych Services
  • Chris Bohle, Student Life
  • Elizabeth Sanford, Chemistry
  • Vanessa Greene, Multicultural Education
  • Habeeb Awad, International Education
  • Dede Johnston, Communication
  • Ryan White, Academic Advising/First Year Seminar
  • Andrew Bennett, Student
  • Marc Baer, History

Campus Infrastructure and Resources

Chair: Deb DuMez, Computing and Information Technology |

Hope College has an enviable physical plant. With little deferred maintenance, a beautifully landscaped campus, and several new facilities, Hope has developed its infrastructure in a thoughtful and responsible manner. Hope is also a careful steward of its financial resources; however we remain heavily dependent on tuition revenue for the annual operating budget. Endowment resources available to support faculty, research, scholarships and other programs remain lower than peer institutions. As financial pressures continue to increase and the physical needs of our campus change to meet the needs of current and future students, attention to this area will help shape future decisions on how and where to allocate and invest our resources.

  • John Jobson, Residential Life
  • Greg Maybury, Operations & Physical Plant
  • Theresa Bravata, Events & Conferences
  • Stephanie Greenwood. Advancement Services
  • Mark Northuis, Kinesiology
  • Doug VanDyken, Business Services
  • Eugene Kim, Computing and Information Technology
  • David O'Brien, VanWylen Library
  • Jeff Johnson, Chemistry
  • Jeff Pestun, Computing and Information Technology
  • Todd Steen, Department of Economics, Management & Accounting
  • Cindy Sabo, Health Services
  • Colin Rensch, Music and History major

Christian Formation

Chair: Jim Herrick, Communication |

Christian formation is, and ought to be, a lifelong pursuit. Central to Hope’s mission is our commitment to provide formative experiences to students in all aspects of college life. We want them to graduate with a deeper and more mature sense of their faith than when they arrived. Hope is devoted to deepening students’ relationship with Christ so they graduate able to live out their faith in a diverse and global society where difference is the norm. As students arrive at Hope with different faith experiences, backgrounds, and formational needs, it is a missional priority that we provide opportunities to meet students at their level of readiness and develop their Christian commitment.

  • Leah Dykstra, Admissions
  • Steven Hoogerwerf, Religion
  • Dan Woolsey, Department of Modern & Classical Languages
  • Jared Ortiz, Religion
  • Paul Boersma, Campus Ministries
  • Sarah Hoos, Emmaus Scholars
  • Madalyn Northuis, History major
  • Jaunine Hackman, Dance Major

Co-Curricular Experience

Chair: Derek Emerson, Events & Conferences |

Hope College’s mission to prepare students for lives of leadership and service aligns well with the fact that they will live and work with others in community after they graduate. The residential and co-curricular experiences in which they participate during their undergraduate years should be focused on assessable learning goals that align with those in the academic and Campus Ministries programs. The co-curricular programs that are such an important part of the residential college experience cannot easily be duplicated in other, alternative forms of higher education. These are likely to be an increasingly distinguishing feature of our kind of college as alternatives continue to grow and mature. Shaping our students’ co-curricular experiences is a vital part of our competitive posture, and an essential element in the fulfillment of our mission.

  • Darin Stephenson, Mathematics
  • Ellen Awad, Student Life
  • Amy Freehafer, Career Development
  • Dean Thayer, Computing and Information Technology
  • Ernesto Villareal, Multicultural Education
  • Annie Valkema, Advancement
  • Aaron Goodyke, Music Education Major
  • Tom Davelaar, Assistant Men's Basketball Coach

Competitive Positioning and Reputation

Chair: Kirk Brumels, Kinesiology |

Hope College has earned a reputation it has yet to claim. Hope has excellent academic programs shaped and led by talented and dedicated faculty. Our athletic and co-curricular programs have received regional and national acclaim, and our facilities and infrastructure have been recognized for their innovation and quality. An improved reputation among our peers nationally and internationally will allow Hope to be more competitive in recruiting students and faculty across a broader geography, developing partnerships that help advance our mission, and securing the financial resources we need to flourish.

  • Dale Austin, Career Development
  • Mark DeWitt, Corporate & Foundation Relations
  • Greg Olgers, Public and Community Relations
  • Tracey Nally, Sponsored Research Programs
  • Carol Fritz, Admissions
  • Tim Schoolveld, Kinesiology
  • Jason Cash, Integrated Marketing
  • Brianne Hagen, VanWylen Library
  • Will Polik, Chemistry
  • Patrice Rankine, Arts and Humanities

Enrollment and Student Profile

Chair: Becky Schmidt, Kinesiology |

Hope is in an enviable position of record enrollments in the last three years. The demand for a Hope College education continues to increase. This abundance - while not promised to us in the future - allows us to think in the present about how we might shape each incoming class as a way of further enhancing our mission. Our traditional student recruiting base in the Midwest is shrinking, and the competition for students nationally and internationally is increasingly competitive. As we look to shape our future classes, we must be thoughtful of these trends, as well as our desire to have a more diverse student body that is more representative of the global society in which our students will live.

  • Aaron Best, Biology
  • Jill Nutt, Financial Aid
  • John Yelding, Education
  • Liz Steenwyk, Registrar
  • Luis Silva, Admissions
  • Greg Kern, Admissions
  • Roger Veldman, Engineering
  • Janet Pinkham, Academic Support Center
  • Graham Peaslee, Chemistry

Global Hope

Chair: Ernest Cole, English |

Hope College needs to become a more global organization in each area of its operations can be justified on the basis of educational, business, and Gospel arguments. Hope College should craft plans, processes, and programs that will help orient our students’ learning experience toward a greater engagement with the world. These plans should include measures that result in a more globally integrated organization – a college where the activities of every unit (academic or otherwise) are directed in part with a view toward engaging the world. Academics, Admissions, Advancement, Student Development, and Campus Ministries should be more globally engaged ensure that we take advantage of the manifest opportunities both here and abroad to spread the good news of our mission.

  • Deb Sturtavent, Sociology/Social Work
  • Barb Miller, Admissions, International Recruitment
  • Jim VanHeest, Advancement
  • Amy Otis-DeGrau, International Education
  • Lauren Janes, History
  • Michael Brown, Phelps Scholars
  • Andrew Del'Olio, Philosophy
  • Lee Forester, Department of Modern & Classical Languages
  • Julia Randel, Music
  • Edward Hansen, Geological & Environmental Sciences
  • Natalie Polanco, Social Work major
  • David Cho, English Department

Talent Recruitment and Retention

Chair: Sarah Baar, English & History |

Making Hope College better tomorrow than it is today cannot be done without highly competent and committed people who share its mission and have a passion for Christ-centered higher education. Attention to ongoing professional development and training, as well as managing the increasing costs of salaries and benefits, will be critical to our continued ability to have the most qualified and capable people serving our students, families and alumni.

  • Lorna Jarvis, Psychology
  • Carl Heideman, Computing and Information Technology
  • Katie Polasek, Engineering
  • Daphne Fairbanks, VanWylen Library
  • Anne Bakker, Events & Conferences
  • Scott VanderStoep, Social Sciences
  • Boyd Wilson, Religion
  • Joanne Stewart, Chemistry