Hope College

2014 Pre-College Conference for Faculty/Staff
August 21-25, 2014



Welcome Back! to our faculty returning from sabbatical/leave of absence:

Beth Anderson, Chemistry: Beth traveled the country from coast to coast during her Towsley Spring Sabbatical, which allowed her to miss much of the epic winter happening in Michigan.  She attended three national meetings, visited four colleges/universities, participated in a workshop on grant writing, and joined a workshop on chemistry in art. She had the opportunity to present a dozen times and submitted three research manuscripts for publication. Her research focuses on the fundamentals of nanomaterial formation, specifically investigating metal-organic frameworks and thermoelectric materials. Beth regularly had pit-stops here at Hope, where she would check in with her five research students.  Three senior students completed the ACS-Chemistry degree required research report under her supervision and five research students presented posters at Hope College’s Celebration for Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance.  She was back from her travels to witness the senior class graduate as they hold a special place in her heart, being the first group of students she taught during her first year as a professor here at Hope. 

Virginia Beard, Political Science: Virginia researched democratic prospects in Africa with a focus on Kenya, initially spending ten days in January setting up research logistics, then spending two months (May-July) in Kenya conducting interviews, archival research at the Kenyan National Archives and media content analysis on issues of constitutional implementation, political ethnicity and identity politics and land law reform, and two new projects on the politics of fashion in the developing world and the politics of sports and running in Kenya. This project was made possible by funding from the Great Lakes College Association’s (GLCA) New Direction Initiative; continued analysis of data collected with the GLCA Library of Congress Digital Humanities program in Washington DC on the Political History of Homelessness; learned a new methodology in archival research that will guide a branch of her on-going research agenda; had papers accepted for presentation at two Fall 2014 conferences – the African Studies Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion/the Religious Research Association; and trained for (mostly on a treadmill or the Holland snowmelt thanks to the brutal/polar vortex winter!) and ran in her third Boston Marathon (2011, 2013, & 2014).

Kenneth Brown, Chemistry: Ken spent his two semesters of sabbatical leave conducting research at Gentex Corporation located in Zeeland, Michigan.  During his time there, he worked on a variety of projects with scientists in the Synthetic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry Divisions.  He also had the opportunity work alongside scientists in the Applied Materials Division.  The research was devoted towards developing and improving window and mirror electrochromic devices.  He was able to apply his own electrochemical methods to evaluate new devices while learning new chemistry and new techniques.  Two new techniques that he had the opportunity to use were electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and non-destructive potentiodynamic electrochemistry for corrosion measurements.  His favorite and most interesting projects were developing mathematical models and using impedance spectroscopy to monitor the performance of electrochromic devices.  He intends to use these techniques at Hope College and this will open new avenues of research for his group.  Ken could not escape the teaching.  While at Gentex, he taught three courses in electrochemistry to chemists and engineers.  The first course was taught to the Chemistry Division and the second and third courses were taught to electrical and mechanical engineers in the Applied Materials Division. Each course was 8-10 weeks long (with no grading).  He was able to submit three manuscripts for publication and has started working with Gentex in writing a patent application for some of the new devices.  He began a new collaboration and spent some time continuing his own research projects at Hope on the weekends.  His free time was spent rebuilding his desktop and laptop computers at home, learning LabView programming, making car repairs, and cooking.

Nancy Cook, Education: Nancy spent her sabbatical splitting time between writing, research and unexpected family demands.  She returned to a writing project that has been in the works for a number of years where she chronicles a tumultuous year in the life of one of her former students.  She made good progress on this project and was able to complete the first draft of the book.  She also conducted research with local, first-grade teachers on their use of technology in their classrooms and teaching.  Just as she was ready, though, to move to the next stages of her writing and research projects, her time was interrupted by significant health and housing issues with her aging parents.  She spent much of the remainder of her sabbatical concentrating on helping her 90-year old father recuperate from quintuple bypass surgery and facilitating the move of her parents, who were lifelong residents of Chicago, to Holland.  While disappointed that she was unable to make much more headway on her sabbatical projects, she is especially grateful that the leave provided her with the opportunity to support her family in such an important manner during this critical period in their lives.

Mihai Craioveanu, Music: Mihai began his sabbatical activities with a performance by his chamber ensemble Enescu Players, at the Illinois Wesleyan University on its Guest Artist Series, in February. This was followed by a guest artist residency (violin recital and violin master classes) at the California State University-Fullerton, in March. Craioveanu's recital tour of Israel including his acclaimed Tel Aviv debut at the renown Felicja Blumental Music Center took place in the month of April. From Israel he traveled to Bulgaria to perform a series of chamber music concerts with Enescu Players including the Kyustendil International Chamber Music Academy, and their Sofia debut at the renown Composers Hall. The Israeli and Bulgarian concerts were received very well presenters already extending invitations for return engagements. Craioveanu also performed and taught at the Illinois Chamber Music Festival in July, while in August together with Enescu Players he performed on Mackinac Island, MI, in the Mackinac Community Foundation Concert Series as part of  its 20th anniversary celebration.

Chuck Cusack, Computer Science: Chuck spent about half of his sabbatical working for Westshore Design, a local company that designs and manufactures electronic products for small companies.  He worked on five different projects for three different clients.  During his time there he became more proficient at writing code for embedded systems, brushed up on his C-programming skills, and learned C#.  He also remembered how tricky learning a new language can be, so he plans to go a little easier on his students in the future.  He spent the rest of his time completing a draft of An Active Introduction to Discrete Mathematics and Algorithms, an open-source textbook he started working on last year.  As the title suggests, this book takes an approach that requires the reader to be active while reading.  The book includes exercises throughout each chapter--with an average of more than one per page--that the reader completes as they read.  Solutions are provided for each exercise so that the reader can check their answer and receive feedback before moving on.  His experience during the sabbatical reminded him that he functions better with more structure in his life, so he is looking forward to the fall semester!

Sue Dunn, Nursing: Sue spent much of her sabbatical as a Visiting Scholar at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her time at UIC focused on developing the next phase of her program of research titled, “A Motivational Intervention to Reduce Hopelessness Through Exercise in Cardiac Patients.” She completed a research proposal for submission to Spectrum Health and prepared a R15 grant proposal to be submitted to the National Institute of Nursing Research in October. Along with her interdisciplinary colleagues and Hope nursing research students/alumni, she published a peer-reviewed manuscript and completed another manuscript for submission to a cardiovascular rehabilitation journal. She also presented her research at the annual Midwest Nursing Research Society Conference in St. Louis and was interviewed by the editor of the Western Journal of Nursing Research for a podcast focused on her hopelessness research. For fun during her sabbatical, Susan took a two-week road trip with her husband to Texas, hiked and kayaked with her family near Sleeping Bear Dunes, enjoyed a semester-long Bible study, and took pleasure in reading countless novels.

Stephanie Edwards, Mathematics: Stephanie spent her sabbatical developing the theory of complex zero increasing operators (CZIO).  In particular, how generalizations of the differential operator, when applied to real entire functions of finite order, affect the number and location of the non-real zeros of the derivatives in the complex plane.  While the mathematics of CZIO is interesting, the hope is that it will allow light to be shed on century old questions posed by George Polya, and, ultimately, aid in the verification of the Riemann Hypothesis.  Stephanie also organized the 57th Michigan Mathematics Prize Competition’s Awards Day conference at which she hosted some of the states’ top high school mathematics students, their teachers, and their families (one of which was the extremely talent and brilliant Katie Polik).  She participated in and attended five other conferences and began her tenure as the National Secretary-Treasurer of Pi Mu Epsilon, the National Honorary Mathematics Society.  Stephanie is extremely grateful for the time to think, reflect, grow, and create. 

Chuck Green, Psychology: Chuck spent last fall at Meiji Gakuin University, teaching Race in America on the Tokyo campus and American Studies on the Yokohama campus.  His wife, Fonda, was able to take a leave from her job at CASA and spend the semester there as well.  The people at Meiji Gakuin were wonderful hosts, and Chuck and Fonda enjoyed seeing both Tokyo and other parts of Japan.  The teaching at MGU was rewarding but challenging.  The students were patient and helpful and willing to try new things, and the other Western faculty proved to be excellent cultural brokers. Chuck encourages anyone who has an opportunity to spend a semester at Meiji Gakuin to go.  It's just terrific. In the spring term, Chuck was on his sabbatical, working from home on a book that will make social science research about race and racism available and accessible to lay readers.  There are some very helpful findings in the research, but very little of that information makes its way out of research journals and scholarly monographs.  He hopes to help change that with this project.

Lynn Japinga, Religion: Lynn spent most of her sabbatical exploring strange and intriguing stories about women in the Bible.  She wrote a draft of a book for ministers about how to preach those stories, which can present a challenge since the stories are often about sex, or violence, or sex and violence.  She also tried to put the theory into practice by preaching some of those stories at Hope Church, where she filled in for a few months while the pastor was on sabbatical.  She gave a few talks about her book on RCA history.  For fun, she read a lot of novels, logged many miles of biking, running and walking, and spent a couple of weeks in Florida and Ocean City, NJ.

Tom Ludwig, Psychology: Tom devoted his sabbatical leave to preparing the sixth edition of PsychSim, his set of instructional activities for introductory psychology. PsychSim6 will be published in two volumes, with each volume consisting of 17 activities. In addition to his work on PsychSim Tom spent time visiting Christian and Muslim religious sites in Turkey, and enjoyed an early-morning balloon flight over the unique rock formations of Cappadocia. He also traveled to California to present a paper at a conference on psychology and spiritual formation. This past May, Tom was the Commencement speaker at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, where he had served as Interim President for the six months preceding his sabbatical leave. 

Marla Lunderberg, English: Marla spent the spring semester reading, researching, and writing about John Donne, the seventeenth-century poet and preacher. Much of her work focused on the historical circumstances surrounding the death of Prince Henry, the eldest son of King James, and on Donne’s elegy honoring Henry. Because the prince’s hawkish politics had been at odds with the king’s pacifist goals, Donne’s elegy was a tricky poem to write and a very interesting one to examine. Marla next began a different research project on the relation between Donne’s politics and his theology in his attitude toward Roman Catholicism. Marla attended conferences on Donne and on Milton, and mid-semester, she presented a paper at the Asian Studies Development Program Twentieth Anniversary Conference, explaining how she introduces students to aspects of Asian philosophy and literature through her Cultural Heritage course. Finally, funded by a GLCA New Directions grant in May, Marla undertook a “writing workshop on the road,” hiking for three weeks across northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail, and writing about the experience.

Jesse Montaño, English: Jesse developed two new courses that will diversify the curriculum He presented a paper on public art at a conference and is developing a paper into an article for publication on the role of public art in Latino communities He traveled to Marfa, Texas and wrote a creative non-fiction essay on issues related to deportation and immigration. He took photographs in the West and in West Texas and will hold a photographic show in the near future. Photos can be seen on his website montano.es . Jesse also edited his poetry and sent it off for acceptance and publication. He worked on chair sculptures for a show with other artists in the near future  He was a lead writer on a patent application on the curing of concrete, a co-writer on a grant to DARPA, designed and developed a new device for carrying beer growlers and howlers and he began the process for a copyrighting and building a company... in other words, he owns a startup. 

Andy Nakajima, DMCL: Andy spent his sabbatical conducting research in Japan. He investigated the minority religious group of "kakure kirishitan (hidden Christians)," existing in the island of Kyushu. He also spent time traveling in Japan by bullet trains and motorcycle and took many beautiful pictures of cherry blossoms. In the later summer, he conducted research on Kimura Kumaji, one of the early Japanese students at Hope College back in 1871. He is planning to publish the fascinating life of Kimura Kumaji sometime in the near future.


K. Greg Murray, Biology: Greg spent most of the spring semester working on several manuscripts and studying the biology of his beloved tropical pioneer plants.  He worked with Brian Yurk (Mathematics) and students on campus and in Costa Rica to extend a collaboration on modeling forest dynamics and plant demography, and traveled to Hawaii to locate populations of one of his Costa Rican species that has become invasive on two of the islands.  He hopes to initiate a collaborative project on this species in Hawaii, and vows to actually go the beach on his next trip there.  Greg also continued data analysis from a study with other members of the Biology Department on the microbial communities associated with the seeds of a related pioneer species in Michigan – another part of his campaign to unify the natural sciences and mathematics around the wonders of pioneer plants.  While in Hawaii, Greg and Kathy Winnett-Murray (Biology) also met with Hope alumnus Chris Lepczyk about creating a May Term course there on conservation biology.  With a group of other faculty from the Biology Department, he visited the Tucson area in March, and as a result he is developing a new course with Kathy: “Sonoran Desert and Sky Islands: Ecology in a Land of Extremes.”  The course will be taught for the first time during May Term 2015.  Greg also worked with Jianhua Li (Biology) to develop a new field/laboratory exercise on the population genetics of earthworms (really!) that was first used in Biology 106 during the spring semester, and he presented it to other ecologists as a potential teaching and research collaboration at the Ecological Research as Education conference in June.  In our personal lives, our extended family experienced significant health challenges and even death, but the sabbatical leave made it possible for us to support our loved ones as best we could.  A more positive highlight was introducing Kathy to my own most influential teacher: the legendary Beatrice Weingart, now 101, who was my 8th grade science teacher. Photo

Jeanne Petit, History: Jeanne pursued two connected research projects over her sabbatical. The first is a continuation of her research examining how Catholic women confronted, adapted to, and participated in the changes of the modernizing United States in the World War I era. She had an article titled “Working for God, Country, and “Our Poor Mexicans”: Catholic Women and Americanization at the San Antonio National Catholic Community House, 1919-1924” accepted in The Journal of American Ethnic History. She also worked on a proposal for a book titled “Catholic Women and Their Nation in World War I America.” In the second project, she is exploring the religious dynamics of the United War Work Campaign, a World War I fundraising drive organized by Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish groups who worked with the U.S. Army to provide services to the soldiers. In doing research for both of these projects, she visited ten archives in eight cities, including Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Minneapolis, and New Haven. There was one hiccup to the sabbatical when a tornado devastated her hometown of Washington, Illinois, and she spent two weeks helping her parents clean up. She gained a renewed respect for the power of nature and the kindness of strangers.

Jim Piers, Sociology/Social Work: Jim spent his sabbatical analyzing interviews with lower, middle and upper income men and women who were continuing in the workforce beyond the usual retirement age of 65 or 66. He was particularly interested in examining the reported challenges and benefits of continued employment and the social work services that respondents believed were or would be helpful to them in their continued work and retirement planning. His initial findings were presented at the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors national conference in Louisville this spring. He and his wife Dee Dee also took some time to savor the Miami, Key West and Peruvian cultures. Jim, age 66, was asked by a colleague whether the research and relaxation helped him specify his retirement timetable. "Not yet!" he responded. Instead, he looks forward to the social, psychological, physiological and financial benefits of continued employment, as reported by the majority of the respondents, and plans to utilize recommended social work services.

Steve Remillard, Physics: Steve held an appointment at the Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials (CNAM) at the University of Maryland.  He spent six months with UMd students and faculty adding to the new technique of laser scanning microscopy and using it to understand how high frequency current affects engineered superconductors.  This work took him to Turin, Italy where he had previously initiated a collaboration with the “superconductor engineers”.  While in Italy he also presented at the European Conference on Applied Superconductivity.  He was then invited to speak at a workshop in Fréjus, France this spring and he used this invitation to undertake a fruitful examination of the overlap between his work at Hope and at CNAM.  The key results were published in an Institute of Physics journal.  He also submitted two other manuscripts with Hope student coauthors which were subsequently accepted.  Steve spent two months in Korea with a GLCA NDI grant.  In March he took a Korean language immersion course at Ewha Woman's University.  In April he visited six Korean universities that are heavily involved in nanoscience.  Three results from Korea were (1) learning some of the language, (2) forging faculty-level relations with highly ranked universities, and (3) understanding the expectations that nanoscience programs have of incoming graduate student preparation.  Two universities invited him to give physics colloquia.  He not only obliged, but he introduced his presentations while speaking Korean.

Brad Richmond, Music: Brad traveled to South Africa, where, together with his wife, Jen (Wolfe, Music, see below), and younger son, Paul, he spent three weeks in Johannesburg, twelve days traversing the ‘wild coast’, and a month in Cape Town. While in Johannesburg, he continued his Zulu studies (begun three months earlier) and visited three choral directors, each of whom was comfortable in both African and western choral traditions. A visit to Lebone College in Rustenberg was especially poignant as the three travelers were treated to an hour-long concert of African music put on exclusively for them. Director Gareth Dry graciously allowed Brad to film the entire program. Their ‘wild coast’ adventure included a three-day stay in an award winning eco-lodge located in the Xhosa village of Bulungula. Evenings were spent playing djembe drums around the campfire with young men from the village, and days were spent exploring the village itself, and visiting the local elementary school, which is part of an NGO known as the Incubator Project. A two-night stay near Grahamstown made possible a visit to the African Music Museum at Rhodes University, and a wallet-draining excursion to a renowned instrument-making shop where Brad was allowed to film three of the workers playing traditional African marimbas. Their stay in Cape Town included two trips to Stellenbosch University (one for a choral concert) and an afternoon get together with one of the International Studies coordinators from the University of Cape Town. April and May found the family in Tuscany where, aside from daily walks and drives through the vineyard-lined hills of Chianti and numerous trips to Siena and Florence, Brad worked on several compositional projects.

Tom Smith, DEMA: Tom spent the past academic year serving in many capacities at Emanuel University, a small Christian college in Oradea, Romania.  Tom and his wife Cheryl lived in the dormitory and ate in the cantina with the Emanuel students.  The fall semester was spent teaching several classes for both undergraduate and graduate students.  Primary responsibility focused on the undergraduate Entrepreneurship class and spending many hours with students helping them develop and refine their business plans.  Tom was much like an "academic in residence" during the spring semester.  He taught a research process class for the graduate students, mentored many graduate students and faculty in their research writing and dissertations, and helped to coordinate their yearly business academic conference.  While in Romania, Tom was able to present one paper and write three others.  He learned a little Romanian, but learned much about the Romanian culture and people.  A return trip is already scheduled for May 2015.

Todd Wiebe, VanWylen Library: Todd worked on an "impact and opportunities" study, seeking to identify current library value (resources, services, physical spaces, etc.) and explore new ways in which librarians might become more intentionally engaged with students doing undergraduate research.  For this study he focused specifically on the arts, humanities, and social sciences disciplines.  He surveyed all students who had registered to present a poster at the Spring 2014 Celebration for Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance, and followed-up by convening two focus groups.  In May, He attended "Faculty Writing Camp" to work on a manuscript which has since been submitted for publication.  Todd also gave two conference presentations, served on the planning committee for a national information literacy conference, and attended one other conference as a plain old observer.  For professional development, he enrolled in the Michigan Library Association's "Leadership Academy" which he is currently 3/4 of the way through.  For fun, or "non-professional" development, Todd spent many hours honing his homebrew master skills and creating new recipes; one he named "Polar Vortex ESB" (Extra Special Bitter).  For non-fun, he spent many a day performing the Sisyphean task of shoveling his driveway, except during the week he and his family vacationed in Southern California. 

Kathy Winnett-Murray, Biology: Kathy's spring sabbatical leave started with the most severe winter she has experienced since coming to Hope, and wrapped up with one of her mildest summers ever.  Likewise, her activities were diverse and largely unanticipated.  So, she spent most of her time learning new stuff.  An admitted techno-phobe, Kathy is proud to have learned how to use Google Earth to apply new twists to her research on birds in human-altered habitats, and to enable her and her students to participate in a national research project on bird mortality through EREN (Ecological Research in Education Network).  She also learned to master new bird banding software, and she created two smartphone-based projects using the i-naturalist app.  These will be used in her GEMS and biology classes, and, if all goes well, by Hamilton's new STREAM school, debuting this fall.  In addition to working with Hamilton middle school teachers, Kathy partnered with teachers from Holland New Tech, West Ottawa, Black River, Holland High, and Boy Scout Troop 165 in an array of science activities, and she participated in the Project Clarity Planning Commission, which is devising new ways to involve the community in sustainable use of the Macatawa Watershed.  Kathy wrote a lot, mostly for her department's new intro bio labs, and also about her long-term research on Eastern Bluebirds.  She wrote and edited for ABLE (Association for Biology Laboratory Education), TIEE (Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology) and EREN (Ecological Research in Education Network) to help disseminate innovative biology labs nationally.  Her favorite new lab is about the antibiotic properties of spices (such as those used in ethnic cooking) and how microbe-killing spices can be used to teach principles of evolution.  She has been working on this lab for the HHMI-CRE program with Dr. Maria Hledin and Biology Education major Sasha Balcazar this year.  And the unanticipated? Kathy engaged in roadside biology from highways in 16 states, including her first visit to Hawaii, she planned a desert May Term (instead of a tropical one) with her Dean, several colleagues, and a Gila Monster, and she helped her team place 3rd in the West Michigan birdathon!

Jennifer Wolfe, Music: Jennifer traveled to South Africa and Tuscany with her husband, Brad Richmond (Music), and their 17-year-old son Paul. While in South Africa she heard lots of music, accumulated choral repertoire for her Women's Choir and for the West Michigan Children's Choir, bought a djembe (and had it fumigated), read extensively, and began composing music, some of it based on South African texts. During the Italian portion of the trip, she composed more intently, completing original works and arrangements to be performed by her choirs over the next couple of years. This experience will also help with her FYS class on creativity. Over the summer, Jen has been transcribing her compositions onto the computer using an infuriating music-software program.




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