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Faculty Profile: Isolde Anderson
Assisant Professor of Communication

Dr. Isolde Anderson appreciates that “the Hope College communication department has a very good reputation in the field.”

The communication program covers a wide area and it grants students opportunities in a variety of career paths. “Students can get exposed to not only a variety of communication disciplines or sub-disciplines, but potential fields for work, whether it’s law, marketing, public relations, ministry, or even teaching. There are so many natural outlets,” she says.

Dr. Anderson notes that students benefit especially from the college’s emphasis on student-faculty research. Most recently in her case, for example, she has worked with students on online guest books. That particular project ended up being published--a result, she says, that is not atypical at Hope.

Such projects are often supported by the college’s Carl Frost Center for Social Science Research. “I think the Frost Center Research has a lot of potential to encourage good work from faculty and students,” she says. “It’s a very good way to support the faculty.”

The support, she said, is an important reflection of the college’s commitment to providing a high-quality education. “The college has a very clear commitment to students’ success; I believe that Hope wants to see students succeed,” says Dr. Anderson. “I really see a commitment to the students.”

That commitment is carried out beyond the classroom as well. “In terms of spiritual life, there’s a great variety of religious experience among Hope students. There are students who don’t have much interest or background in a church or a tradition, and there are others who are very active in the local congregations,” says Dr. Anderson. “I personally like the variety.”

The mixture cultivates a broad range of conversation topics among her classes. Dr. Anderson values the freedom that she has as a professor to incorporate spirituality into the classroom. “Spiritual life is a part of human experience,” says Dr. Anderson, “and it is understood to be a natural part of the educational process and the learning process.”

Dr. Anderson, an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, appreciates being able to examine her discipline from a faith perspective. “I feel that I have much more freedom to bring up ethical and spiritual issues than I did in my previous academic institution,” she says.

At the same time, she says, Hope offers beneficial variety within its Christian context.

“Not all faculty are from one denomination,” she said. “We can learn from Catholics and Quakers and Episcopalians, and there’s a richness to that that you don’t have elsewhere.”

That richness, she says, “then transfers to the students.”

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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