Dr. Deirdre Johnston

Retired Faculty
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Since joining the Hope College faculty in 1994, Dr. Deirdre Johnston has served as director of assessment, faculty moderator and in a variety of roles that reflect her commitment to diversity initiatives. She led the development of Hope’s Peace and Justice Studies minor and helped develop the curriculum of the American Ethnic Studies minor and the Women’s and Gender Studies major and minor. From 2003 through 2010, she chaired the Department of Communication.

Deirdre teaches courses including Intergroup Dialogue and Intercultural Communication. She leads Hope College study-abroad courses in Japan, Northern Ireland, Scotland and South Africa. In 2018 she launched an off-campus summer course that brings Hope students to South Africa, together with students from Slovakia and Pakistan, to conduct oral history interviews about people’s apartheid and post-apartheid experiences.

Areas of expertise

As a scholar, Deirdre has focused on intercultural and interpersonal communication, persuasion, the effects of mass media and motherhood. Her current research is in the areas of global communication, cross-cultural happiness, and assessment of globally-connected courses and their impact on the students involved. Her research on work-family balance was twice among the finalists for the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for the top work-family research article published in one of 74 international English-language journals.

Diversity education and global education are among Deirdre’s other areas of expertise. She co-created and co-leads a faculty development program focused on diversity education and intergroup dialogue. 

View Deirdre's curriculum vitae.


  • Ph.D., communication, University of Iowa
  • M.A., journalism, University of Texas

Grants and Honors

  • Oral History in the Liberal Arts grant to conduct student-faculty oral history research project in South Africa, Oral History in the Liberal Arts Association, 2018
  • Global Crossroads Innovations grant, Great Lakes College Association (made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), 2017
  • Motoichiro Oghimi Global Courage Award, Hope College, 2016
  • Global Liberal Arts Alliance Endeavor grant with Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts and American University of Beirut to develop globally conjoined course on peace and justice with study-tour component in South Africa, Great Lakes College Association (made possible by a grant from the Endeavor Foundation), 2014
  • Completed year-long Council of Independent Colleges Senior Leadership Academy, 2011-12

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • “Student Impact of Globally Connected Courses,” presentation with Irene Lopez to the American Association of Colleges and Universities Global Engagement conference, 2018
  • “Gen-narrations: Transition and Justice through the Eyes of Three Generations in South Africa,” presentation with D. Kusa to the Conflict Research Society annual conference, 2017
  • “Growing Global Citizens in Homogeneous Soil,” presentation to the American Association of Colleges and Universities annual conference, 2017
  • “Global Exposure and Global Perceptions: A Cross- Cultural Comparison of Students in China, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the USA,” Intercultural Communication Studies, 2015
  • Research Methods for Everyday Life, with Scott W. VanderStoep, Jossey-Bass, 2009
  • The Art & Science of Persuasion, McGraw Hill, 1993

Outside the college

Deirdre conducts trainings in intergroup dialog, civil discourse and conflict mediation for other colleges and universities. She also serves on the Reformed Church of America’s Commission for Women.

In her spare time, she enjoys exploring international locales, dancing the tango, walking the beach and reading in coffee shops.

Profile photo of Dr. Deirdre Johnston
Dr. Deirdre Johnston

Phone Number616.395.7594

Retired Faculty
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