posted August 25, 2011

Graham Peaslee and Charlotte vanOyen-Witvliet Named to Professorships

Long-time faculty members Dr. Graham F. Peaslee and Dr. Charlotte vanOyen-Witvliet have both been appointed to endowed professorships at Hope College, succeeding colleagues whose tenure in the positions has concluded.

Peaslee has been appointed the Elmer E. Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry. vanOyen-Witvliet has been appointed the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Psychology.

In addition to recognizing faculty members for excellence, endowed chairs provide funding for summer research projects as well as some salary support. The college has a total of 20 endowed chairs for faculty and three endowed administrative positions.

First held in 2002, the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Endowed Professorship is designated for a tenured faculty member with a commitment to the Christian faith who is an outstanding teacher-scholar or artist and who proposes to conduct a significant program of research or creative activity. The professorship is open to faculty from any department, with appointment for a four-year term. The professorship was established as a retirement recognition in honor of Dr. John H. Jacobson, who was 10th president of Hope College from 1987 to 1999, and his wife, Dr. Jeanne M. Jacobson, who was an adjunct member of the Hope education faculty and a senior research fellow with the college's A.C. Van Raalte Institute. It was previously held by Dr. Caroline Simon of the Hope philosophy faculty.

First held in 1995, the Elmer E. Hartgerink Endowed Professorship recognizes an outstanding chemist dedicated to students, teaching and research, and committed to the Christian faith. It was established by Elmer E. Hartgerink, a 1939 Hope graduate who spent his career as a chemist, serving in the latter part of his career as chair and chief executive officer, and then chairman of the board, of Wyckoff Chemical Company Inc. in South Haven. Hartgerink, who died in February 2000, received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the college in 1988. The professorship was previously held by its original recipient, Dr. William Mungall, who retired from the faculty at the end of June.

Peaslee has taught at Hope since 1993. Chair of the department of chemistry, he holds a split appointment between chemistry and geological and environmental sciences, teaching a variety of introductory and upper-level courses in each.

Trained as a nuclear chemist, he maintains an active interdisciplinary research program involving undergraduates. Since joining the faculty, he has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for more than $3.4 million in external grants and has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and given more than 100 public presentations.

For the past 18 years, he and physicist Dr. Paul DeYoung have collaborated to run the college's Nuclear Group, mentoring more than 100 research students and producing more than 60 research publications associated with the group. Peaslee has also conducted research on the Lake Macatawa Watershed since 1998, studying the sources of pollution in the lake. In addition to articles in research journals, his resulting publications include, as co-author, the book "An Environmental History of The Lake Macatawa Watershed."

Among other honors through the years, he has received the college's "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator" (H.O.P.E.) Award from the graduating class in 2000; the Macatawa Watershed Project's "Stakeholder of the Year" award in 2005; a "Janet Andersen Lecture Award" from the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science in 2010; and a "James N. Boelkins Natural and Applied Sciences Division Research Award" from Hope in 2011.

Prior to joining the Hope faculty, Peaslee was a post-doctoral fellow at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at MSU. He was also a post-doctoral fellow in the Nuclear Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. He completed his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1981 at Princeton University, and his Ph.D. in chemical physics in 1987 at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

vanOyen-Witvliet has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1997. Her teaching responsibilities have included Introductory Psychology, Positive Psychology, Behavior Disorders, Clinical Psychology, Internships and Advanced Research Lab. She publishes in the field of emotion and psychophysiology research, with a specialized focus on justice, forgiveness, and gratitude.

With the support of the Fetzer Institute, the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, the John Templeton Foundation, the Towsley Research Scholar Award, the Faith and Learning Fund, and the Frost Center for Social Science Research, she has conducted programmatic research with students, published peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and given professional presentations in local, national, and international venues. She has conducted 100 media interviews about forgiveness, with her research featured in venues such as "Time," "Newsweek," "Reader's Digest," "O: The Oprah Magazine," "USA Today," "The Los Angeles Times," "The Chicago Tribune," "ABC News Good Morning America," and CNN.

Witvliet has mentored dozens of Hope students in psychophysiology research, 20 of whom have co-authored journal articles or professional conference presentations with her, and 11 of whom have co-authored projects winning Psi Chi Regional Research Awards.

Before joining the Hope faculty, she trained as a scientist-practitioner clinical psychologist at Purdue University and completed her predoctoral internship at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center affiliated with Duke University.

She graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in psychology and music in 1991, and completed her M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Purdue University in 1993 and 1997 respectively.