Funeral Service Professor Brings Wealth of Experience to Classroom

Students in our Funeral Service Program dedicate themselves to helping individuals, families, and communities in times of grief. Joyce Hofstra, Adjunct Professor, B.S., creates student success through her enthusiasm, passion, and the occasional class outing to aid in the path of discovery. Her specialized knowledge, extensive experience, and real-world mindset provide funeral service majors with the cutting-edge techniques and skills they need to know for graduation and beyond.

Alumna returns home to teach

Hofstra’s career in funeral service began at our campus and, since that time, she has come full circle in returning as an adjunct professor. In 1972, she graduated summa cum laude from the New England Institute, now the School of Applied Science. At the start of her career, she became a licensed Funeral Director in Massachusetts and managed the Hofstra Funeral Home (started by her father-in-law). In 2002, Hofstra decided to share her learning with students, and came home to teach in the Department of Funeral Service. Her courses include: Introduction to Funeral Directing, History of American Funeral Directing, Merchandising, and Mortuary Law.

Lifelong learning in funeral service

As a lifelong learner, Professor Hofstra’s own education has been enhanced by our course offerings. For instance, she completed a research project on the bird flu that has reappeared in Asia in recent months. From this experience, she brings her knowledge into the classroom, teaching how local governments handle large-scale illnesses and deaths with emphasis on funeral directors as “first responders.” Additionally, through class trips to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, her students receive first-hand learning on the Egyptian methods of embalming. Students also acquire facts on how cremations are handled through visits to the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Watertown. Upon graduation, students are well-prepared for the funeral service industry with Hofstra acting as a mentor in their future careers.