Doug Koopman

Doug Koopman


After graduating magna cum laude from Hope College in 1979 with degree in mathematics, Professor Koopman moved to Washington, D.C. where he earned a Masters of Theological Studies at Wesley Theological Seminary in 1984. He then went on to study at the Catholic University of America, receiving a PhD in American government in 1992.

His academic specialties are American political institutions and religion in American politics. Koopman joined the Calvin faculty in 1995 after fifteen years working in national politics. He has interrupted his academic work at times for assignments in politics, government, and higher education leadership.


Koopman has co-authored two college texts – Understanding American Politics (University of Toronto, 2013) and Religion and American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (Pearson/Longman, 2010) – and other books and articles tracing the history of the federal faith-based initiative.  Koopman also writes about how to integrate Christian faith and public life in practice, and in his role as a professor helps students to do the same as they explore American politics and their own callings and careers. 

Because politics is the art of the possible in the effort to increase public justice, one good way to understand politics is to test its practices in classroom simulations and other activities.  Koopman employs these and other pedagogical methods to introduce students to the practice, not just the subject matter, of politics so they can decide if they want to pursue public life as a calling and career. For those who do choose to do so, Koopman works with students to identify internships and other learning opportunities to develop appropriate skills and abilities during the undergraduate years.

Koopman speaks about his academic specialties and teaching interests to a range of audiences.  He is a periodic source for Michigan and regional media and has also been quoted in The Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife, Gayle Boss. They have two adult sons.

Academic interests

American Politics, Congress, the Presidency, Parties and Elections, American Political Economy, American Political Thought, Religion and American Politics

Office hours

by appointment

Additional open hours and appointments can be arranged, on request.

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