/ Provost's Office

Sabbatical Summaries

Welcome back to our faculty returning from sabbatical or leave of absence!

Beth Anderson, Chemistry

Beth AndersonBeth Anderson, associate professor of chemistry, spent much of her 2016–2017 sabbatical as a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. During this time, she worked with the Weiss research group that investigates nanoscience for applications in a wide range of fields from lithography to cancer treatment. While there, she initiated a new research collaboration with the Dunn lab to investigate battery applications incorporating the metal-organic framework films that her group at Hope has been studying. Back in Michigan, she was able to further establish her collaboration with the Morelli group at MSU, publishing their first paper together on thermoelectric nanomaterials, which can convert waste heat into usable electricity. One of her goals for sabbatical was to avoid the Michigan winter and she’s happy to report that she spent time each weekend of Jan–April in sunny SoCal at the beach. A highlight of her time was the cross-country trek to and from Cali, visiting over a dozen national parks along the way.

By the numbers… she presented her work 6 times with 3 talks at national meetings and 3 seminars at universities in California; submitted 4 research papers (3 regarding Hope research with 11 undergraduate coauthors and 1 regarding UCLA work — 3 of these 4 are currently accepted with the 4th still out for review); and wrote an NSF proposal with Ben Kopek in the biology department at Hope to obtain a field emission scanning electron microscopy that would support research across 5 departments in NASD. Bookending this past academic year, she conducted summer research in 2016 and 2017 with 5 students. Now, to top off her sabbatical, she’s spending the week before classes at the National American Chemical Society Meeting in D.C. with 4 of her undergraduate researchers, who are presenting their research from those 2 summers.

Isolde Anderson, Communication

Isolde AndersonIsolde Anderson drafted a paper on “Change management in a women’s enterprise organization: Its effect on organizational culture,” using longitudinal data collected during her field studies in Liverpool, U.K., from 2010–2016. She also revised and updated references for Sage’s 8th edition (2018) of Leadership: Theory and practice (by Peter Northouse). She continues to work on developing new teaching resources for the 8th edition of this textbook. In May she traveled to southern Sweden to visit relatives and also to learn more about the country’s environmental policy and practices.

Brian Bodenbender, Geological and Environmental Sciences

Brian BodenbenderBrian Bodenbender spent his spring semester sabbatical working on three projects, representing old, ongoing, and new research. He spent much of his time processing photographic panoramas and extracting data from them to document changes in Lake Michigan sand dunes from 2012 through 2016. This project wraps up six years of student summer research. He is now nearing completion of a manuscript that discusses the methods and results, and measures the relative impact of storms on sand dunes.

To prepare for a new, environmentally focused research area, in February Brian toured four different research labs in New York and Ontario. There he learned best practices for collecting, separating and identifying microplastic pollution in the environment. He followed that up by attending microplastics sessions at the International Association of Great Lakes Research meeting in Detroit. Finally, during the summer he traveled to England and Wales with Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman and two students to continue research on marine coastal sand dunes and associated wetlands with colleagues at Liverpool Hope University and Environment Centre Wales, and to brush up on his right-hand driver's seat, left-hand manual transmission, left side of the road, stone wall-lined one-lane road with two-way traffic, nine-passenger van roundabout driving. His family accompanied him to England and Wales, acquiring a scone addiction that could be cured only by tea, a week in Paris and a chaser of several weeks in Montana and Ohio.

Peter Boumgarden, Economics and Business

Peter BoumgardenOver the 2016–2017 school year, Dr. Peter Boumgarden took his sabbatical as a visiting professor of organizational behavior at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Peter’s sabbatical was focused on three distinct goals:

  1. Generating new research in strategy and organizational behavior
  2. Influencing the practice of management through writing and direct engagement with the business community
  3. Improving the student experience when back at the college through experimenting with a series of pedagogical adjustments

Regarding the first goal, Peter pushed forward a number of pieces on networks and organizational behavior. One piece on network change in response to organizational change is under second review at Journal of Applied Psychology. Peter initiated two new empirical projects with data analysis complete and in the phase of writing up for a fall submission. The first project focused on impact of investor networks on venture capital decision-making and venture development. The second is a project centered around mapping the process of technology transfer from the social sciences to market. In addition to these traditional empirical projects, Peter also penned with colleagues at Olin Business School two practitioner oriented pieces, with one under review at Harvard Business Review, and the other readying for a fall submission. The first of these two practitioner projects has led to a new collaboration with a professor in the Narrative Medicine program at Colombia University. They are currently starting to work toward applying this model of empathetic game theory to a medical context, working to help medical practitioners better capture nuanced psychology data when transferring patients across points of care.

Specific to the goals around shaping the practice of business and adjusting teaching pedagogy, Dr. Boumgarden taught two new courses at Washington University (one a complete new design), and designed and ran two new executive education programs, one at Washington University and the other at the University of Notre Dame. Each of these courses involved experimentation with new pedagogical methods to bring back to his teaching at Hope College. Both courses at Washington University were project/client focused. One course worked in partnership with the KIPP Charter Schools to drive student attendance and improve teacher attrition, one with a healthcare start-up to reduce employee financial burden following high out-of-pocket expenses, and the final with the Internet of Things Team at Google to conceive the future of an interconnected home. Peter also experimented with numerous design thinking methods built into his courses, helping students learn to rapidly prototype theoretical principles from the course and their relevance to organizational and individual design challenges. While at Olin, Dr. Boumgarden was nominated for two undergraduate teaching awards. Outside of his work in the classroom, Dr. Boumgarden worked alongside a healthcare start-up readying for a product launch this fall, helped the strategic planning process of a large automotive supplier and facilitated executive learning for companies across a wide-range of industries (e.g. finance, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, U.S. military etc.).

Tony Donk, Education

Tony DonkTony Donk completed a collaborative research project on digital writing with kindergarten students in a local elementary school setting. Along with his team (a Hope alumni and kindergarten teacher, as well as a Hope student researcher) they focused on analysis of the research data and dissemination of the findings. Indeed, they presented their initial findings in a session called Rock, Paper, Scissors, and iPads: Helping Kindergartners Write and Publish Using Digital Tools at the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) in March. They will also be presenting a session entitled Digital Literacy as a Platform for Student Agency and Helping Children Write and Publish at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference (NCTE) in St. Louis in November. They are also working on a publication for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

Additionally, having a sabbatical leave afforded Tony the time to participate in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., along with two of his sisters — a rare privilege. He and his wife Theresa were also able to take their first vacation without children in 23 years in the Dominican Republic in April. He reports that they discovered they still enjoy each other’s company and are still in love. In short, many professional and personal goals were achieved.

Jane Finn, Education

Jane FinnJane enjoyed this time of rest, reflection and scholarship, and returns to Hope College invigorated and focused on the upcoming semester. She accomplished much that would not have been possible without this special time.


During this time, Jane was able to present at three different conferences, including the Council for Exceptional Children in Michigan and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in Texas.  Some of these presentations included Hope College students as well as colleagues in the education department. Two articles were completed and published. The first article has been published in the Journal of Advances in Education Research, focusing on a quantitative study that distinguished the types of skills needed for individuals with intellectual disabilities to live independently. The second article was a qualitative study regarding the experiential learning encountered by future pastors during their time living in the Friendship House. This manuscript was accepted for publication in the Journal of Research of Christian Education and is pending publication in fall 2017.


In the education department, it is important to establish strategic area partners. Jane visited five different schools (Zeeland West High School, Hamilton Elementary School, Hamilton Middle School, iCademy and Innocademy in Zeeland, and Wyoming Junior High School). Jane established new partnerships and learned more about evidence-based practices, response to intervention at the secondary level, effective team-teaching strategies, and standardized grading and assessments. Jane also collaborated with the Ottawa Intermediate School District concerning how Hope College can assist in informing educational stakeholders about evidence-based practices. For fall 2017, under the guidance of Jane, Hope College teacher candidates will present their evidence-based practices findings on how to teach general education classes in English, social studies, science and math for individuals with high-incident disabilities. The goal is to highlight Hope College teacher candidates’ important evidence-based research and share how to implement these practices into the general education classroom.

Jim Herrick, Communication

Jim HerrickJim Herrick completed revisions on the 6th edition of his textbook, The History and Theory of Rhetoric (Routledge, 2018), and edited the Instructor’s Manual. He also completed revisions on the 6th edition of his other text, Argumentation (Strata, 2018). His main objective, however, was to finish a long project on the rhetoric of human enhancement and transhumanism, and see this book published. That project was finally completed in March, and the book, Visions of Technological Transcendence: Human Enhancement and the Rhetoric of the Future (Parlor Press, 2017), is now out. This work on technological enhancement also prepared a foundation for a new project on the discourse surrounding visions of posthumanity.

Rob Hodson, Music

Rob HodsonRob Hodson spent his sabbatical in Tokyo as a guest of Meiji Gakuin University. He gave lectures in both Tokyo and Yokohama on jazz history, performance, style and jazz's place in 20th- and 21st-century American culture. Tokyo has an incredibly flourishing native jazz scene, which Rob explored thoroughly, visiting many jazz clubs and developing connections with many jazz musicians, laying the groundwork for future Hope jazz ensemble tours to Japan. Rob also spent many hours practicing the piano as well as honing his skills in the Japanese language. Rob and his family also enjoyed spending their days exploring Tokyo, from the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world to the narrowest backstreet alley; from the high-tech wonder of Odaiba to the Buddhist fire-and-taiko-drumming-ceremonies of Fukagawa Fodou temple. As leader of Hope's Japan May Term, Rob looks forward to sharing these and other experiences with other Hope students and faculty in the future.

Jessica Hronchek, Library

Jessica HronchekDuring her spring semester sabbatical, Jessica engaged in an embedded research project with the theatre and dance departments at Hope College, with the goal of studying information need and experience within creative practice. She tracked alongside the spring production of Love and Information, attending rehearsals and production meetings in order to better learn how the library might support production work. She also worked with the Dance43 Faculty Recital, interviewing choreographers and observing rehearsals and composition classes. Many thanks to these two departments for welcoming Jessica into their creative process. She continued her volunteer cataloging efforts with the Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale Database and co-presented on this work with colleagues at the Music Library Association Annual Meeting in Orlando. She also co-presented a poster on “Analyzing Library Marketing and Communication Efforts at Liberal Arts Colleges” with recent Hope graduate Laurel Post at the Michigan Academic Library Association Annual Conference in Grand Rapids.

JungWoo Kim, Music

JungWoo KimDuring his sabbatical leave in the spring 2017, Dr. JungWoo Kim performed as soloist in “Spring Concert” sponsored by Korean United Methodist Churches in Chicago and in Haydn’s "Mass in a Time of War" with Hope College Orchestra and Combined Choir. As choir conductor, he performed “The Passion and The Promise” (Easter cantata) at his own and other churches. He attended the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Summer Workshop held in Boulder, Colorado, judging National Student Auditions 2017 and also actively attended the meetings of Opera Grand Rapids Vocal Competition Committee. In addition, he initiated two projects: creating own vocalist website and preparing the next recital titled, “Songs to My God.”

Dr. Kim was pleased to spend a blessed month with his parents, who visited Holland for the first time, and to start playing tennis. He also experienced how hard house and yard work can be!

Ginny McDonough, Biology
Ginny McDonoughGinny enjoyed a one semester sabbatical working in her lab here at Hope College. She worked on several projects related to her long-term interest in understanding how lipid metabolism is controlled by the diet. For one project, with student collaborators, they isolated several DNA regions that complemented a mutant defective in one step of the regulation process. They have sequenced these regions, and have identified several proteins that control expression of the target gene. They will continue this research in the upcoming academic year. Ginny also initiated a second project that looked at the role of protein-protein interaction in controlling gene expression. This project has gotten off to a great start; having identified several interactions that are dependent on dietary conditions. In addition to the research potential, Ginny also is working to incorporate this project into her Molecular Biology lab, as a class-based research project. A third research project was a collaboration that looked at the effect of a particular mutation on fatty acid metabolism in both mice and yeast. They found that this mutation led to a conserved effect on these distantly related organisms. The research team is quite excited with the implications and look forward to additional research on this gene.
Dianne Portfleet, English

Dianne PortfleetDianne Portfleet’s sabbatical leave consisted of going to Rwanda for a month and interviewing prominent politicians, business leaders who have already invested in Rwanda and business leaders who were there who in the future are investing in Rwanda. She was there when President Paul Kagame was elected for a new term as president in a very peaceful vote.

It was a rewarding and overwhelming experience for several reasons:

  1. The growth in all aspects of Rwandan Culture
  2. The business leaders' recognition of Rwanda as the most stable and non-corrupt African nation
  3. The new five-star hotels and industries that have started in the last two years since she was there

The reconciliation and forgiveness process which is occurring since the genocide in 1994 was encouraging to see as perpetrators and victims or their families were living side by side, worshipping and working together as one people of Rwanda. 

Brian Yost, Library

Brian YostThere were several aspects to Brian’s sabbatical. Primarily, he explored the transition of the traditional integrated library system (ILS) to the modern library service platform (LSP) and the current market landscape of these systems. He also was active in the Michigan Shared System Alliance (MSSA) project which is attempting to negotiate a shared LSP for several Michigan colleges and universities. In addition, he attended the Computers in Libraries conference in Washington, D.C. Finally, he was able to spend more time with his children during his sabbatical, tune-up personal effectiveness skills and pursue wellness activities.