The members of the incoming Class of 2021 won’t be the only new additions at Hope College when they arrive beginning Friday, Aug. 25, for the college’s 156th academic year. They’ll be joining new college leadership and the newly opened Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center.
The new year will be the first in the two-year interim presidency of the Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil. A retired president of Western Theological Seminary and formerly a long-time member of the Hope religion faculty, Voskuil took office on August 1, succeeding Dr. John C. Knapp, who resigned to become president of Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.
Also new is Dr. Cady Short-Thompson, who became Hope’s provost and a professor of communication at the college at the beginning of August after previously serving as dean of Blue Ash College of the University of Cincinnati system. Short-Thompson will be the featured speaker during the college’s traditional Opening Convocation, which formally begins the academic year, on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 2 p.m. in the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse. The public is invited, and admission is free.
The 42,000-square-foot Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center in the central campus, which is opening for the new school year, has already been playing a behind-the-scenes role on behalf of the incoming class. Although finishing work has been continuing across the summer, the three offices that are housed in the building — Diversity and Inclusion, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Student Life — moved in early. Student Life includes the team of students who organize the college’s orientation. The facility is also hosting training activities for the orientation assistants and will serve as the information center for new families across the opening weekend.
Also completed for the start of the new school year are two townhouse-style apartment buildings that will house eight students each, added to the college’s Cook Village on Lincoln Avenue between 11th and 12th streets.
Residence halls for new students will open on Friday, Aug. 25, at 10 a.m., with New Student Orientation beginning later that day and continuing through Monday, Aug. 28. Residence halls for returning students will open on Sunday, Aug. 27, at noon. Fall semester classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 8 a.m.
Convocation speaker Short-Thompson is excited to be a member of the Hope community and to help continue the college’s traditions of excellence in a rigorous and engaging liberal arts education strongly grounded in the Christian faith. As the daughter of a United Methodist minister and a former church youth group director herself, she prizes the opportunity to combine her lifelong Christian faith with her passions for scholarly teaching and inclusive, student-centered leadership in higher education at Hope.
Her leadership responsibilities as dean at Blue Ash College, where she had served since 2010, were comparable to that of both president and chief academic officer at Hope. She also held appointments as a professor of communication and affiliate professor of political science.
Her service at UC Blue Ash College ranged from increasing emphasis on experiential education via internships, service-learning, off-campus study and collaborative faculty-student research; to leading and managing the faculty and staff; to guiding development of new academic programs and review of existing programs; to overseeing facilities planning and renovation; to fundraising and managing the college’s budget; to building public-engagement programs such as partnerships with area schools. She served on numerous university system-wide boards and committees, including chairing the Diversity Council, Presidential Task Force on Title IX Administration and Council of Deans.
Prior to becoming dean at UC Blue Ash College, she was an award-winning communication professor at Northern Kentucky University for 13 years, serving as graduate program director from 2005 to 2008 and chair of the Department of Communication from 2008 to 2010.
Short-Thompson’s scholarship includes multiple articles published in refereed professional journals and book chapters. She has also made numerous presentations at national conferences.
During 2014-15, she was one of only 24 fellows named to the inaugural cohort of the year-long Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership. She has also received honors including a 2016 Women of Influence Award from Venue Media of Greater Cincinnati, a 2015 Distinguished Staff Award from the University of Cincinnati Foundation, recognition by the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati in 2014 as a Woman of the Year finalist in the Nonprofit Organization Category and being named 2004 City of Wyoming (Ohio) Citizen of the Year.
Short-Thompson graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1991, and completed her master’s degree in communication and an interdisciplinary doctorate in political communication at the university in 1992 and 1997 respectively.
The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.