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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching today named Dartmouth Assistant Professor of Classics Paul Christesen the New Hampshire Professor of the Year.
Christesen, who specializes in the history of ancient Greece, is a Dartmouth alumnus himself, having received his bachelors in history and classical studies in 1988. He earned his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2001. He then returned to Dartmouth to join the faculty. Christesen said he was pleased to be receiving the award and that "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. 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."
Christesen will be honored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation on Nov. 16 in Washington D.C. along with other state honorees and four national honorees. The program, begun in 1981, is the only national initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Each year, the program names 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."
Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt, who was among those who encouraged Christesen to apply for the distinction, said, "It is very fitting to see Paul Christesen named by the CASE association as the New Hampshire Professor of the Year. Paul is a gifted and committed teacher whose thoughtful pedagogy comes directly from his scholarship. What is even more impressive is the way that Paul, 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 discussion groups, and the effect has been nothing less than transformative."
Christesen is a decided favorite among his students, and included in the application materials considered by the CASE program were letters from several of his former students. Anaïs Wheeler '05, who wrote one of the letters said, "Professor Christesen demands thoughtfulness of his students, both academically and personally. His passion and involvement go beyond the classroom. Lots of professors are interested in their students, but Professor Christesen never hesitates to ask. His discussion groups have provided an organized forum for students to rigorously discuss personal aspirations and intentions in a way generally reserved for academics. His willingness to mentor his students is as valuable as his dedication to his field."
Another former student, John Muller '07 agreed, "His passion and care have been the standard against which I have compared my professors, my peers, and myself. On a personal level, he sought out each student as an individual. We discussed history, but beneath that Professor Christesen was constantly pushing us to examine who we were and what we valued."
Dartmouth President James Wright echoed those sentiments, saying, "I am 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."
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