Dr. Deborah Van DuinenDr. Deborah Van Duinen

Hope College is anticipating the largest incoming class in its history as the college’s 161st academic year approaches.

Although the enrollment numbers don’t become official until mid-September, 950 first-time students are currently registered for the forthcoming fall semester.  The previous record was 904 in the fall of 2012, and there were 848 last fall.  The college is anticipating overall enrollment above 3,200, which won’t top the record of 3,433 set in the fall of 2014 but would exceed the 3,133 of last year.  Hope’s overall enrollment also increased last fall and in the fall of 2020.

The members of the newly matriculated Class of 2026 will arrive on Friday, Aug. 26, for the start of New Student Orientation that evening.  The rest of the students will begin to return on Sunday, Aug. 28.  Fall semester classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

The incoming class will include the 36 members of the second cohort on campus through the “Hope Forward” initiative, following last fall’s inaugural cohort of 21.  Through “Hope Forward,” the college seeks ultimately to fully fund all students’ tuition up front, enabling them to pursue positive impact rather than chase income to pay off student loan debt.  Graduates will then be asked to contribute to the college to support those who follow them.  While fundraising for “Hope Forward” is ongoing, the college has in the meantime launched the “Anchored Tuition Pledge,” guaranteeing that all full-time students’ tuition will remain at the starting rate for the duration of their time at Hope.

The Opening Convocation marking the official beginning of the school year will take place on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse with featured speaker Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, who is the Arnold and Esther Sonneveldt Associate Professor of Education and founding director of the Hope College NEA Big Read Lakeshore and Little Read Lakeshore, and will present “Invitation to Hope: Knowing, Doing, Being.”  The public is invited to the convocation, and admission is free.

Van Duinen writes and teaches in the area of English education, adolescent literacy and young adult literature. In her work with preservice teachers, she emphasizes inquiry-based teaching and reflective practices.

She joined the Hope faculty in 2010 and was appointed to her endowed professorship in 2021.  She serves as Hope College’s Senior Seminar director, leads the secondary education program in the Department of Education and for the past two years has also been the faculty moderator.

Van Duinen is the founding director of the NEA Big Read Lakeshore and Little Read Lakeshore programs.  The programs bring the community together around a common book for a month each fall, using the shared experience of reading, discussing and exploring the themes of the book as a springboard to listen to and learn from each other.  The NEA Big Read Lakeshore has received a grant from the national NEA Big Read every year since 2014, and the Little Read Lakeshore has received a grant from Michigan Humanities every year since 2019.  This past May, the two programs were named the Statewide Community Impact Partner of the Year for 2021 by Michigan Humanities.  More information about this year’s programming, which will run in October and November, is available at bigreadlakeshore.com

Van Duinen received the 2016 Michigan Reading Association's Individual Literacy Award for her leadership with the Big Read and with English education. In 2013, Hope presented her with its Towsley Research Scholar award.

She frequently collaborates with English education students and area English high school teachers on research projects and conference presentations.  Her current research project, “Supporting PK-5 Students’ Bilingual Learning and Development Through Translating Pedagogies,” is a year-long professional development opportunity for 25 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers in the Holland area.  The program, which she is leading with Hope education colleague Dr. Mihyun Han in cooperation with the local schools, is supported through a sub-grant from the “There’s No Place Like Home: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Community-Based Partnerships Presidential Initiative of Hope College and Holland, Michigan.”

Van Duinen has been on the board of editors for Reformed Journal since 2012 and serves on the boards of Ready for School and Opportunity Thrive. She is also a member of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English Executive Committee.  A 1998 graduate of Calvin University, she taught high school English for five years before pursuing her master’s at Calvin and her doctorate at Michigan State University.