Indiana State University Newsroom

Hantzis receives Faculty Distinguished Service Award

April 15, 2015

Indiana State University Professor Darlene Hantzis has received the 2015 Faculty Distinguished Service Award in recognition of outstanding contributions outside the classroom.

An alumna of Indiana State, Hantzis is a professor of communication and women's studies. She returned to her alma mater in 1990 and has since held a variety of leadership positions, including director of the women's studies program, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and acting chair of the communication department.

She was honored during the university's Faculty Recognition Banquet Wednesday.

"I am, of course, grateful that my colleagues have chosen to recognize my efforts to be of service. I am also quite humbled. I work everyday with gifted faculty who are dedicated, as I am, to serving students, colleagues, the university and community," Hantzis said. "My sense is that faculty who choose to be fully engaged in service do not expect to receive an award. In fact, we recognize that service, while appreciated and valued, is not always as highly valued as other work faculty are expected to do well."

After earning a bachelor's in English and oral interpretation from Indiana State, Hantzis' graduate work at Baylor University focused on performance studies. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in performance studies at Louisiana State University.

"I serve because I believe I have a responsibility to contribute to efforts to change things for the better -- for my profession, my institution, and my community," she added "I teach for the same reason. I am grateful for each opportunity to be of good use. It is a common observation that ‘the work is the reward,' but it is very often true about the work of service. Receiving an award for that work is a tremendous honor and I know, quite personally, that my mother would be happy to know I continue to try to make a good difference in the world."

She says her 25 years at Indiana State are filled with wonderful moments -- nearly all involving interactions with students.

"Being a professor is an honor -- to be part of so many students' lives during the time they are learning, working to define themselves and map their futures," she said. "I am fortunate to have had students thank me for helping create opportunities for them that they feel changed their lives. Often these changes are motivated by small things."

When Hantzis directed the American Democracy Project, she said many students told her a particular encounter with politics or political actions gave them a new understanding of themselves and suggested a different future.

"Parents have thanked me for creating a place for their children to make their way. I've met many students who didn't realize what they could do or that their intelligence and curiosity made them valuable," she said. "When a student tells you that you made them think differently or opened their minds to ideas they had not imagined, or helped them know they are valuable, capable and strong, you realize the power and the privilege -- and the responsibility you have as a professor."

Hantzis was an American Council on Education Fellow, 2002-2003, and selected to participate in the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Study Program in Sri Lanka in 1993. She was a project participant in the East-West Center Field Study in India in 1995, and Hantzis directed the Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Exchange Program in 1996.

She has been published by numerous academic publications and presented at conferences and workshops locally, nationally and abroad. From 2002 to 2005, Hantzis was a member of the writing and implementation team for the Lumina Foundation Grant totaling $100,000. She was also part of the implementation team for a $2 million Lilly Foundation Grant to transform the experience of first-year students.

Among other honors, Hantzis received the Honors Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2012, the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009 and the Faculty Distinguished Service Award in 2008.

-30- -- Darlene Hantzis, professor of communication and women's studies