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Meet the


Outstanding


Educator of the Year Penn State’s Dan Stearns


takes home this year’s honor. By Lindsey Getz


U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest S operating his own landscape design/buil to be even better in the classroom.


and, for me, working in the profession was the knowledge,”” Stearns says.


“I believe domain knowledge is one of the crucial pillars of effective teaching and, for me, working in the profession was the most efficient way to obtain that Stearns says.


to be even better in the classroom. “II believe domain knowledge


knowledge is one of the


I In his time at Penn State, Stearns was known as both an innovator and a nation- al leader in the field. He coordinated the college’s landscape contracting major while also teaching undergraduate courses in residential landscape planning, landscape planting design, landscapelandscape planning, lands construction and landscape estimating and bidding. Recently named NALP’s 2019 Outstanding Edu- cator of the Year, NALP caught up with Stearns to find out more about his career.


n his time at Penn State, Stearns was know al leader in the field. He coordinated th major while also teaching under


construction and lan Recently name cator of the Y find out mo


WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING AN EDUCATOR? Working with students. Whether a first-year student or a returning adult, they all have a curiosity and a level of energy that is impressive. Being able to observe an individual develop both academically and personally during their college years is second only to seeing them graduate and move on to become successful professionals, partners and parents.


WH BE Wo firs the en to ac the se to pa


Dan Stearns, professor emeritus of landscape contracting at Penn State University,, first got a taste of teaching while in graduate hool and knew it was something he would enjoy as a profession. While the right opportunity didn’t come around for another 12 years, Stearns says his time spent in the industry, working as a landscape architect for the New York State Department of Transportation and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in North Carolina, as well as operating his own landscape design/build firm in Massachusetts, set him up


Dan Stearns, professor emeritus Penn State University first got a tast school and knew it was something he While the right opportunity didn’t co Stearns says his time spent in the indu architect for the New York State Depar


32 The Landscape Professional // May/June 2019


Photos: Dan Stearns


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