Five longtime Hope College faculty to retire

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Five faculty members at a local college will be closing the curtains on their professional academic careers.

Hope College’s Dr. Isolde Anderson, professor of communication; Jean Bahle, assistant professor of theatre; Dr. Edward Hansen, professor of geology and environmental science; and Dr. James Herrick, the Guy VanderJagt Professor of Communication, are retiring at the end of the spring semester. Dr. Roger Nemeth, professor of sociology, retired at the end of the fall semester, but he has continued to work on research projects.

Isolde Anderson

Dr. Isolde Anderson Courtesy Hope College

Anderson has been a faculty member at Hope College for 17 years. Of those 17 years, she spent six years chairing the Department of Communication.

Over the course of her tenure, she focused her research on pastor-parishioner communication, women’s leadership, leadership pedagogy and online social support. Anderson developed the first leadership-theory course (Comm 335) in the curriculum, which became a core course for the college’s leadership minor. Anderson also established the department’s Liverpool May Term, which is now in its seventh year.

She has mentored students in collaborative research and has done multiple peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and instructional materials and numerous presentations for professional conferences during her time at Hope College.

Jean Bahle

Jean Bahle Courtesy Hope College

After 26 years, Bahle will be retiring as an acting instructor. She has taught beginning and advanced acting classes, Play Analysis and Play Writing, Introduction to Theatre and co-taught Musical Theatre Workshop.

She is not only an instructor, but for the past 40 years, Bahle has held the roles of actor, director and writer in West Michigan. She has acted in more than 50 shows while working with Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, Grand Rapids Civic and Circle theatres and Actors’ Theatre. She has directed for Actors’ Theatre, Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Community College, Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, as well as for the Department of Theatre at Hope College. As a playwright, she has been commissioned and has had several plays produced.

Bahle has held workshops in both acting and writing and she continues to do freelance in radio, television, film and audiobooks.

Edward Hansen

Dr. Edward Hansen Courtesy Hope College

Hansen has been teaching at Hope College since 1984, where he chaired the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences from 1995-2001. He focused his research on the history of the southeastern coast of Lake Michigan over the past 5,000 years.

He is collaborating with student researchers to explore the history of the dunes from south Michigan City to north Muskegon with a particular focus on the dune complex in the Holland area.

He has been active in the Council on Undergraduate Research, including as a member of the executive board and as chair of the Geoscience Division. Hansen was president of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters from 2005-07, and he currently is serving as a member at-large on its executive committee and leading the section in the geological sciences. He is the president of the Guild of Scholars of the Episcopal Church.

James Herrick

Dr. James Herrick Courtesy Hope College

For 34 years, Herrick has been working at Hope College, where he focuses on history and theory of rhetoric, argumentation, new spiritual movements and the rhetoric of technology.

He chaired the Department of Communication from 1993-2002 and is an author of several books, including “The Making of the New Spirituality: The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition,” which was named a 2004 “Gold Medallion Book Award Finalist” by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and one of “Ten Books Every Preacher Should Read” by Preaching Magazine. His book “After the Genome: A Language for Our Biotechnical Future” was named Edited Book of the Year by the Communication Ethics Division of the National Communication Association in 2013.

Herrick has served on the editorial boards of “Argumentation and Advocacy” and “The Journal of the Association for Communication Administration,” and he was on the founding editorial boards of the Baylor University Press Rhetoric of Religion Series and the electronic journal “The Review of Communication.”

Roger Nemeth

Dr. Roger Nemeth Courtesy Hope College

After joining Hope College in 1983, Nemeth will officially say his final goodbye.

During his time at Hope College, he served as the first director of the college’s Frost Research Center, chaired the Department of Sociology and Social Work, and was an exchange professor with Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan.

He taught courses, including social-research methods, environmental sociology and urban sociology, and he has led student study-abroad programs to Japan, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Romania and South Africa.

Nemeth’s research interests included comparative and historical sociology, the sociology of religion, environmental sociology and urban sociology.

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