Russell Hanson awarded IU Bloomington Distinguished Service Award

Nov. 7, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Russell Hanson, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been chosen to receive the Indiana University Bloomington Distinguished Service Award for 2013-14.

Hanson is being recognized for his service over the course of his career and especially for his leadership in implementing the campus's undergraduate General Education Curriculum. He will be honored at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Federal Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. To attend, RSVP to

A scholar of political philosophy and American politics, Hanson has chaired the Department of Political Science since 2009. He served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1999-2000, a time when the College began to recover from a precipitous drop in enrollment and a loss of faculty.

"Russ Hanson's career at Indiana University represents service at its very best," said Tom Gieryn, IU Bloomington vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. "The key role that he played in developing the General Education initiative will benefit students for years to come."

From 2007 to 2009, Hanson co-chaired the General Education Committee, which was charged with developing for the first time at IU Bloomington a General Education Curriculum for undergraduates, including lists of "common ground" courses and shared goals for academic skills and experiences.

IU Southeast Interim Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer, who was then associate dean of the faculties at IU Bloomington, co-chaired the committee. She said Hanson possessed the perfect combination of skills, knowledge and attitude for the complex task of working with more than 150 people to identify and resolve issues and to create policies and procedures to implement the curriculum.

"I have not met a more ethical administrator, a more empathetic manager of people, nor a more committed citizen of the campus," Bichelmeyer wrote in nominating Hanson for the award.

Hanson's scholarship is concerned with the history of liberalism in the U.S. and its impact on prospects for democracy. He has also investigated social welfare policy in the states, the evolution of American federalism, 19th-century constitutional thought and post-Civil War reform ideologies. He teaches courses on state and local politics and American political thought.

He is the author of "The Democratic Imagination in America" and co-editor of "Political Innovation and Conceptual Change," "Reconsidering the Democratic Public" and "Politics in the American States." He has a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. from St. John's University.

The IU Bloomington Faculty Council created the Distinguished Service Award to recognize faculty members or librarians who provide distinguished service to the university, a profession, a discipline or the public. The award carries a one-time cash prize of $5,000.