“We can expand intellectually. We can expand literally and fill these open fields with what we want …. a place where students want to grow, learn, change their lives to be better.”
Elizabeth sees her teaching role as a symbol of change. A professor of educational leadership and services, Hansen doesn’t define “teacher” in the traditional sense of the word. Rather than serving as a technology “instructor,” Elizabeth sees her classroom responsibility as a “leader,” a “guide,” and a “champion of change.” And the fact that this University encourages her to help her students in ways that go well beyond imparting technological skills and knowledge is what makes SVSU, according to Hansen, the best place she’s ever worked.
Being the best one can be requires growth, and growth requires change. Elizabeth Hansen is up for the challenge, even if it requires helping to change just one student at a time.
“Why would I be in education,” Hansen asks rhetorically, “if I didn’t feel I could change students by helping, mentoring them to be the best they can be?”
Hansen’s willingness to be an agent for change, coupled with her patience for influencing even one student at a time, spills over into her personal life and how she views her role as a citizen of the world. She has become an activist for her Saginaw neighborhood and feels that just as students can be changed one at a time, so can a community one block at a time. Though a resident of Saginaw for just five years, her neighborhood work garnered hera 2004 nomination from The Saginaw News for “Saginawian of the Year.”
Changing students, changing neighborhoods, and yes, being a part of a changed university, are defining moments for Elizabeth Hansen. As the chair of the College of Education’s strategic planning committee, and chair of the College’s new Department of Educational Technology and Development, Elizabeth continues to see well past the valley fields into the Saginaw Valley’s future.