St. Cloud State professors Dr. Mike Dando and Dr. Melissa Hanzsek-Brill earned Minnesota State’s highest honors for educators, the Educator of the Year Award.
These awards are bestowed upon faculty to acknowledge and reward exceptional professional accomplishment and to encourage ongoing excellence in teaching.
Dando is an assistant professor of English and the director of the Communication Arts and Literature program at St. Cloud State. He teaches a hip hop studies course as a part of the Honors Program. Dando is also the producer behind the Social Justice Mixtapes, a multimedia series of original, student written, created, produced, and performed hip hop art works focusing on social activism and democratic engagement. He has worked with hip hop artists, activists, and educators across the country to combine social justice education and hip hop culture.
Hanzsek-Brill is a professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education, coordinator of STEM Education, and co-chair of Teacher Development with a demonstrated history of working in both higher education and K-12.
She is the principle investigator of a $1.2 million National Science Foundation-Noyce project to increase the number of STEM teachers in high needs urban schools and co-principle investigator of a $5 million National Science Foundation S-STEM ACCESS STEM project, leading the research team and the tutoring/learning assistant intervention.
Hanzsek-Brill is co-founder of Women Engaged in STEM at St. Cloud State and a co-chair of Tech Savvy with the Minnesota State AAUW president. She developed PAKCAT (Parents and Kids Counting A Lot Together) program in St. Cloud Area Schools in partnership with LEAF to provide take home mathematics activity bags for multi-generational interaction and learning focused on quantitative literacy.
Also earning Educator of the Year honors is SCSU alumna and adjunct professor Dr. Alex Layne ’06 ’09. Layne is an associate professor in the Game Design and Technical Communications programs at Metropolitan State University. At St. Cloud State she teaches Document Design.