SMC Professor Recognized with SCICU Excellence in Teaching Award
A heart for teaching and a commitment to student development are at the core of Dr. Kirk Hansen’s approach in the classroom. These attributes were key to his colleagues selecting the history professor to receive the 2021 South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching Award at Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC).
“When Scott (Cochran) announced me as the SCICU award recipient, I didn’t really hit me at the time,” Dr. Hansen said. “In the midst of one of the most challenging semesters, I was and am particularly grateful for the recognition by my colleagues.”
Colleagues at SMC continually cited Dr. Hansen’s approach with students and the ability to draw out of them the desire to succeed in his classes as merit for the award.
“I teach several students who have previously had Kirk as a professor, and they all speak highly of his classes and his helpfulness,” said Ethan Birney, a history professor at SMC. “He has also promoted better teaching by helping me with my technique.”
In addition to his classroom duties, Dr. Hansen is also very active in the continuous improvement of SMC. He has served on the Faculty Steering Committee, including as chairman for the past year, and several other faculty committees. History department chair, Dr. Cole Cheek, said Dr. Hansen is a great asset to the department and the college.
“He cares about his students, colleagues, and the future of SMC,” Dr. Cheek said. “He challenges others to think holistically about problems, and viable solutions to them, to help everyone improve.”
Dr. Hansen joined the faculty of SMC in 2016 after earning his Ph.D. in history from the University of Dundee. He also holds a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University. Dr. Hansen is a frequent presenter and published researcher on Jewish history.
Committed to supporting its member institutions by fundraising and supplementing scholarships and research, SCICU is a charitable organization that represents 20 liberal arts institutions in South Carolina. The Excellence in Teaching Award is accompanied by a $3,000 research grant that Dr. Hansen looks forward to utilizing.
“I am particularly excited for the opportunities the research grant could bring,” he said. “I would love to return to Scotland and Europe to dig into some research, which I have put on hold, to bring a fresh perspective to my teaching.”
In addition to the Excellence in Teaching Award, Dr. Hansen has also received the 2020 Archie Vernon and Margaret Wannamaker Huff Faculty Award, the 2018 GBHEM of the United Methodist Church Exemplary Teaching Award, and the 2017 Student Government Association Founder’s Day Faculty Award at SMC.