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What makes an education in the social sciences at Hope College distinctive? How is Hope different?

Why are the social sciences important in your education? Why should you consider an academic major in one of the social science disciplines? The social sciences may be right for you if….

Model UN
Developmental Psychology
Outside Martha Miller

  • You’re interested in how families function most effectively, and how government, the church, and other elements of society can help strengthen families.
  • You’re interested in why some businesses succeed and others fail.
  • You’re interested in how government and other agents of public policy work – or don’t work – to create a free and just society.
  • You’re interested in how power and privilege help some people succeed and hold others back.
  • You’re interested in how the rise of digital media threatens children’s health – both here and around the world.
  • You’re interested in how people learn – or why they don’t.
  • You’re interested in why so few people seem to be able to change habits related to exercise, diet, and substance use.
  • You’re interested in how people make political choices in their communities, on the national scene, and throughout the world.
  • You’re interested in how different people draw different conclusions when they hear the same message.
  • You’re interested in helping others by working with individuals or groups.

What makes an education in the social sciences at Hope College distinctive from other colleges? How is Hope different?

National recognition and reputation. Three programs in the social sciences at Hope College are nationally accredited – Athletic Training, Education, and Social Work. For three consecutive years the Education Department has ranked in the "excellent" range of Teacher Education programs in Michigan.

Council on Social Work Education

Schaap Science CenterOutstanding facilities.

In 2004 a $36 million renovation and expansion was completed of the Psychology Department’s home – the A. Paul Schaap Science Center.

DeVos Fieldhouse

The $22 million DeVos Fieldhouse provides the Kinesiology Department with one of the nation’s finest teaching and learning facilities for exercise science, physical education and athletic training.

Martha Miller Center

The $12 million Martha Miller Center for Global Communication houses the Department of Communication and its state of the art teaching and media production facilities.

Van Zoeren Hall

Sociology, Social Work, Economics, Management, Accounting, and Education are housed in Van Zoeren Hall – connected directly to Hope's Van Wylen Library – recently ranked the top undergraduate library in the country.

Lubbers Hall

Political Science is located in historic Lubbers Hall which was recently renovated from top to bottom.

Outstanding faculty and affiliated programs. Social science faculty at Hope College are among the most accomplished in their respective fields. Below are a few examples of the people who will guide your learning and exemplary programs in our Division.

  • Professor of Kinesiology Kirk Brumels was inducted into the Michigan Athletic Trainer's Society Hall of Fame
Kirk A. Brumels
  • Professor of Education Deborah Van Duinen was selected as the 2014 Towsley Award winner
  • Education professors Deb Van Duinen and Nancy Cook were chosen as one of the Top 25 Education Professors in Michigan by Online Schools Michigan

Deborah M. Van DuinenNancy L. Cook

  • Jayson Dibble, Professor of Communication, was awarded Top Four Paper for his article “Using modern technology to keep in touch with back burners: An investment model analysis.” Jayson presented his paper at the annual meeting of the Western States Communication Association in Anaheim, CA.
Jayson L. Dibble
  • Professor of Kinesiology Maureen Dunn received the MS Achievement Award from the Michigan Chapter of the National MS Society
Maureen Dunn
  • Robert Fortner, Professor of Communication, was co-recipient of the Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award
Robert S. Fortner
  • Professor of Mathematics and Education Vicki-Lynn Holmes, received the Christian Choice Book award - Counseling/ Recovery category for her book Suicide: The Unpardonable Sin
Vicki-Lynn Holmes
  • David Myers, Professor of Psychology, authored three books entitled Psychology in Everyday Life (third edition), Psychology (tenth edition), and Exploring Psychology (ninth edition), all published by Worth Publishers

  • Dr. Myers also received a Presidential citation from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and the Oticon Focus on People Award for Hearing Advocacy

  • Professor of Kinesiology, Rebecca Schmidt, was awarded the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year.
Becky Schmidt
  • John Lunn, Professor of Economics, was named President of the Association of Christian Economists
John E. Lunn
  • Professor of Political Science and Director of International Studies Major Annie Dandavati received the Motoichiro Oghimi Global Courage Award for exhibiting the intercultural courage exemplified by Motoichiro Oghimi, one of Hope's first international students.
Annie Dandavati
  • Professor of Communication James Herrick's book After the Genome: A Language for our Biotechnological Future was selected as the National Communication Association
    Communication Ethics Division's Edited Book of the Year
  • Debra Swanson , Professor of Sociology, received the Premier Mentor Award from the Ottawa County Mentoring Collective and the Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award
Debra Harvey Swanson
  • Professor of Education, John Yelding, was awarded the Susan M. Mooy '64 Cherup and Glenn G. Cherup Endowed Chair in Education
John A. Yelding
  • Laura Pardo, Professor of Education, was appointed to the Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professorship
Laura S. Pardo
  • Professor of Kinesiology Stuart Fritz received the 25-year
    Coaching Award from American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), and was appointed to the Board of Directors for the ABCA and President of Division III Baseball

Stuart W. Fritz
  • Susan Cherup, Professor of Education and also the Arnold and Esther Sonneveldt Professor of Education, was the recipient of the college’s annual “Vanderbush-Weller Award” for strong, positive impact on students
Susan M. Cherup
  • Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Don Luidens, was the recipient of the Janet L. Andersen Award for Excellence in Teaching
Don Luidens
  • Professors of Social Work and Psychology Deborah Sturtevant and Patricia Roehling were awarded the 2014 Dean's Global Travel Award.


Deb SturtevantPatricia Roehling
  • Daryl Van Tongeren, Professor of Psychology, along with four of his students were the recepients of the 2014 Social Sciences Young Investigators' Award.
Daryl R. Van Tongeren
  • Professor of Education, Tony Donk, was awarded a GLCA Global Liberal Arts Alliance Teaching Fellow.



Tony Donk

Student/faculty collaborative research. Hope College has a national reputation for student-faculty collaborative research. The social sciences have been a significant contributor to this reputation. Furthermore, the tradition of putting theory into practice through internships, service learning, and practica is well established in the social sciences at Hope College. Consider the following facts:

  • 68 research projects conducted by 120 students in the social sciences were showcased at the 13th Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance on Hope’s campus.

  • Hope College psychology students have earned regional recognition for excellence in research for 12 of the last 14 years from the Midwestern chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology.
  • Each social science department offers at least one type of experiential learning option. Six of the seven require at least one internship, practicum, or service learning experience in the discipline as a graduation requirement.


  • Students preparing for vocations as teachers participate in at least four field placements in K-12 schools before student teaching.



  • Many students in the social sciences spend a semester working in their chosen field as part of programs the college offers in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.

Collaborative Student/Faculty Research


    Professor of Sociology Llena Chavis conducted a qualitative study with two research students on first time mothers and anxiety. The study focused on a combination of social support and sense of competence.




    Daryl Van Tongeren, Professor of Psychology, and his students worked on research examining meaning, religion, and virtues from a social psychological perspective. More specifically, they examined the role of meaning in beliefs about science and religion, sampling both students and community members.



    Professor of Communication Jayson Dibble, along with four students, worked on collaborative research projects concerning the delivery of bad news, the associations between relationship closeness and nonverbal behavior, the use of technology in nonprofit fundraising efforts, and and the associations between Twitter use and writing skills.


    Global perspective. The Division of Social Sciences takes Hope College’s mission to educate students for lives of leadership in a global society seriously. Consider the following ways in which the social sciences have extended the campus all over the world:


    Professor of Management Vicki Ten Haken and three Hope accounting and management students embarked on a new exchange program with Hanze University in Groningen, Netherlands (the "Doing Business in Europe" summer program) during May/June term

    Dennis Feaster, Professor of Social work, spent two weeks in China conducting research on exploratory, qualitative investigation into services and supports for intact birth families of children with developmental disabilities in Zhengzhou, Henan, PRC

    Education professors Tony Donk and Laura Pardo travelled to England with 16 students during June Term to experience teaching in British schools in Liverpool



    Communication Professors Isolde Anderson and Jayson Dibble traveled to Liverpool with 10 students during May Term where they instructed two individual classes that focused on humor, community and culture



    Professor of Psychology Patricia Roehling and Social Work professor Deb Sturtevant worked with faculty at Hope Liverpool University to develop an international class which will contrast and compare the mental health systems in the US and in the UK




    Steven Smith, Professor of Kinesiology, taught a Senior Seminar entitled Bringing Hope to Our World to 15 students in Jamaica during May term




    Professor of Management, Vicki Ten Haken and the Department of Economics & Business, along with Andy & Emma Nakajima from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages), hosted their annual Global Management Seminar for Meiji Guiken students