"I hope that students have learned that there are many ways to contribute to serving their local, regional and national communities; and that they gained knowledge and skills needed to help in ways that give them satisfaction." Dr. Susan Hoffmann, 2020.
Teaching and Learning
There are numerous examples of Dr. Hoffmann's, political science professor, students exceeding expectations and succeeding after graduation. Her first Seita Scholar mentee was admitted to law school at the University of Michigan, an undergrad in her "State Response to Financial Crisis" course surpassed applicants with masters degrees to get a position at a financial institution, and a team of four undergrads won the first national iOme competition beating other high ranking institutions. Dr. Hoffmann may think that these students excelled at their own abilities and talents, but it was she who taught them how to hone in on those characteristics and use them to their advantage.
Dr. Hoffmann has a long history of volunteering in local communities around issues of housing and community development. She is an incorporating member of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council; has served on the Gund Foundation's Self-Help Grant Advisory Committee in Cleveland; was on the Plan Commission in the City of Monona, Wisconsin; and in Michigan, she sat on boards of Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services and the St. Joseph Housing Committee. She also used her network of community members to enhance her courses and introduced prominent members of the community to her students. This experiential learning was vital to the success of her students and allowed them to make the connections for internships and future positions. "I enjoyed meeting guest speakers and hearing about what they do in their positions," an undergrad majoring in political science with a public policy concentration.
The WMU Humanities for Everybody program became a reality with her help. She is grateful for the support of Katherine Joslin, founding director of the WMU Center for the Humanities, and enthusiasm from Alex Enyedi, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. While siting on the Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services, a VISTA volunteer, Scalett Rebman, approached the organization's leadership advocating that we somehow start a Clemente-style program of free humanities courses in Kalamazoo, thus the idea for WMU Humanities for Everybody program was born. This represented another way to invite the Kalamazoo community into WMU. The WMU Center for Humanities continues to offer workshops, lectures, and other platforms to the WMU and Kalamazoo community to this day. A legacy that looks to remain for many years to come.
Dr. Hoffmann began her teaching and service to WMU through the School of Public Affairs and Administration and accepted a position in Political Science in 2000. She would direct the Institute for Government and Politics from 2006 to 2012 again bringing guest speakers to department events and creating awareness about housing and other public policy issues. Though she has decided to retire from teaching, she is still very much involved with the WMU community as she continues to sit on undergraduate honors thesis committees, mentors masters students, and participates on doctoral dissertation committees. Join us in congratulating her on her retirement!