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Hansen receives Graduate of the Last Decade Award

Tim Hansen

South Dakota State University faculty member Tim Hansen received the Graduate of the Last Decade Award from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Hansen is MSOE’s first-ever recipient of the award.

Hansen, an assistant professor in the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, graduated from MSOE with a B.S. in computer engineering in 2011. He will be presented the award next summer. This year’s ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Graduate of the Last Decade is awarded to an alumnus who has achieved accomplishments of significant importance at an early stage of a career, having received his/her undergraduate degree within the last 10 years. The alumnus will distinguish him/herself by being engaged as a volunteer with MSOE or being connected to another nonprofit in the community along with having made substantial progress in his/her career.

“We are so very proud of Tim. His accomplishments in the few years he’s been out of undergrad at MSOE are remarkable. It was an easy decision for our panel of judges to select Tim,” said Cathy Varebrook, MSOE’s director of alumni affairs and special events.

Hansen earned a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Colorado State University in 2015 and is now in his sixth year at South Dakota State. In 2019, he became SDSU’s first recipient of the IEEE-HKN C. Holmes MacDonald Outstanding Teaching Award for exceptional engagement of undergraduate students in electrical and computer engineering.

After attending a teaching institute, Hansen moved from lecture-only teaching to active teaching methods to match the 10- to 12-minute attention span of students.

“I think we have all had an experience with a research-focused teacher who seems to care more about research than the course they are teaching,” Hansen said. “Even though tenure-track faculty are, at the end of the day, judged on their ability to conduct world-class research, I have always put the extra effort in to ensure my teaching is also of high quality. If I am assigned a course to teach, the least I can do is to ensure the students paying for that class learn the material well and enjoy their path to becoming engineers. It is always nice to be rewarded for such efforts, first through the C. Holmes MacDonald award and now by my alma mater as the graduate of the last decade.”