Lights, camera… faculty

KenBrownOnCameraHad you walked into Dr. Ken Brown’s lab early yesterday morning, you would have been witness to this scene: Dr. Brown on camera, enthusiastically sharing his experience as an A. Paul Schaap Research Fellow.

It is always great to hear our faculty express such passion for their work (whether they’re on camera or not!). Every day, that work includes scholarly engagement and one-on-one collaborative research with students.

Recently featured on Hope’s homepage was a story about Dr. Brown, professor of chemistry. After reading it, you’ll understand the depth of collaborative interaction between Hope faculty and their students. You’ll also understand why, to Dr. Brown, it was important that “he never had to choose between research and teaching.”

In the story, Dr. Brown reflects on the instruments in his lab. “The equipment that we have is very impressive, even when you compare it to major research institutions,” he says. “But when you consider small schools like Hope, the amount of research that goes on and the equipment that we have far exceeds other schools, which makes student hands-on training even more feasible.”

As critical as they are to scholarship, sophisticated lab instruments do not singularly define Hope College as a community of scholars. And, well-equipped academic facilities alone have not made Hope a recognized leader in undergraduate research. At the heart of our students’ academic experience are the people — including dedicated professors like Dr. Brown.

Kruizenga Art Museum: A Tool for Teaching

The Kruizenga Art Museum at night

If you’ve noticed a little electricity in the air on campus lately, it may be the excitement around the opening of Hope’s Kruizenga Art Museum. Our new museum enhances the role of the college’s permanent collection as a teaching tool. Designed by architect and Hope alumnus Matthew Vander Borgh ’84 of C Concept Design, the building provides space and resources to conduct scholarship using artwork from around the world.

The latest issue of News from Hope College included the article “Global Scope, Lasting Impact,” which describes the academic mission of the the Kruizenga Art Museum.

From the article:

Vase with Eight Daoist Immortals; Chinese, 19th century; porcelain, enamels; Gift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton

[Margaret Feldmann Kruizenga Curator of the Kruizenga Art Museum Charles] Mason is eager to see the museum connect with departments in every academic division — not only the arts, but also the humanities, natural and applied sciences, and social sciences — to find ways that the objects, their history and their context can enrich the experience of students campus-wide. One themed exhibition, for example, might include a concert featuring music from the tradition represented. Another might compare and contrast Tibetan and European monastic traditions.

“Our goal for the first year is to show the breadth and overall quality of the collection, to give people a sense of the range of material that we have in the collection and how it could potentially be used to support a wide range of academic disciplines,” Mason said. “So it’s to some extent going to be a kind of ‘greatest hits’ of the Permanent Collection, but with an eye toward having pieces out that we can use to begin conversations with faculty and students from different academic departments across campus about ways that we could integrate the museum into teaching and learning.

Abuna Gebre Manfes Qeddus; Gabra Sellase Abadi Walda Maryam (Ethiopian, ?-early 1980s), c. 1971-72; paper (cardboard), pigment, ribbon, thread; Gift of Neal Sobania ’68

Though it was created with students and scholars in mind, the museum is open to all. Come visit! In the meantime, check out this recent media coverage about the Kruizenga Art Museum:

Museum director Charles Mason talks about the new Kruizenga Art Museum at Hope College (, Aug. 31, 2015)

Art seldom seen opens at Hope College’s Kruizenga Art Museum (, Sept. 11, 2015)

See how Hope College’s new, $5M art museum makes a statement (, Sept. 7, 2015)

So you want to start a college art museum… (, Sept. 10, 2015)

Project Gallery: Kruizenga Art Museum (Architect Magazine, Sept. 15, 2015 )

A Lifetime of Dancing

DeBruynMaxineMention the Hope College Dance Department to a dancer, dance educator or dance enthusiast, and it’s not long before the conversation turns to Maxine DeBruyn. The two, it seems, are synonymous.

After all, Ms. DeBruyn — “Maxine” to the Hope community, and “Max” to those who know her well — has spent a 50-year career at Hope College, where she grew the dance program from a single course to an academic department to an academic major. Today, the program — accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance for three decades — is one of only 250 arts programs of all types nationwide highlighted in the book “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers.”

Here at Hope, we know what a tremendous difference Maxine has made to generations of dancers. So, you can imagine how excited we were to learn that the National Dance Education Organization will be presenting Maxine with its most prestigious honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, for her contributions to dance education locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

As a professor, Maxine served the campus community as department chair, teacher, choreographer, cheerleading coach and student group adviser. She retired in 2006, but slowing down wasn’t her style. Even in retirement, she has continued to inspire us by teaching dance classes at Hope.

Maxine DeBruyn in 1968, early in a career dedicated to preparing generations of dancers
Maxine DeBruyn in 1968, early in her decades-long tenure at Hope College, where she has educated generations of dancers

You can learn more about Maxine’s career and her Lifetime Achievement Award by reading the recent news release from Hope College.

Congratulations on this honor, Maxine! It makes us want to — what else? — dance with joy.

Maxine DeBruyn is the Dorothy Wiley DeLong Professor Emerita of Dance in the Dance Department at Hope College.

Let’s Talk About Hope

10-048 NCSDO Hope - 2010 College CampusStep foot on campus, and it’s not long before you realize that Hope College is the kind of place that changes lives.

Hope comes alive in our vibrant Christian atmosphere and our focus on the holistic development of each student. It inspires through our nationally accredited fine arts programs and our championship athletics. It challenges and emboldens with our distinctive academic rigor and our commitment to the highest levels of scholarship.

At Hope College, we believe in the depth of our academic curriculum. It’s challenging and highly collaborative, with deep roots in the liberal arts tradition enhanced by a rich heritage of graduate school-style research in every field of study.

We believe in our faculty, too. These active, engaged scholars are dedicated to teaching — and to encouraging the intellectual excitement essential to a lifetime of learning. Together with our caring staff, Hope professors are committed to the success of each and every student, helping them to think about life’s most important issues with clarity and wisdom.

In today’s world — a world where diverse human communities call out for innovation and interconnection — Hope matters. This blog, Hope Matters, will be a space for the college to share exciting stories of scholarship and research conducted by members of the Hope community. Whether in a laboratory, in the field or in the studio, the work of Hope College is transformational and inspirational. We’ll showcase it here.