Anthony Hoefer Recognized with Teaching Excellence Award

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“Dr. Hoefer is an excellent professor… He is very supportive, and he persistently communicates with the class to make sure everyone is feeling relaxed, yet on their toes for how to perform the next task. Overall a very genuine, hardworking, and delightful professor.”

Kriti Shukla, Project Leader for Honors College Connects
Portrait of Andy Hoefer

“No matter how busy his schedule gets, Dr. Hoefer always goes the extra mile and takes the time to support his students as a professor, advisor, and mentor,” says Honors College student, Julia Hakeem.

On Friday, May 7th, Dr. Anthony Hoefer, Associate Professor of English and Assistant Dean of the Honors College, was recognized with the Teaching Excellence Award at the Celebration of Teaching Excellence. This event, sponsored by the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, calls attention to the tremendous dedication of time and effort recipients put into their lessons, advising, and student support both inside the classroom and beyond. Award recipients like Dr. Hoefer truly make a difference at Mason. 

“Dr. Hoefer really makes students feel like he cares about them as individuals,” says Elizabeth Fortson, a Project Leader from Hoefer’s HNRS 261: Honors College Connects (HCC) section. Originally a student organization, but now an option within the Honors College curriculum, HCC students form teams and partner with “real-world” organizations in the community to help them solve problems and make a positive impact. While this past spring looked different with online learning, Hoefer continued to demonstrate adaptability and genuine care for his students. Fortson emphasizes this care he shows: “He always made some time at the beginning of class to ask how we were doing before we went into our breakout groups… I remember that I once mentioned an event I was planning, and he not only asked further questions, but helped advertise the event to other students.” 

Hoefer further succeeds in creating an encouraging environment in other courses, as well, including HNRS 110: Principles of Research and Inquiry, as well as UNIV 160: University Scholars Transition Seminar – both of which help build the confidence of first year students as they adjust to college life. These classes are pivotal to the students that take them, as for many this is their first perceptions of the college experience. 

Honors College student Riley Hester, emphasizes this sentiment, having taken University Scholars Transition Seminar with Hoefer, before seeking him out again for HNRS 360: Multi-Disciplinary Topics, “Dr. Hoefer puts so much planning into his classes and it really shows – [the content] is creative and really encourages students to go more in-depth into the topic.” 

“Dr. Hoefer is a great teacher because he puts people at ease,” continues Hester. “I know that even the quietest people in my class talked because they were not afraid of having their ideas shot down. It takes a really great educator to make all students feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and questions.” 

The 2021 Teaching Excellence Award recognizes a truly well-deserving professor, as HCC Executive Board, Elise Mertz, states, “Dr. Hoefer is incredibly dedicated to his students… I can’t think of someone better suited for this award.”