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Christesen is Granite State Professor of the Year

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently named Assistant Professor of Classics Paul Christesen the New Hampshire Professor of the Year.

Paul Christesen
Assistant Professor of Classics Paul Christesen '88 in the classroom. (Photo by John Sherman)

Christesen, who specializes in the history of ancient Greece, is a Dartmouth alumnus, having received his bachelor's in history and classical studies in 1988. He earned his Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University in 2001 and returned to Dartmouth to join the faculty.

Christesen was honored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation at a November ceremony in Washington, D.C. The program, begun in 1981, is the only national initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Each year, CASE and the Carnegie Foundation name four national-level winners from a baccalaureate college, a community college, a doctoral and research university, and a master's university or college. The program also names state winners from the entries that meet the program's criteria, specifically, "an extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching which should be demonstrated by excellence in the following areas: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community, and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former undergraduate students."

"Every year since I came to Dartmouth I have had the extraordinary opportunity to regularly teach small classes full of some of the best students in the country and to work with some of the best scholars in the world," Christesen says. "More than anything else, this award is a reflection of the fact that Dartmouth is an ideal environment for teaching and for learning and a recognition of the outstanding quality of Dartmouth's faculty and student body."

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences Carol Folt says, "Paul is a gifted and committed teacher whose thoughtful pedagogy comes directly from his scholarship. What is even more impressive is the way that he, with no fanfare, has developed discussion groups where Dartmouth undergraduates explore the issues most important to their lives. Over 1,600 students have participated in these groups, and the effect has been nothing less than transformative."

"Every year since I came to Dartmouth I have had the extraordinary opportunity to teach small classes of some of the best students in the country."

Paul Christesen '88

Christesen, who is currently teaching "Antiquity Today: An Introduction to Classical Studies" and "Intermediate Latin," is a decided favorite among his students. A major consideration for CASE officials were letters from several of his former students. Anaïs Wheeler '05 wrote, "Professor Christesen demands thoughtfulness of his students, both academically and personally. His passion and involvement go beyond the classroom and his willingness to mentor his students is as valuable as his dedication to his field."

John Muller '07 agrees, "His passion and care have been the standard against which I have compared my professors, my peers, and myself. Professor Christesen was constantly pushing us to examine who we were and what we valued."

President James Wright echoes those sentiments, saying, "I was very proud to see Paul Christesen honored as the CASE New Hampshire Professor of the Year. His dedication to his students exemplifies the passionate commitment to teaching that is valued so very highly at Dartmouth."

By GENEVIEVE HAAS

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Last Updated: 5/30/08