On the Cover

Pixels — tiny digital blocks that construct what we see on TVs and other screens — build clear images. But TV shows’ plots, dialogue, and even camerawork may color our views about real issues. Read what Dr. Sarah Kornfield learned in her recent assessment of 30 episodes’ portrayals of “MeToo narratives.”

Bringing American Perspective to Eastern Europe, and Vice Versa

In 2013, Dr. Thomas Smith took a leave from Hope to spend a year at Emanuel University in Romania. Originally an underground college for pastors, it became a Christian university after the Soviet Union dissolved. Some students he taught there still seek his counsel as they grapple with how to live out Christian ethics in … Continue reading “Bringing American Perspective to Eastern Europe, and Vice Versa”

Supporting Research in the Fine Arts

The upcoming production was Dance 43, Hope College’s annual faculty recital. Forty-seven student dancers were rehearsing with seven faculty and guest choreographers, and Jessica Hroncheck was the fly on the wall. Hronchek spent weeks shadowing the dance company and interviewing choreographers to learn more about how people share information in a creative context — and … Continue reading “Supporting Research in the Fine Arts”

Linking Researchers with the Digital Liberal Arts

As digital resources continue to change the face of research and teaching, Victoria Longfield helps Hope College faculty and students explore how cutting-edge tools can help them broaden and exceed their goals. Her job title as Van Wylen Library’s digital liberal arts librarian is unusual even in this high-tech era. Hope is among just three … Continue reading “Linking Researchers with the Digital Liberal Arts”

Two Miles From Campus, Medical Outreach to Seniors

Years ago, when Barbara Vincensi’s work as a parish nurse took her to the homes of low-income senior citizens, it became clear to her that many would be healthier if regular medical monitoring were available to them close at hand. That unmet need stuck with her as she joined the Hope faculty and worked with … Continue reading “Two Miles From Campus, Medical Outreach to Seniors”

Preparing Teacher Education Candidates To Connect Across Cultures

At Hope, the course Encounter with Cultures heightens teacher education candidates’ understanding of how ethnicity, culture and gender play out in day-to-day life. Later, when as teachers they relate to students whose lives can be radically different from their own, they draw on the critical thinking they learned about racism in America and the impact … Continue reading “Preparing Teacher Education Candidates To Connect Across Cultures”

Striving for Balance in Zeeland, Michigan

When an elderly person falls, a cascade of medical problems may follow. So when a cluster of falls occurred in 2019 in the assisted living section of a West Michigan senior community, staff asked Hope’s Department of Kinesiology for advice. Dr. Maureen Dunn and Dr. Kirk Brumels teamed with physical therapist Dr. David Krombeen ’12 … Continue reading “Striving for Balance in Zeeland, Michigan”

Interdisciplinary Exploration of Global Issues

An innovative Hope College initiative enabled 50 faculty members to travel internationally in teams over the past 18 months to interact with scholars in other nations about complex global problems. “The impact on faculty is just tremendous,” says Dr. Deirdre Johnston, interim associate dean for global education, who co-directed the Hope Portals to the World … Continue reading “Interdisciplinary Exploration of Global Issues”


Dear Friends, Welcome to Spera 2020! As an alumnus of Hope College, it is a particular pleasure to introduce this year’s issue of Spera. Now in its third year, this publication shares stories of faculty research, scholarship and creative performance at Hope. Like so many graduates of Hope College, I experienced transformational mentorship from my … Continue reading “Welcome”

On Four Continents, Helping Agencies Encourage Foster Care

Dr. Deb Sturtevant’s “on the side” takes her quite a distance. Guatemala. China. Romania. Zambia. Since the 1990s, she’s worked on projects with the global arm of Bethany Christian Services. In a six-year effort in Zambia that wrapped up in 2015, she and colleagues evaluated a community-based family support program and networked with a local … Continue reading “On Four Continents, Helping Agencies Encourage Foster Care”

What drew me to Latin American politics

“My undergrad degree was in history; we focused a great deal on Indian history. My master’s was in African politics: the diaspora — the Indian people who had undergone British imperialism and therefore transferred their wages and their livelihood — living in Anglophone Africa. For my Ph.D., I wanted to pick a region of the … Continue reading “What drew me to Latin American politics”

A Crossroad for Reflection and Academic Exploration

Finding the intersections between one’s faith and vocation needn’t be a solitary task. At a yearly conference sponsored by the Lilly Fellows Program in the Humanities and the Arts, faculty from Christian institutions work through nuanced issues together — each refining their personal sense of how their faith relates to their teaching, their scholarly work, … Continue reading “A Crossroad for Reflection and Academic Exploration”

The Allure of Pure Research in Nuclear Physics

“I like the mathematical aspects of physics. How circuits work. Control theory. Understanding how they put music onto a digital disc. I know the mathematics behind that. That’s cool math. I also like the big questions. How did we get the elements that we see in the universe? Why does 26O behave the way it … Continue reading “The Allure of Pure Research in Nuclear Physics”

Standout Student-Faculty Research

How does a swimmer’s degree of balance outside the pool correlate to faster race times in backstroke and freestyle? When copper or cobalt is added to a nickel-based Prussian blue analogue film, what happens to its ability to store charge? What do In-Group/Out-Group theory and analysis of speeches reveal about whether both sides in the … Continue reading “Standout Student-Faculty Research”

How the Watts May Term expands our future teachers’ vision

“The Watts Learning Center in Los Angeles includes elementary and middle school charter schools. Every May, we immerse Hope students in working with children there in a culturally diverse urban setting. The first year was 2013. We’ve taken anywhere from seven to 11 students. Some of the students have very little experience with diversity, but … Continue reading “How the Watts May Term expands our future teachers’ vision”

Cultivating Purpose in Scholarly Work

Relating compassionately to students and teaching them effectively: Those are easy to recognize as meaningful expressions of a college professor’s personal faith. It can be trickier, though, to find purpose and value in one’s research. Hope College’s Continuum Scholars Faculty Development Program invites young faculty into conversations about how to integrate their vocation and their … Continue reading “Cultivating Purpose in Scholarly Work”

Where Early Modern British Lit Crosses Paths with Asian Studies

“After college, I taught English in Taiwan, and years later I had the opportunity to teach in the Hope College–Meiji Gakuin University faculty exchange program in Japan. Those experiences ignited my interest in intercultural relationships. I love teaching Shakespeare, especially with a focus on Shakespeare’s view of how society imagines outsiders. Take a play like … Continue reading “Where Early Modern British Lit Crosses Paths with Asian Studies”


Dear Friends, Welcome to the second issue of Spera, an annual publication focused on the research, scholarship and creative performance of Hope College faculty. The name of this publication comes from Hope’s motto, Spera in Deo, or “Hope in God.” On the following pages, you will read about scholarship that reflects an unyielding spirit of … Continue reading “Welcome”

What drew me to social psychology

“Psychology was the most interesting subject I studied in college, even though I had only one course in my first three years. I just thought, What more interesting subject could there be than human beings? Faith is part of my identity, and therefore it is natural for me to ask how religious ideas about human … Continue reading “What drew me to social psychology”

Real Systems, Real Clients

For Dr. Ryan McFall, scholarship often takes the form of software. “I work with my students to build real systems for real clients,” says McFall, a professor of computer science. Many of those clients are colleagues from the Hope community. In 2017, Hope’s Physical Plant staff came to McFall with a request: find a more … Continue reading “Real Systems, Real Clients”

Future of Fitness

More gain, less pain — in America’s fitness-focused society, that’s something everybody can get behind. In summer 2017, Dr. Brian Rider of the Department of Kinesiology tested the effects of wearing compression stockings during exercise. Working with student collaborators, he recruited 10 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 39 to work out on treadmills … Continue reading “Future of Fitness”

Join the Conversation

A sampling of Spring 2018 presentations and performances by Hope College faculty and students through May 19 CULTURE, COMMERCE AND CRITICISM Kruizenga Art Museum With content and presentation developed in collaboration with Dr. Anne Heath and her Art 361 seminar, an exhibition of 50 prints exploring how Western artists have used them to transmit knowledge, … Continue reading “Join the Conversation”

Inviting Local Churches to Focus on Vocation

In 1998, Dr. Jonathan Hagood completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas with both a professional degree in architecture and a bachelor’s in Latin American Studies. After working in architecture for a few years, he started an IT consulting firm in San Francisco before answering the call to pursue graduate study in history … Continue reading “Inviting Local Churches to Focus on Vocation”

The Play’s the Thing

Diversity and fresh starts were hallmarks of two of Professor Rich Perez’s 2017 projects. Summer took him to Chicago to direct the UrbanTheatre Company’s production of Richard Montoya’s Water & Power; Perez and Montoya updated the script to shift the gritty drama’s setting from Los Angeles to Chicago, with turns of phrase and cultural references … Continue reading “The Play’s the Thing”

Student-Faculty Research

Honored repeatedly in 2017 for the quality of its undergraduate research program, Hope College is a magnet for students who want to dive into genuine scholarly work as undergraduates. Mentored collaborative research happens year-round — during the fall and spring semesters, in specialized May Term and June Term courses, and during the summer. Hope’s program … Continue reading “Student-Faculty Research”


Dear Friends, It is with great pleasure that I introduce this inaugural issue of Spera, a publication focused on the research, scholarship and creative performance of Hope College faculty. When prospective students ask what they can expect of Hope’s academic community, we are honest: Expect intellectual rigor. Here, our professors expect excellence — of their … Continue reading “Welcome”

Hope College Dune Research Group

When wind blasts dunes on Lake Michigan’s east coast, complicated windflows develop on the side away from the wind — producing turbulent eddies like those around Hope geologist Dr. Edward Hansen (right) and whirlwinds like the one swirling around an ultrasonic anemometer (at left, behind Hope mathematician Dr. Brian Yurk) in fall 2017 on the … Continue reading “Hope College Dune Research Group”

On the Cover

Chemist Dr. Mary Elizabeth Anderson and her Hope College research group have developed a rapid and low energy process for the fabrication of these thermoelectric nanoparticles — a class of material with sustainable energy potential to capture waste heat and convert it into usable electricity. With several Hope colleagues and collaborators at Michigan State, she … Continue reading “On the Cover”