Comm’s New Assistant Professors (Part 4): Jennifer Sorek

In Fall 2023, the Hope College Communication Department is celebrating three newly appointed tenure track assistant professors and an assistant professor of communication instruction!

Join us for an interview with our newly appointed Assistant Professor of Communication Instruction, Professor Jennifer Sorek.

Professor Sorek joins Hope College with extensive experience in communicating Public Health from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Hope College is lucky to have her in the Communication Department where she teaches introductory courses in communication and Comm 140: Public Presentations.

Her resent research, “Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response After COVID-19,” analyzes communication strategies that help communities respond to public health crises.

What do you want your teaching and research to accomplish in the world?

I would like my teaching to impact the world by uniting with the learner beyond the classroom experience.  I want learners to be challenged with experiences they may face in the corporate world.  Simply put, “learning is teaching, and teaching is learning.” The goal is to create an environment for students that challenges them through experiences; where they can try different techniques, explore boundaries, and test out speaking environments. In the area of research, I also hope to continue exploring the area of crisis communication and emergency management, with a focus on the field of public health and healthcare.  I would like my research to offer strategies on how to improve communication through the emergency cycles (preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation).

What ideas/theories are currently the most exciting to you?

I love teaching the theories of persuasion, like Social Judgment Theory and Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.  These theories stimulate our thought process by challenging us to critically think and consider our audience from differing perspectives.  I enjoy working with students to help them see that persuasion is a process that may occur over time and in stages (incremental persuasion).

Hope College is famous for its “Pull” tradition in which a team of Firstyear students compete with a team of Sophomore students in an enormous, strategic “tug of rope” competition. The teams have “pullers” and “moralers.” The pullers lie down in separate pits and pull on the rope, the moralers coordinate with one another and–sitting beside their puller– tell the puller when to pull extra hard! Would you rather be a puller or a moraler?

Honestly, with my competitive spirit, either would make me happy.  Recognizing the team approach I would probably do best in the role of a moraler.  My human nature is that of one to assist others; ensuring they have what is needed to succeed.  Observing for obstacles, encouraging them through struggles, and boosting them up or even pushing them if needed.

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