In February, Dr. Paul Hanstedt, professor of English at Roanoke College, will receive Virginia’s highest honor – the State Council of Higher Education’s Outstanding Faculty Award.
Hanstedt joins 11 other award recipients, who are all faculty members from colleges and universities across the state. The winners will be recognized at a ceremony and luncheon in Richmond on Feb. 12. Prior to the event, they will be introduced on the floor of the Virginia General Assembly.
What drives Hanstedt’s teaching is his desire to help students develop the skills in writing, reading, or cultural analysis that allow them to participate in the conversations that matter.
“There’s so much emphasis these days on education as certification–it doesn’t matter what you learn, just as long as you get that degree,” Hanstedt said. “I disagree with this–I want students to push themselves, to learn about the subject, but also to learn about who they are, about what they value, about what drives them. Every day I’m in the class room I’m reminded that working with them as they make that discovery is an honor.”
“I was a rather quiet and shy student … uncomfortable expressing my views or taking risks in my writing,” Dr. Heidi Hanrahan ’99 wrote in support of his nomination. “Somehow, Dr. Hanstedt saw promise in me and went out of his way to encourage me. In a conference in his office, he told me, ‘When you say something, the other students in class actually listen. They want to hear what you have to say.’ It’s hard to explain what a jolt of confidence this was for me as a young scholar.” Hanrahan is now assistant professor of English at Shepherd University.
“The College is very pleased and honored with Dr. Hanstedt’s selection for a SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award,” Dr. Richard Smith, vice president and dean of the college, said. “He is a superb teacher and accomplished scholar who is a noted expert and strong voice for innovative general education curricula and pedagogy. His selection not only validates his fine work and many accomplishments but also affirms the Roanoke College’s faculty emphasis on excellent teaching and scholarship.”
Hanstedt was one of the campus leaders in Roanoke’s revision of its general education program, serving as director of general education for five years. He now consults with colleges and universities in the United States and abroad about curricular matters. In 2009, Hanstedt spent a year in Hong Kong as a Fulbright Scholar, helping more than a dozen universities in Asia transform from a three-year British model to a four-year American model. He received the 2006 Roanoke College Innovation Award for collaboration in general education reform.
Hanstedt has published numerous articles, writing for “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ “Liberal Education,” the modern Language Association’s “Profession” and a variety of scholarly journals. Hanstedt is the author of two books, “The Faculty Guide to General Education” (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) and “HongKonged, or: the Neurotic Parents’ Guide to a Year in Asia” (Adams Media). His work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Nonfiction in 2011 for “Grief and the Village,” published as “What Do You Say?” in Brain, Child in March 2011.
Hanstedt also writes a blog and contributes radio essays to WVTF Public Radio. His subject matter ranges from food, travel, and his three children to his efforts to learn to play the accordion.
Hanstedt is the fourth Roanoke professor to receive the Outstanding Faculty Award in the past 10 years. Other Roanoke recipients include Dr. Gregory Weiss, professor of sociology, emeritus, who was recognized in 2004, Dr. Roland Minton, professor of mathematics, in 2005 and Dr. Melanie Almeder, associate professor of English, in 2011. Almeder also was recognized as a “rising star” for three years prior to 2011.
Hanstedt, who has taught at Roanoke since 1996, has received several awards at Roanoke, including the Dean’s Council Exemplary Teaching Award in 2000 and the SGA Faculty Leadership Award in 1999. He served as the director of general education for Roanoke for five years. He earned his B.A. from Luther College, his master’s degree from Iowa State University and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.