Dr. Lee Forester

Professor of German
Profile photo of Dr. Lee Forester

Lee Forester teaches all levels of German at Hope and occasionally teaches first year seminars, senior seminars, and forays into linguistics and Icelandic.

His main academic contribution outside the department is his leading role in creating a new type of language textbook based much more extensively on culture. Currently there are four titles: Auf geht's! (beginning German), Weiter geht's! (intermediate German), Ritmos (beginning Spanish) and Rostros (intermediate Spanish). These texts are used in more than 100 institutions across the US and Canada.

Dr. Forester began teaching at Hope College in 1992 after completing his graduate studies with two years in Vienna, teaching and conducting research on a Fulbright fellowship.

Areas of Expertise

  • Historical Germanic linguistics — the development of the Germanic languages including Gothic, Icelandic, Old English, Old Low Franconian, Old High German and their more modern forms
  • Computer-assisted language learning
  • Task-based instructional design


  • Ph.D., Germanic linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, 1992
  • M.A., Germanic linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, 1986
  • B.A., German, University of California, Berkeley, 1984

Honors, Grants and Awards

  • DAAD GAIST grant (€18,000), 2003–2006
  • Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education grant for Auf geht's! ($495,870), 2001–2004
  • Ameritech Distance Collaboration Grant ($50,000), 1998–1999
  • Fulbright Research Fellowship, Vienna 1990–1992
  • Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellowships, University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies: Serbo-Croatian 1988–89, Russian 1986–87
  • International Research & Exchanges Board Slavonic Studies fellowship, Bulgaria, 1986

Selected Presentations

  • “Intercultural Competence and Transformative Learning in the Language Classroom,” American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) annual meeting, 2019
  • “Teaching Culture that Builds Context, AATSP annual meeting, 2017
  • “Value-added Curricular Innovation for the Language Requirement,” keynote address at From Crisis Management to Innovation world languages conference, Simpson College (Iowa), 2015
  • “Rethinking Beginning Spanish,” keynote presentation at AATSP Southern California spring meeting, 2014
  • “The Risks of Language Teaching and Language Learning in the Undergraduate Curriculum,” Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium, 2013
  • “Content-Driven Instruction in Beginning and Intermediate Language Courses,” Council of Independent Colleges Conference on Teaching World Languages, 2011

Selected Publications

Outside the College

When not working, Dr. Forester spends his time running (he has completed five marathons so far), reading detective fiction in whatever language he happens to be learning at the moment, and developing and designing board games. He has published two games dealing with military conflicts: Semper Fi (USMC in Korea) and Day of Days (Allied invasion of Normandy in WWII).

He also teaches adult Sunday classes at his church, paints miniature figures, dabbles in flatpick guitar when he can fit it in and argues about current events, politics, stupid memes and Japanese anime with his wife and three sons.

Profile photo of Dr. Lee Forester
Dr. Lee Forester

Phone Number616.395.7567

Martha Miller Center 218 257 Columbia Avenue Holland, MI 49423-3615
A map showing the location for Dr. Lee Forester Martha Miller Center 218 257 Columbia Avenue Holland MI 49423-3615