Paul Hanstedt on What Matters

The most recent episode of NetVUE’s podcast Callings features a conversation with Paul Hanstedt, director of the Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning at Washington and Lee University. In addition to consulting on general education and on faculty and curricular development, he is author of Creating Wicked Students: Designing Courses for a Complex World (2018) and writes on pedagogy for Inside Higher Ed and Liberal Education.

Paul shares his excitement for working with undergraduates, especially beginning students: “they have hope,” he says, and in their first year of college, we often see their important “shift from lack of agency to agency.”

As he speaks with hosts Erin VanLaningham and John Barton, he expresses the importance of offering complexity to students not only in capstone courses but also throughout their college years. He offers ways to disrupt patterns and discover fresh approaches for collaborative learning and exploration. As he reflects on his own sense of calling, he stresses high-impact practices like study abroad as significant means to prepare students for complexity because they must make decisions in the face of “the unknown” every day.

Paul’s emphasis on preparing students for the difficulties of life—and engaging in big questions from the first semester through the last—ultimately challenges us to ask students, “what matters?” 

Click here to listen to the episode featuring Paul Hanstedt titled “On Wicked Teaching.”

Stephanie L. Johnson is the editor of Vocation Matters.

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