Interdisciplinary Studies

Living well in our complex world involves questioning “outside the lines.” Our future holds increasing, rapid changes.

Preparing for the future requires problem solving that goes beyond prefabricated compartments. While courses within academic departments pursue inquiry within traditional categories of expertise, interdisciplinary studies (IDS) courses offer the exciting challenge of integrating knowledge using multiple disciplinary perspectives.


The goals of the Cultural Heritage requirement and ways of fulfilling it are explained in “The Degree Program.” Interdisciplinary Cultural Heritage courses enable students to explore relationships among the disciplines of history, literature and philosophy, as well as their connections to the history of religion and the fine arts. Students will consider perennial questions of human life as they study the ways of knowing in multiple humanities disciplines and use them to understand themes and developments in various eras of cultural and intellectual history. Titles of particular sections of each course are given in the course schedule, and descriptions are available on the General Education website.


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities is an interdisciplinary honors program designed to develop skills in research and creative endeavors in the arts and the humanities. The program trains students for individual and team projects grounded in primary sources, as well as in the intentional use of new media tools and publication platforms. Additionally, the program prepares students for public speaking and professional interaction. Students receive support for summer research projects, conference travel and research materials and equipment. Admission to the Mellon Scholars Program is competitive; the application process occurs in the second semester of a student’s first year at Hope College.

First Year Seminar

First Year Seminar (FYS) is a highlight and touchstone of the Hope College academic experience. FYS aims to provide an intellectual transition into Hope that parallels in several ways the transition out of Hope offered by the senior seminar.  Students take FYS in their first semester and are introduced to college-level ways of active learning as well as skills of self-assessment and reflection. The following objectives guide the FYS experience.  Students will… 

  1. Explore an intellectually important topic with an instructor and with peers. 
  2. Read primary texts critically and discuss them in a seminar format.
  3. Investigate specific topics and communicate their understanding through an appropriate form of writing or other medium (e.g. oral presentation, digital media). 
  4. Present their ideas for discussion and critical reflection. 
  5. Learn about the purposes of a liberal arts education, including personal and intellectual development as well as vocational discernment and career preparation.

A variety of engaging FYS topics are offered each year by faculty throughout the college.  Some recent titles include Why Do I Always Get My Best Ideas While Shaving?, #adulting, Harry Potter and the Flying Dutchmen, Choices, Friendship and Its Enemies, Holistic Health, You Believe What? Christianity and the Big Questions, Fit Bodies Fat Minds, Should I Give A Dollar to the Homeless Man, American Obsession: An Exploration of Violence in Film, and many others. 

A further highlight of the First Year Seminar experience is the opportunity for students to get to know their professor in a mentoring and advising context.  FYS professors serve as the first academic advisor for all students in her or his course.  As faculty and students get to know one another in the academic classroom and an advising setting, conversations about academic and life direction, other courses, grades, adjustment issues, and other areas are able to be cultivated.  Students remain with their First Year Seminar advisor until they declare their major and receive an advisor who teaches in that particular area. 

First Year Seminars are two-credit courses and are typically taught in a section of 15-20 students.


Senior Seminar is a unique and essential part of a Hope College education. As the milestone of graduation approaches senior students gather in interdisciplinary seminars and forge communities devoted to the exploration of their beliefs and values, worldviews and life goals. Students consider carefully the ideas they hold and the perspectives they trust. They may reflect on the course of their lives and envision their future plans, dreams and sense of calling. In the Senior Seminar, students ponder questions such as: What is a good life and how do I achieve it? What does it mean to be a lifelong learner? What are my abiding beliefs and convictions and how can I live them out? What is my worldview? How can I make a difference in the world? Professors from across campus design and offer a range of fascinating and diverse seminars. Faculty guide students as they bring together the life of the mind, the resources of faith, the lessons of experience and the critical practices of reading and reflection, discussion and writing.

As the historic Christian faith is central to the mission of Hope College, so Senior Seminar explores how Christianity provides vital beliefs, vibrant virtues and a life-giving worldview. Throughout history and around the globe, believers and admirers, scholars and students have turned to the Christian faith for direction and insight. At the same time, Hope College affirms that faculty and students of the Liberal Arts can find valuable understanding and moral reckoning in all places and among all peoples in this world so loved by God. For this reason, the Senior Seminar often draws on many academic fields, varied forms of artistic expression and insights from daily life. Indeed, every student, regardless of religious background, is an indispensable member of Hope College and the Senior Seminar. Every student brings to the course intellectual expertise and hard won life lessons. In fact, the Senior Seminar only succeeds when each student identifies deep yearnings, asks hard questions and renews personal integrity; when everyone both shares and gains wisdom. The examination and discussion of diverse viewpoints helps students to refine their own convictions even as they learn to comprehend, consider and evaluate perspectives different from their own.

The following objectives animate the Senior Seminar course and experience.

  1. Students will articulate and explore Christian ways of knowing and acting, living and learning; their commitments and convictions in conversation with the Christian Faith; and their understanding of the diverse and life-giving purposes and perspectives by which people live.
  2. Students will deepen their ability to discuss their differences openly and sensitively, reasonably and honestly.
  3. Students will consider, discuss and develop their own philosophy of life and write about it in a compelling, coherent and disciplined manner.

Senior Seminars are four-credit courses. Students may elect from the following courses shown in the courses tab, several of which are offered each semester to fulfill the requirement. Courses should be taken no earlier than May, June or July Terms between the junior and senior year, unless by special permission from the Director of Senior Seminar Program.




Hope offers a number of interdisciplinary minors. Three examples of such programs follow.

 American Ethnic Studies Minor

A minor in American Ethnic Studies introduces students to critical methodologies and scholarly approaches to understanding the diverse historical and cultural issues relating to race and ethnicity in the United States. At a time when America is becoming increasingly multicultural and when Americans are increasingly aware of the values of multiculturalism, participants in a minor in American Ethnic Studies gain and develop skills to research, analyze and reflect on the heritage of racialized ethnic cultures in America. Such study will develop citizens, participants and activists who have views of their larger mission in life and who strive daily, both locally and globally, in the pursuit of justice and equality. 

Peace and Justice Studies Minor

The Peace and Justice Studies Minor prepares students to assume their roles as global citizens and leaders through the development of knowledge and strategies for engaging a global society and promoting a peaceful and just world.  The minor takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding peace theory, application and strategy.  The minor introduces students to the academic study of the religious, historical, political, environmental, sociological, cultural and economic causes of conflict, as well as the psychological, philosophical, religious and communication processes of building peace and justice.  Students pursuing the Peace and Justice Studies Minor will gain an understanding of conflict from interpersonal to international contexts, by becoming more aware of their own and others’ identities, cultures and communities.  Students will be encouraged to supplement their minor with study abroad, internships, conferences and other experiential activities.  

Studies in Ministry Minor

The Studies in Ministry minor is dedicated to preparing students, theologically and practically, for lay ministry positions in churches and para-church organizations. It aims to provide students who have a vocational interest in Christian service with the theological framework, practical experience, spiritual disciplines and mentoring guidance necessary to embark upon a lifetime of involvement in Christian ministries.

Through coursework, year-long internship, and relationships with each other and mentors, students in this program will be prepared for possible future theological education and various entry-level ministry positions in churches and organizations – locally and worldwide. The minor has three different tracks: Youth Ministry, Worship Leadership and Social Witness. Depending on the courses and track chosen, the minor will comprise 25 to 30 hours, to be distributed across required courses, electives and an internship


100. First Year Seminar — These seminars, taught on a variety of subjects and open to first-year students only, focus on ways of knowing, seeing, and evaluating as applied to differing specific topics. Students become actively engaged in these seminars as they read primary texts closely, discuss and write about the issues these texts address, and enhance their skills of self-assessment and reflection. Teachers of these seminars serve as advisors to the students in their classes.
2 Credits | Fall | First Year Seminar (FYS)

160. Arts for the Elementary and Middle School Teacher — This course provides an integrated approach to a number of topics in visual art, dance, drama, and music with an emphasis on the interrelatedness of these arts. Prospective elementary teachers will expand their knowledge of and appreciation for the creative/expressive arts and will develop instructional approaches which will enhance understanding and appreciation of the arts for children in the elementary and middle schools (K-8).
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | The Arts I (FA1)

200. Encounter with Cultures — An introduction to cultural diversity, focusing on concepts of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and other forms of cultural identity and difference in contemporary American society. Working with cross-disciplinary theoretical models for understanding cultural identity and interactions between cultures, students will explore their own cultural heritages; and through imaginative literature, autobiography, film, cultural events, and direct intercultural encounters on and off the campus, they will focus on the backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of several specific American cultural groups, such as African, Asian, Hispanic, Jewish, and Native Americans.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

280. Contemporary Issues in Japan — Held on the campuses of Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and Yokohama, this seminar serves as an introduction to the rich cultural traditions of Japan. A series of lectures and field trips as well as personal contact with Japanese students will give a unique perspective on various aspects of contemporary Japanese society.
2-4 Credits | Summer | Global Learning International (GLI)

295. Special Topics — Study of an area of interdisciplinary studies not covered in the regular course listings. Offered as student and teacher interest requires and scheduling permits.
2-4 Credits | As Needed

329. Transitioning into the Health Professions — This course will help students explore the qualifications and expertise needed for a successful transition to their chosen health profession. Topics covered include values clarification, exploration of ethical issues in healthcare, financial considerations, and an in-depth exploration of the aspects of a successful application and interview for each health profession. Restricted to students with Junior or Senior status.
0-1 Credits | Spring

395. Interdisciplinary Studies — A course offered in response to student and instructor interest. Topics are not generally covered in the regular course listings. Course may be taken multiple times if topics are different.
4-6 Credits | As Needed

490. Individual Study — An individual research project, investigating some topic in depth and culminating in a paper that demonstrates interdisciplinary scholarship and independent thought. Students who meet the Honors Project eligibility and present a paper that meets the standards established will have the course recorded as an Honors Project. May be repeated for additional credit, with a different project.
Prerequisites: Departmental acceptance of application
3-4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

Cultural Heritage

171. Cultural Heritage I — Includes all three Cultural Heritage disciplines – history, literature, and philosophy – in the pre-modern period (up to 1500 C.E.). Topics regularly offered include “Real Life and the Good Life from Classical Times to Christian,” “Freedom, Justice, and the Good Life,” “From Virgil to Dante: Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.”
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Cultural Heritage I (CH1)

172. Cultural Heritage II — Includes all three Cultural Heritage disciplines – history, literature, and philosophy – in the modern period (after 1500 C.E.). Topics regularly offered include “Authority and the Individual,” "Perspectives on Science," and “Revolutions and Revolutionaries.”
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Cultural Heritage II (CH2)

173. Cultural Heritage I (Lit/Hist) — Literature and history in the pre-modern period (up to 1500 C.E.).
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Cultural Heritage I (CH1)

174. Cultural Heritage II (Lit/Hist) — Literature and history in the modern period (after 1500 C.E.). Topics regularly offered include "Native American Literature and History.”
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Cultural Heritage II (CH2)

175. Cultural Heritage I (Lit/Phil) — Philosophy and literature in the pre-modern period (up to 1500 C.E.). Topics regularly offered include “Classical Mythology and Plato’s Republic.”
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Cultural Heritage I (CH1)

176. Cultural Heritage II (Lit/Phil) — Philosophy and literature in the modern period (after 1500 C.E.).
4 Credits | As Needed | Cultural Heritage II (CH2)

177. Cultural Heritage I (Hist/Phil) — History and philosophy in the pre-modern period (up to 1500 C.E.).
4 Credits | As Needed | Cultural Heritage I (CH1)

178. Cultural Heritage II (Hist/Phil) — History and philosophy in the modern period (after 1500 C.E.).
4 Credits | As Needed | Cultural Heritage II (CH2)

Mellon Scholars

180. Mellon Scholars: Interdisciplinary Seminar I — This first of a 2-semester seminar sequence introduces and develops students' intellectual engagement with substantive questions in the arts and humanities and their role in the 21st century. In IDS 180, class discussions readings, and projects foster critical reading non-textural primary sources (art, music, dance, theater), analytical writing, and digital technologies in support of the foundational tools of the liberal arts. The seminar also provides training in presentation skills, scholarly collaboration, and grant writing. The seminars' goals are to equip students with the skills for undertaking innovative collaborative projects, independent research, and creative production for the purpose of bringing the wisdom of the arts and humanities to contemporary culture.
4 Credits | Fall | The Arts I (FA1)

181. Mellon Scholars: Interdisciplinary Seminar II — The 2nd course in a 2-semester seminar sequence builds on and continues to develop students' intellectual engagement with substantive questions in the arts and humanities and their role in the 21st century. Class discussions, readings, and projects pay specific attention to the critical reading of textual primary sources. Research, analytical writing and digital technologies are applied to group projects that are related to the seminars' common theme. The seminar also provides training in presentation skills, scholarly collaboration, and grant writing. The seminars' goals are to equip students with the skills for undertaking innovative collaborative projects, independent research, and creative production for the purpose of bringing the wisdom of the arts and humanities to contemporary culture.
4 Credits | Spring | Cultural Heritage II (CH2)

390. Mellon Scholars: Junior Tutorial and Project — Meeting regularly with a faculty mentor, students develop an intellectually coherent course of study and complete a "junior project," a significant work of scholarship that may serve as an example of the student's capabilities in applications for awards, graduate programs, and other opportunities. Students may petition for disciplinary credit in the relevant department, and special arrangements are available for students engaged in off-campus study programs.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

590. Mellon Scholars: Senior Tutorial and Project — Working with a faculty member (or more than one) on a topic approved by the Mellon Scholars Committee, students produce a substantial work of original scholarship or creative production. Students may petition for disciplinary credit, but Ids 590 may not substitute for departmental capstone courses without the permission of the appropriate department chair. Special arrangements are available for students engaged in off-campus study programs.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

The Philadelphia Center

341. Social Work Field Practicum Seminar — This four credit City Seminar, open to Hope College advanced Social Work majors will provide academic and supervisory support for students who are fulfilling their practicum requirements at The Philadelphia Center. This course is a companion to IDS 351, an 8 credit/440 hour field practicum, concurrently enabling students to work with individuals, groups, and community organizations under the close supervision of professional Social Workers.

We will meet in a small group to provide peer supervision and guidance discussing Social Work practicum issues and concerns as well as to fulfill the accreditation requirements of The Council on Social Work Education, Hope College, and the programmatic standards and requirements of The Philadelphia Center. This seminar will also help to facilitate communication and the learning contracts between field instructors, students and their faculty advisor.

The Social Work Field Practicum Seminar will enable students to practice basic entry level baccalaureate social work intervention skills. This seminar is an integrative course combining classroom learning with practice, encouraging the development of new knowledge and skills. In addition, the Social Work Field Practicum Seminar will further serve to provide a transition between the roles of student and emerging professional.
Corequisites: IDS 351
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

353. Power and Authority — This City Seminar examines the workings of power and authority within the fabric of social relations. By focusing on bodies of knowledge, constructs of place and space, and social group differences, we will explore what power and authority entail, what lends individuals power and authority, how power and authority are made, and how power and authority circulate among individual and group relations. Through observational and written contexts, specifically, we will analyze and critique issues such as organizational structures and systems, social group relations, the business environment, work/city relations, and structural inequity. This seminar explores power and authority from multiple perspectives (structural, systemic, collective, and individual) using various frames of analysis (site, difference, and discourse). The readings are organized around multidisciplinary discourses, sites, and differences.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

354. Urban Political and Social Systems, Issues and Practices — This City Seminar offers an opportunity to critically examine ourselves and positions as well as our relationship with others in connection with a variety of urban policies, programs and concerns. Looking at how certain factors affect major urban policies and practices, we will explore their histories, trends, conflicts, controversies, responses, and prospects. Students are encouraged to clarify their positions, challenge conventional assumptions, develop a more comprehensive view based on integration of practical and political concepts and to explore options for action/change as we find meaningful ways to apply new awareness and knowledge. We will look at the political processes that underlie policy and practice concerning issues of social justice and economic human rights. Specifically, we will explore difference and its consequences; how social problems are identified, defined and addressed; the pervasive nature of social inequality; the ways in which systems are structured and function (and in whose interests they operate); and how we might facilitate.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

355. Race: Urban Education, Social and Political Issues — The last half of the 20th Century and the first decade of the 21st Century have brought drastic change to our ecological, economic, political, industrial/technological, and social landscapes. We have been pressed to change and inspired to hope. In understanding a platform to advance the American agenda, we will examine structural inequality and diversity, particularly as it pertains to race. This course seeks to empower us to decide our individual and collective roles in influencing the attitudes, ideas, and behaviors that will determine the future of our planet. We will investigate education as a representative and driving American institution. We will look at how we are educated in a variety of settings. How and where do we learn? How do these “lessons” support or limit social status and mobility? Who benefits from school? What impact do race, class, gender, and other (but no less important) differences have on school and/or workplace experience? What role does education have in a sustainable society? Is there a place for education in ecological/environmental justice? Social justice? Political empowerment? Cultural equity? Economic stability? Inculcation of values/morality? How can the institution of education support a call to action to address some of today’s most pressing problems?
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

356. Conversations on Construction of Race in America — Post 2008 presidential election, the topic of race has taken a front seat in national discourse, but we have no platform by which to further develop the cultural competence of our citizens in order to have more meaningful conversation. This course explores how we come to develop our racial identities and how our racial identities impact our position and relationships in our local communities and global society/ies - particularly in regard to our economic, social and political status. We begin with a look at the historical background of race in America and proceed to examine the continuing consequences and conflict that this history has generated. We will look at race as a social construction and a tool for social organization. We will examine a wide range of representations of the significance of race along with how racial difference is portrayed in film, literature, and the media; how race influences sports, science and the law; and how it is manifested in personal narrative, popular culture and in everyday life. How are these representations bound up with our understanding of race and racial difference? How are our own identities and the ideas of others influenced by the history and representations of race? We will look at how race relations and racism influence policies and procedures, laws, language, social conditioning, and moral codes or values. This is an interactive, seminar-style course. We will use essay, short fiction, film, personal narrative, documentary, museums and lectures as learning activities. Much of our learning will come from our own experiences/interpretations.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

359. Inside Out: Pathways to Opportunity — Inside Out offers an opportunity for outside students from colleges all over the U.S. to join with students living inside a correctional facility. Together we will explore and develop skills with transformative dialogue in order to enlarge our perspectives. This course will encourage an understanding of the macro systems of structural inequality, balanced with the micro view of our personal agency. We will examine the process by which people are led to specific paths of opportunity in: education, employment, housing, information (in a digital age), health care, economic rewards, and the criminal justice system. Through the exchange of perspectives, experiences, and social/historical influences, we will look at the continuing consequences of difference; how beliefs are formed and supported based on hierarchies of privilege and power, particularly in our social policies and procedures, laws, language, social conditioning, and the moral codes or values we hold. This transactional experience will provide the tools to empower learners to see one’s self in relation to the other and our larger society, enabling a call to action in our respective and every-changing spheres of influence.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

361. Abnormal Psychology — This Elective is a survey of the theories and treatment of the major psychological disorders. Using didactic and experiential approaches, students in this course will be introduced to these disorders as they present in the clinic to treating mental health professionals. Students will be helped to understand the impact of heredity, environment, culture, and economic status on the course of these illnesses and the challenges presented by our current mental health system for obtaining psychological services. Additional topics will include: confidentiality and boundaries in psychological practice, the role of cultural differences on diagnosis and treatment, the impact of the therapists’ personality on their ability to work with competence and confidence, and techniques for managing stress and preventing burn-out. This course offers the enthusiastic learner information applicable to their internship settings as well as opportunities for personal and professional growth.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

363. Exploring Relationships in Fiction and Film — This elective examines our understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality and how they play a part in our developing relations with others. We will use fiction and film as our subject matter and specifically look at the perspectives an individual writer/director demonstrates around gender and sexual representations. With a critical attention to the ways people are culturally classified (heterosexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, feminist, transgender, queer, etc.), we will investigate the meanings and effects these labels have on individuals and groups, as well as on relationships, generally. Also, we will discuss other topics connected with sex, gender, and sexuality: desire, obsession, possession, objectification, the erotic, exploitation, abuse, subjugation, rape, intimacy, commitment, friendship, and responsibility. Our explorations of these fiction and film texts will attempt to uncover, analyze, and critique our own assumptions, beliefs, behaviors, and practices.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

364. Marketing Management — Marketing in today’s dynamic and ever changing global marketplace involves identifying consumer needs and ends with positioning the product or service to satisfy those needs and differentiate it from the ever growing number of competitors. This elective is for students across all majors who are interested in learning how to apply the basics of marketing in today’s hyper-competitive market to their own ability to find employment, get accepted into graduate school or launch their own venture. We will also examine how you interact with brands on a daily basis for food, clothing, entertainment and other areas of your life. Additionally, as a college student you need to better understand how to communicate your value to the marketplace. To that end, we will assess personal traits and habits, evaluate professional skills and experiences and then design a customized and impactful personal brand and value proposition.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

365. Principles of Finance — This Elective is designed to provide the essential elements for understanding corporate financial management and the decision making that it requires. Topics include: time value of money, valuation techniques, risk and return, cost of capital, capital budgeting, capital structure, dividend policy and international financial management. Emphasis is on grasping key concepts and applying that knowledge in solving quantitative problems. Command of basic arithmetic and elementary algebra, ability to think analytically, and familiarity with using a scientific calculator are all essential for doing well in this course.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

366. Social Justice — Twenty-first century America is a nation politically, legally and culturally divided. This Elective offers an opportunity to explore, from the perspective of law and politics, a number of controversial topics, which may be defined within the broad category of “justice”. Using the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as a framework, an array of issues will be covered including rights of criminal defendants, inequality, immigration, capital punishment, abortion, right to die, religion and schools, gun control, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and national security and the preservation of civil liberties. Local professionals will occasionally be guest speakers and there will be field trips to relevant sites such as the National Constitution Center and the World Affairs Council. Students will learn how to analyze and brief legal opinions. Active participation in class discussion is encouraged.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Global Learning Domestic (GLD)

368. Urban Economics — This course examines and applies economic theory to urban and metropolitan issues, focusing primarily on our own laboratory: Philadelphia. Urban Economics deals with the intersection of economics and geography; it adds a spatial/location component to standard microeconomic theory. The goals of the course are to help the student understand: (1) the fundamental workings of an urban economy, (2) economic incentives and public policies influencing the growth or decline of urban economies, and (3) the basis for intelligent discussion of interesting urban and regional economic and social issues. It begins with a classic microeconomic framework showing how the location decisions of utility-maximizing households and profit-maximizing firms, and shows how these decisions cause the formation of cities of different size and shape, and what kinds of patterns, benefits and problems emerge.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring

The Senior Seminar

402. Christianity and Literature — Through an examination of a variety of literary statements -- in poems, plays, films, novels, etc. -- this course focuses on a major problem confronting the Christian and Christianity in the contemporary world. Representative variants: "The Human Image," "Crises and Correlations," "The Search for Meaning."
4 Credits | As Needed | Senior Seminar (SRS)

431. Female, Male, Human — This course explores the ways in which gender, sexuality, race, and class shape our ideas about God and humankind, our faith, families, work, and lives. It also examines the ways in which assumptions about gender and sexuality are shaped by Christianity, culture, and the family environment.
4 Credits | As Needed | Senior Seminar (SRS)

432. Do No Harm: Ethics of Health Care — This course focuses on an in-depth examination of the legal and ethical rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the practicing health care provider in a changing medical environment. We will discuss what it means to “do no harm” with an emphasis being placed on the analysis of what is morally right or good for those in our care. The book for this course focuses on “empowering the student to ask the right questions so they can feel comfortable examining the issues and making appropriate ethical decision.”
4 Credits | As Needed | Senior Seminar (SRS)

433. Bringing Hope to Our World — Bringing Hope to our World is a senior seminar centered on two opposing perspectives on how a Christian can make a difference in our world. One is based on the premise of how can we live in affluence in the West as rich Christians while the world is starving. The other is how can we not appreciate the affluence we have and we should enjoy it as a gift from God. We will explore both perspectives and discuss each. We will also focus on how can we make a difference in God's kingdom regardless of our chosen careers. The case will be made that bringing hope to the poor and marginalized in our world is not just for social workers and missionaries but also for all of us. The format of the course includes discussion, presentation and guest speakers.
4 Credits | As Needed | Senior Seminar (SRS)

434. Writing Every*Day Sacred — This seminar explores creative writing and the sacred in everyday life. Students will explore writing as a spiritual practice. Through various texts and writing original fiction, poetry, memoir and essay students will examine: who am I? where am I going? how should I act along the way? how does the historic Christian faith inform my journey? and ultimately, why am I here? No previous creative writing courses are required, just a willingness to honor a first-person approach to the sacred through creative writing. The life view paper will be a multi-genre collection developed and revised throughout the course.
4 Credits | As Needed | Senior Seminar (SRS)

438. Models of Christian Spirituality — This course examines the way in which Christian views of life are formed in the context of lived human experience. Special attention will be given to the many different ways Christians can articulate their understanding of their experience.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

440. Roots and Routes: Travel, Writing and Hope in the New Millennium — This is a course on creative writing, photography, and travel. This course is about local and global concerns, about the creative powers of literature and the restorative powers of the imagination, about the need to wander far on routes both lonely and well traveled and the need to dig roots deep into the dark ground, and about Today and Tomorrow. Take this course if you want to discuss travel, writing, and Hope in the new millennium.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

452. Education and Christian Ways of Living — An examination of how Christians think they ought to live, how and why they think they ought to live that way, and how Christian ways of living can and should affect teachers, teaching and learning. Special attention is given to the influence teachers have on the values of their students.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

455. Vocation and Health Care — This course is designed to explore what it means to think about the meaning of vocation (from the Latin vocare, to call) especially in the context of health care. Using the concept of vocation suggests several questions: What would it mean to be ‘called’ as a caregiver or healer? How would healthcare be different if one approached it as vocation rather than simply a career? How does theology, spirituality, and ethics become an integral part of the vocation to care for those who are sick? If students do not expect to be working in health care, similar questions can be posed, with the context of their own field and work. When we consider our vocations or callings, we do not only think about jobs. Our life is more than our work, and our sense of calling can inform all of life: our relationships, leisure, citizenship, use of natural resources, and our service to the wider communities we live in. The way we frame our questions and answers will unavoidably draw on the religious or philosophical perspectives we bring, so our topic is inescapably concerned with our worldviews.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

457. Christian Thought and the Spiritual Life — An exploration of the Christian spiritual traditions with an emphasis on the integration of prayer and the encounter with God into everyday life. Representative readings from Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox sources will investigate characteristic Christian ways of becoming aware of God, of interpreting that awareness, and of shaping our lives in response to it.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

460. Forgiveness and Second Chances — We will learn about the work of Shakespeare Behind Bars, travel to Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon, MI, read works about forgiveness and talk deeply about second chances, forgiveness- of ourselves and others, and how to use your gifts to make a difference.
4 Credits | Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

462. Composing A Life — Mary Catherine Bateson has suggested that we “compose” our lives in at least three ways: (1) we grow them over time, as is true of the unfolding manner of creating an artistic masterpiece; (2) we stitch together episodes with transitions which ultimately become a larger tale than the sum of the pieces; (3) we actively tell and retell our life stories in different ways in different contexts, always composing and recomposing who we are as we know ourselves better or differently. In this Senior Seminar we take Bateson at her word, reading a number of autobiographies and memoirs, viewing some life-changing movies, and hearing the input of others, all while writing chapters of our own life stories, discussing the meaning of key concepts that develop our worldviews, and presenting to the class our senses of personal meaning as we launch into the next phase of our life compositions.
4 Credits | Fall | Senior Seminar (SRS)

463. Family, Faith, and Calling — This interdisciplinary course will explore the intricate relationships and balancing acts between family and work, faith and calling, job and vocation. By applying the Christian ways of understanding stewardship, service, family dynamic, and calling, students will come to recognize and articulate their own personal values and convictions in their responsibilities to God, family, and employer. Readings, journaling, and discussions will help students form reasoned positions on a variety of issues relating to family, faith, and calling in contemporary American society.
4 Credits | Fall, Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

464. Faith and Friction in Literature — With Kafkaesque craftiness, two previous seminar topics--"Faith and Friction in Fiction" and "Faith and Friction in Nonfiction"--have metamorphosed into one course that explores many genres: novels, memoirs, short stories, films, and biographies. Scary "F" words--fate, failure, foolishness, fear and friction--meet sacred "F" words--faith, family, friendship, freedom, forgiveness. Students of belief or disbelief examine issues of dogma and doubt, grace and good works, suffering and salvation, relativism and reconciliation. Most writers echo Christian perspectives, but some open doors into the riches of world religions. For every assumption, another challenge appears; for every answer, another question surfaces.
4 Credits | Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

465. Issues in Science and Religion — A course that considers from a brief historical perspective the issues between modern science and Christianity, particularly as they relate to the issue of origins. We will survey our current understanding of the origin of the universe, including our galaxy and solar system, by considering the most recent big bang theories and our knowledge of the evolution and formation of stars and the origin of life. On the other hand, we will develop an approach to the Scriptures and examine how they inform us on the creation of the cosmos.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

466. Religion and Politics in the United States — This seminar is designed to explore the fundamental questions involving the proper role of religion in American political life. The course is meant to provoke a careful examination of the relation between faith and politics in each participant's life and with regard to his or her choices and decisions. Participants will be expected to examine, reflect upon, analyze, and articulate their own political beliefs, behavior, and commitments in the context of the Christian faith, though faith commitment is neither required nor assumed of any particular student.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

467. God, Earth, Ethics — In this course we ask questions about God and God's relationship to the earth, about the earth and its well-being, and about our ethical responsibilities as humans to care for the earth. For example, are we in the midst of a growing ecological crisis? If so, why? If creation is groaning, what are the causes? Is religion, and especially the Bible and Christianity, the culprit, as some argue? Why should we care about marmots, sequoias, spotted owls, or old growth forests? And what can and should we do about acid rain, overflowing landfills, holes in the ozone layer, shrinking rainforests, smog?
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

468. Change, Complexity and Christianity — This course explores the rapid changes occurring in our culture, the impact these changes have upon individuals and institutions, and the thinking required to handle these changes. The course emphasizes a wide variety of readings in several fields of study to give an overall awareness of the changes in each discipline. Reaction papers and a life-view paper are required.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

469. Conflict, Peace, Reconciliation — This May Term Senior Seminar experience is an experiential opportunity to explore your faith, the intersection of faith and social justice, your values and identity, and knowledge of peace-building and conflict transformation. Scotland and Northern Ireland afford us the opportunity to learn about conflict, peace-building and reconciliation through a life-changing study/travel experience in faith, communication, and community, living for a week in the Abbey of the Scottish Iona Christian Community and learning about The Troubles in Northern Ireland through the work of Corrmeela (ecumenical Christian peace and reconciliation center), the East Belfast Mission (Methodist), and Clonard's Monastery. We will explore the role of the arts, communication, religion, and policy of reconciliation. We will meet former IRA bomb-makers and Ulster paramilitaries. We will visit the Belfast barricades, former prisons, and museums, as well as the Highlands of Scotland and the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin. By understanding the centuries-long histories of social, ethnic, sectarian, and political conflict that has shaped these nations, as well as the efforts to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation, this Senior May Term will address the broad themes of community in faith, peace building, intergroup dialogue, and Celtic culture and history. As a student in this course, you will develop a research question, video-interview experts and witnesses of conflict and peace-building during our travels in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and incorporate interview excerpts into a Life View Video Short that develops your thinking about who you are, what values motivate and define you, and how you will pursue the intersections of faith, social justice and reconciliation in your future.
4 Credits | Summer

471. Dying, Healing and Thriving: Seeking the Good Life — How do we best deal with disappointment, setback, and suffering on the way to the "good life"? How do we lead robust lives in the shadow of death? Based on literature, film, and student contributions, this seminar explores how people of faith have understood and experienced dying, healing, and thriving.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

472. Christianity and the Marketplace — It becomes clearer every day that the problems facing the American economy and American businesses have significant moral and ethical implications. This course will examine how the Christian religion can contribute to an understanding of these problems. Beginning by building a framework to examine the relation between the biblical message and economic activity, the course will then move to examining specific issues, including poverty, ethics in the workplace, the nature and meaning of labor, and the environment.
4 Credits | Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

473. Exploring Faith and Calling — This seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach to the related issues of Christian belief and calling – both in terms of faith and career. Readings and discussions are intended to give students the freedom to explore questions about belief and vocation as they see others sorting out belief and truth issues and juxtaposing these with vocation and calling.
4 Credits | Spring, Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

474. Sports and Ethics — This course uses sport as a vehicle to examine significant ethical issues in our world today. Current issues involving sport and ethics will be incorporated into the class discussion as they unfold. Race relations, drug use, violence, HIV/AIDS, religion, gender issues, role models/heroes, and issues concerning athlete income are just some of the topics that will be covered. Engagement in classroom discussions, classroom debates and a life-view paper are required.
4 Credits | Spring | Senior Seminar (SRS)

475. Christian Imagination in C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien — This seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach to studying the differing ways C.S. Lewis and his close friend J.R.R. Tolkien employed imagination to develop Christian themes in their literary works. It will examine what Lewis and Tolkien say about imagination and how they use it in their own works, especially in their use of fantasy writing. At the heart of the course will be Lewis’s spiritual autobiography Surprised by Joy, which provides an excellent model for the kind of “life values” paper students will write at the end of the course.
4 Credits | Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

476. From Facebook to Faces — This course will examine the many ways we connect with one another and create community-face to face and online. During spring semester, we will critique our consumer society, consider ways to reweave the social fabric when it has worn thin, and reflect on the possibilities of virtual community. In May, we will travel to and throughout the northern U.K. to learn about different types of communities there, such as football, the arts, and the Anglican parish. Liverpool Hope University will be our home base, as we meet in seminar with international students, and create our own blogs to record and reflect on our learning about community. Readings, discussion, blog creation, and a world-and-life-view paper will provide a framework for reflecting on where you live (geographically and virtually) and what you live for.
4 Credits | Summer

477. Human Rights and Human Wrongs — The content of this course will focus on "Human Rights and Human Wrongs" as they manifest themselves internationally, nationally and at the individual level. Students will be challenged to consider their values, ideas and beliefs from a religious, philosophical, political, economic and ethical perspectives as they intersect with the notion of rights and wrongs. As they reflect, articulate and concretize their opinions, students will be discussing, reflecting openly and sensitively, engaged in peer learning and communicating with me regarding a myriad of issues related to the notion of human rights and wrongs. Every student will be responsible for a class presentation and a "life view" paper that articulates in a coherent and disciplined manner their views on this subject as it developed and became increasingly sophisticated in their years at Hope College "in the context of the historic Christian faith" and as it prepares them for "lives of leadership and service in a global society."
4 Credits | Fall | Senior Seminar (SRS)

478. Life Together — This seminar will begin with basic questions of what it means to be part of a community, especially in the context of a Christian liberal arts college such as Hope College. We will start by reading the work of Shane Claiborne, a graduate of a Christian liberal arts institution himself, currently living in a community called "The Simple Way" in the heart of Philadelphia. From contemplating notions of a faith-based community (or communities), we will go on to tackle the ever-present problem of "race, racism, and racialization" and its role in fracturing or creating certain norms within community/communities that we will critically analyse and reflect. Here we will be reading texts by Beverly Daniel Tatum to help define race and think through race identity development, along with the work of Amy Eshleman, (and her colleagues: Jean Halley, Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya), a Hope College graduate herself, to think through patterns of "whiteness" as a racial identity and its implications for learning, community, and the academic context. We will then read a range of authors, topics, and textual genres to reflect on similar issues of faith, learning, race, and community, ranging from Native American, African American, Latina/o American, Asian American and Anglo American topics and authors, and fictional, biographical, and even legal non-fictional work. Finally, we'll come full circle by reading Claiborne again to reflect on the semester and your four years at Hope as a whole - and beyond.
4 Credits | Fall | Senior Seminar (SRS)

479. Making Good on Your Dreams — Backpacking across Europe. Signing on for an extended service project. Getting accepted by your top choice of grad schools. Interviewing for your dream job. Establishing a relationship with a significant other. Growing in your knowledge of yourself and your world. As you think about college and about graduating from college, what do you imagine to be your absolutely top-notch, sparkling, over-the-top, utopian experience? In this class, we'll think about the ways we define our perfect worlds on several levels: personal, political, and global. We'll talk about our responsibilites in shaping, in making this utopian adventure, and we'll examine what our ideas of "the perfect world" mean within the context of the Christian faith. We'll consider how we respond when the world we live in doesn't meet our expectations. (Not just "why do bad things happen to good people," but why do bad things sometimes happen to me and how do I deal with them?) We'll read some great writing by others who have dreamed of what a perfect world might look like- and by some who are scary-good at pointing out the challenges to such idealizations. Energetic class discussion will be our goal. Disagreement and rebellion will be encouraged. Writing assignments will include reading responses and short essays which will culminate in the Senior Seminar "Life View" paper.
4 Credits | Fall | Global Learning Domestic (GLD), Senior Seminar (SRS)

481. Values in Transit — Students in this values-oriented course will listen to and question the philosophies and life choices articulated by daily speakers from Austria and other countries. Distinguished artists, business people, clergy, environmentalists, musicians, politicians, psychologists, teachers, and World War II veterans and victims share their life stories. Students will read books, interact with the speakers and each other, write response papers and journals, and formulate their personal views for a "Philosophy of Life" paper.
4 Credits | Summer

495. Unassigned Senior Seminar — Topics of varying content, considered from a Christian perspective, and requiring a capstone position paper. An approved Senior Seminar to which no other specific catalog listing has been assigned. Recent examples include: Christianity and the Market Place, Faith Facing Pluralism, Ethical Issues in Sport.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring, Summer | Senior Seminar (SRS)

  • Arendshorst, Dr. ThomasHope CollegeSociology and Social Work DepartmentInterdisciplinary StudiesPeace and Justice

    VanZoeren Hall 41 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423


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  • Bohle, ChristopherHope CollegeStudent DevelopmentCenter for LeadershipInterdisciplinary StudiesStudent Life

    Bultman Student Center 115 East 12th Street - Office 107 E Holland, MI 49423-3607


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  • Dobbins, MarikayHope CollegeRegistrar's OfficeInterdisciplinary Studies

    DeWitt Floor 1 141 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423


  • Folkert, EvaHope CollegeKinesiology DepartmentInterdisciplinary Studies

    DeVos Fieldhouse 222 Fairbanks Avenue Holland, MI 49423-3735


  • Gruenler, Dr. CurtisHope CollegeEnglish DepartmentGeneral EducationInterdisciplinary Studies

    Lubbers Hall-Room 304 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423-3516


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  • Hagood, Dr. JonathanHope CollegeHistory DepartmentGeneral EducationInterdisciplinary Studies

    Lubbers Hall-Room 326 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423-3516


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  • White, Dr. RyanHope CollegeRegistrar's OfficeGeneral EducationInterdisciplinary Studies

    DeWitt Floor 1 141 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423-3698