Stuart Hansen, Ph.D.
I am chair of the Computer Science Department and my typical day includes much more than teaching, mostly related to the department running smoothly. Department chairs prepare semester schedules, evaluate untenured faculty, manage the department’s budget, help with orientation sessions, handle student complaints, etc. In addition, we do everything other faculty members do, including teaching classes, advising students, and carrying out research projects.
My path to becoming a professor started when I finished my college degree in Mathematics. I joined the Peace Corps and spent three years teaching in Cameroon, West Africa. After my Peace Corps service, I came back to the states and was hired to teach academic skills courses at UW-Stevens Point. I enjoyed teaching at Stevens Point very much, but soon realized that I needed a PhD behind my name if I was going to make a career of university level teaching. I went back to school and earned my Ph.D in Computer Science, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I run a pretty informal classroom. Students need to be engaged in the learning process during class and an interactive class with lots of questions and answers is more fun for the instructor and the students. Hopefully students learn more, too.
My main priorities for the next five years include staying professionally current in computer science and making sure my class content is up-to-date. The number of Computer Science majors continues to grow rapidly, and the biggest challenge facing my department is making certain we have adequate staffing for the classes we need to offer.
My life beyond UW-Parkside includes many outdoor activities. We have a new puppy, Skye, a Black Lab-Spaniel mix. She needs walking and walking and then still more exercise. I also enjoy cycling, canoeing and cross country skiing. My wife and I are in the midst of a multi-year canoe trip paddling the length of the Wisconsin River. We hope to finish the last stretch in the summer of 2012.
I enjoy international travel. Three years ago I spent 6 weeks traveling in India, and I’d love to go back. I’d also want to see China and Antarctica. When I travel I want to see places and meet people and spend time there. The two week bus tours are not for me.