Dr. Debra Swanson

Retired Faculty
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Debra Swanson joined the Hope College Sociology and Social Work faculty in fall 1989. She primarily teaches introduction to sociology, Cultural Anthropology and upper-level courses in stratification (Race and Ethnic Relations, Sociology of Gender) and Social Movements. She also enjoys teaching a First Year Seminar on urban design for pedestrians, usually called the walking class.

Areas of Interest

  • The social construction of mothering: Research on how a woman's choice to stay home or be employed outside the home impacts her parenting
  • Teaching and learning
  • Inter-group dialogue: Using dialogue techniques to improve classroom critical discussions in order to promote understanding
  • Social movements: The impact of professionalization on grassroots social movements


  • Ph.D., sociology, Catholic University of America, 1995
  • M.A., sociology, Catholic University of America, 1988
  • B.A., major in sociology and minor in English, Hope College, 1983

Honors and Awards

  • Elected president of the North Central Sociological Association, 2016-2017
  • Recipient of the Michigan Campus Compact Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, 2014
  • Recipient of the Premier Mentor Award, given for mentoring and providing a positive role model for young people, for Ottawa County from the State of Michigan for work with Total Trek Quest, 2013
  • Winner of the Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Award, for members of the Hope College faculty who are superior teachers and have also contributed significantly in some other area of professional life, 2009
  • Winner of the John F. Schnabel Distinguished Contribution to Teaching Award, North Central Sociological Association, 2008
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Dr. Debra Swanson

Phone Number616.395.7555

Retired Faculty
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