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Faculty Profile: Steven Hoogerwerf
Associate Professor of Religion

As a graduate of Hope College, Dr. Steven Hoogerwerf is uniquely suited to teaching current Hope students. Dr. Hoogerwerf’s classes are some of the most popular at Hope. “Introduction to Theology: Christian Love,” “Religion and Atrocity,” and his classes on ethics fill up fast, and with good reason. Dr. Hoogerwerf loves Hope students. “Hope students are genuinely committed to making good use of the wide range of opportunities Hope provides,” he says, “and I find that they are exceptionally kind. They’re the kinds of people I’d like to become friends with.”

Dr. Hoogerwerf and his colleagues in the department of religion are committed to providing students with meaningful opportunities to explore faith issues. “Careful attention to the academic study of religion can enhance one’s practice of faith, so as a department of religion, we are committed to academic excellence,” Dr. Hoogerwerf says.

The department’s commitment to excellence is demonstrated both in and out of the classroom. The faculty are devoted to their students, enthusiastic about forming relationships through mentoring, hosting community-building events, inviting students to ask hard questions, and providing them with a safe environment to find answers.

In addition to his work at the college, Dr. Hoogerwerf is involved in the Reformed Church of America as an associate with the office of social witness. He has also served as a member of General Synod, where he co-chaired the Commission on Race and Ethnicity. His keenness for Christian ethics has led him to become involved in ethics committees at local hospitals, including Holland Community Hospital.

Also outside of the classroom, Dr. Hoogerwerf is deeply involved in Hope’s spring break mission trip program. He has attended mission trips as a support person, traveling to Apache, Okla.; the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota; Tijuana and Chiapas, Mexico; and the Dominican Republic. He works with the student participants to help them think deeply about their experience. “I think the mission trip is powerful for students because it stretches them to think outside their comfort zones in ways that can’t always be accomplished in the classroom,” he says. “Experience is a powerful teacher.”

After 15 years teaching at Hope, Dr. Hoogerwerf is more passionate than ever about his specialty within the department of religion. “I’ve often jokingly said to religion colleagues that Christian ethics is the queen of the theological sciences,” he says, “because what it all comes down to as a Christian is the question of ‘ how am I going to live my life in a way that honors God?’ That’s what ethics is about.”

This profile was written by Megan E. Dougherty, a 2007 Hope College graduate from Normal, Ill., for the 2007-08 Hope College Catalog.

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