Critical Issues Symposium #HopeCIS



More information about

Hope college CIS

Frequently Asked Questions

about CIS

Is there any cost to attend CIS?
There is no cost or registration necessary.

Who may attend CIS?
CIS is open to the entire community. Anyone with an interest in the topic being discussed is welcome to attend all or part of CIS.

How are CIS topics chosen?
Each year the President of Hope College appoints a CIS committee which, after consultation with students, faculty, and staff, selects the topic for the next symposium. Ideas are solicited from the entire Hope community.

How can I get involved in CIS?
Students, staff, and faculty can get involved by serving on the CIS committee, and by actively participating in CIS sessions. Community members may also volunteer to help with CIS, which counts on volunteers for everything from airport shuttles to introducing speakers. If you are interested contact Associate Provost Alfredo Gonzales (




For nearly 30 years the Critical Issues Symposium (CIS) has been an integral part of the Hope College academic landscape.

A committee of faculty, staff, and students, in consultation with the president, selects one topic to focus on each year.

The Critical Issues Symposium, first held in March of 1980, was established by Dr. Gordon Van Wylen, former president of Hope College. The symposium has become a modern tradition designed to stimulate serious thinking about current issues, and to provide a forum in which the Holland community, students, and faculty may all engage in discussion with experts. The mission of a liberal arts college such as Hope includes a commitment to provide information to its community of students and scholars, to promote social responsibility, and to encourage moral discourse. We hope the CIS contributes to that mission.

Each year a CIS committee which, after consultation with students, faculty, and staff, selects the topic for the next symposium. During its planning, the committee is challenged to include appropriate breadth and depth in order to stimulate the interests of a diverse audience and facilitate maximum participation in the symposium. Past topics include: "The Middle East," "World Hunger," "The Family," "Energy," "Civil Rights," "The Quest for Justice: Christian Voices," "Lifeboat Earth: Decisions for Tomorrow," "The Columbus Legacy, 1492-1992," "Race and Social Change in America," "What Future is in our Genes: Freedom from Disease, Good Investment, Manufactured Humans?," "Sport and American Life," and "Feminism and Faith: Implications for Life," "Gold Rush and Ghost Towns: Living with the Internet," and "Earth Matters: Daily Decisions, Environmental Echoes."

All CIS events are free and open to the public.

Hope College takes this academic endeavor seriously enough to cancel daytime classes on one day in the school year in order to allow the campus community to fully participate in examining the topic at hand. CIS has sponsored international leaders in a variety of fields, but also calls on the resources of the West Michigan and Hope College communities to provide input on our discussions.

Please note: Day time classes are cancelled for the 2nd day of CIS but evening classes proceed as normal.

Feel free to contact us with any

Questions or Comments

Alfredo M. Gonzales
Associate Provost, Dean for International and Multicultural Education, and CIS Co-Chair
616.395.7080 Twitter image@DeanGlobalHope

Derek Emerson
Director of Public Affairs and Events, and CIS Co-Chair
616.395.7893 Twitter image@demerson19

CIS 2016 Fall Planning Committee
Faith Benoit (Student)
Christin Bothe (Student)
Dennis Feaster (Sociology and Social Work)
Karl Heusinkveld (Student)
Jasmine Lowell (Staff)
Pablo Peschiera (English)
David Phillips (Economics Management & Accounting)
James Rogers (Student)
Temple Smith (Sociology and Social Work)
Deb Van Duinen (Education)
Todd Wiebe (Van Wylen Library)