Award Recognizes Professor's Devotion to Students, Learning

Even after 25 years of teaching at Palm Beach Atlantic University, including numerous courses she created from scratch, Dr. Beate Rodewald says she’s still learning.

“When my students share with me what they take away from my courses, I’m often surprised,” said Dr. Rodewald, associate professor of English. “It’s really their curiosity that inspires me.”

Dr. Beate Rodewald, associate professor of English, this spring was named the 2014 recipient of Palm Beach Atlantic University's Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching. PBA is a private, Christ-centered college in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
Dr. Beate Rodewald, associate professor of English, this spring was named the 2014 recipient of Palm Beach Atlantic University's Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching.

For her devotion to her students as well as to intellectual pursuits, Dr. Rodewald this spring was named the 2014 recipient of the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching.

The award carries with it the responsibility of serving as the Faculty Grand Marshal for the coming academic year. She will carry the University's mace in procession at all ceremonial functions, such as degree-granting ceremonies and other formal convocations.

The Award for Outstanding Teaching is provided by an endowment fund established in 1995 by former PBA President Dr. Paul Corts and his wife, Diane, in honor of his parents and in recognition of their commitment to higher education and scholarship. Palm Beach Atlantic previously presented a “Professor of the Year” award annually.

In nominating her for the award, one student wrote that although Dr. Rodewald “has high standards for students, she will do anything she can to help students meet those standards. She loves learning as much as she does teaching.”

Dr. Rodewald’s colleagues in the School of Arts and Sciences also noted her rigorous standards, calling her “a dedicated teacher in every sense of the word. She is not just a visionary, but she has designed many new courses at PBA, all of which include critical thinking components.”

The West Palm Beach resident specializes in utopian studies and interdisciplinary liberal arts. She has served as coordinator of the English Department, and she previously served as director of PBA’s Frederick M. Supper Honors Program.

The list of courses she has taught exceeds a typewritten page and includes “Narratives of Time and Memory,” a special topics honors course she invented and taught most recently this spring. She also has taught all of the composition and humanities offerings within the general education courses. She has taught German as well.

While she notes every book is important, she said she loves teaching the classics, including Augustine’s “Confessions.” “I could read it every year and enjoy it,” she said.

Others that she enjoys teaching include “The Human Condition” by Hannah Arendt and “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. In the utopian realm, she considers “Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem a favorite.

Dr. Rodewald’s love of literature was cultivated during her youth in Cologne, Germany. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Freiburg, where she majored in English and French.

As part of a requirement that she spend a semester completing her English language studies abroad, she enrolled at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. She said the campus life at a small college was a change from Europe’s sprawling and storied universities.

“That was new to me,” she recalled. “I saw that the teachers there knew all of their students, and they would have coffee with the students.”

She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree from Slippery Rock University and a doctorate from Kent State University.

She arrived at PBA in 1989 as the small University was still growing. No matter how busy she becomes in her various roles, however, she routinely finds time to have coffee with students at places like the Einstein Bros. Bagels restaurant on campus.

“Dr. Rodewald has helped me outside of the classroom by encouraging me in my study of the course material and offering to spend time at Einstein’s so that students could come and apply their learning from the course,” wrote a student in nominating her for the award.

In addition to reading, Dr. Rodewald appreciates handwritten letters and traveling, whether to visit family in Germany or close friends in Pennsylvania and New York state.

She also has a great appreciation for her colleagues, and she said she enjoys getting up each morning to come to work. “I’m grateful for their encouragement and support,” she said.