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Faculty Profile: Brigitte Hamon-Porter
Associate Professor of French

Born in France, Brigitte Hamon-Porter has a wonderful sense of the global world and she hopes to inspire her students to feel the same way.

“The study of languages today is more than ever relevant,” she says. “Learning a new language is a path to understanding someone else’s culture and someone else’s world. It’s a way of reaching out to the world. As a global power, we cannot afford to be culturally ignorant or remain provincial on this increasingly larger stage.”

Seeing the broader world is a key part of how Hope students learn that perspective. “We encourage students to spend a semester abroad,” she says. “For most of them, this is the defining moment in their experience at Hope.”

One quality that Dr. Hamon-Porter appreciates about the students at Hope College is that while “the students are very grounded in their culture, values and Christian faith, they feel secure enough to be willing to explore another culture.” After they’ve taken that risk, Dr. Hamon-Porter says it’s extremely gratifying “to see them come back and have this confidence in their language skills and in themselves--to see how they’ve found their voice in the language, but also their voice in the world and how they fit in it. It’s really the privilege of a faculty member at a small college to be able to see students progress year after year.”

Things have been progressing on Hope’s campus as well, and during 2005-06 the newly-constructed Martha Miller Center for Global Communication opened. Dr. Hamon-Porter says, “I think that the Martha Miller Center is a wonderful asset for us. With the latest technology, we can really bring the world to the students.” She appreciates the lounges in the rotunda and says that now “you have space where students and faculty can meet informally. It’s very inviting.”

That Hope values such space, she feels, says something about the kind of place the college is. “The faculty really cares about the whole person,” she says. “With this kind of caring, each student is challenged to think freely, and given room to grow at his or her own pace.”

In the same way, in her role as a mentor she travels alongside them figuratively as they make their journey through Hope. As her students progress through the French program, she says, “I see myself as accompanying them as they grow in age, but also spiritually and intellectually, and I’d like to think that in some ways I have helped them to build on their potential to enjoy and become fully involved in this world, locally and globally.”

This profile was written by Bethany A. Katerberg, a Hope College senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 2006-07 Hope College Catalog.

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