Associate Professor of Anthropology Bruce Hardy has been named the John B. McCoy Banc One Distinguished Teaching Chair beginning July 1. The four-year position, selected by Provost Joseph Klesner, is designed to foster excellent teaching and mentoring among the faculty.
“Hardy had clear and exciting ideas of active learning strategies that he wanted to share with colleagues and work with through the CIP (Center for Innovative Pedagogy) to make happen,” said Klesner, who chose Hardy from a pool of six faculty members who submitted proposals. Klesner said he was particularly impressed with Hardy’s suggestions for using gaming as part of the curriculum, his commitment to broadening the use of Kenyon’s environmental resources and his dedication to mentoring new faculty.
Hardy, who has taught at Kenyon for a total of 13 years, said he’s excited about the prospect of professors using games in the classroom. “A lot of our students are gamers. Lots of them do video games or card games,” he said. He sees the use of role-playing or games such as Pandemic being potential starting points for alternative problem-solving experiences.
Hardy also hopes to promote the integration of the College’s environmental resources, such as the Brown Family Environmental Center, Kokosing Nature Preserve and Kenyon Farm, into the curriculum. Hardy uses these sites extensively, for example, incorporating building fires and cooking as part of an African prehistory course. As part of his professorship, he proposes finding ways for other faculty members to do the same. “It could be as simple as reading poetry in the forest some place. What impact would that have?” Hardy said.
Another key to the McCoy appointment is the mentoring of new faculty, for which Klesner feels Hardy is particularly qualified. “Bruce will be especially good at mentoring new faculty,” he said. “He’s got the right demeanor. He’s been through this twice himself since he was a visiting faculty member before we hired him on tenure track. With his open, fun-loving personality, he’s also the kind of person who can easily engage in mentoring new faculty.”
“I felt really strongly mentored, even as a visiting professor,” Hardy said. “Out of all those places I’ve worked, this was the place where I felt like people really cared about me from the get go. I want to continue that. I want to get people involved really early. I want to get people thinking about what they’re doing, living up to their potential.”