Dr. Steven Hoffman, coordinator of the historic preservation program and professor of historic preservation in the Department of History at Southeast Missouri State University, was presented the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education this month at a luncheon in Jefferson City, Missouri.
The award is an annual recognition of superior classroom teaching. Each Missouri institution is invited to select one faculty member for the award who demonstrates a commitment to student learning and excellence in the classroom.
Hoffman also was honored with Southeast’s 2015 PRIDE Award during commencement exercises last December. The Provost’s Research, Instruction and Development for Excellence (PRIDE) Award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence as a teacher, an extraordinary level of scholarship and service and whose overall accomplishments are especially noteworthy.
“I have enjoyed every part of my last 20 years here at the University,” Hoffman said. “I love my job — I have loved it from the very beginning. I find that I get a great deal of satisfaction working with students. I get to advise the majors so not only do I get to teach them in their introductory course and in their capstone course, but also in all the years in between, I am meeting with them once a semester to talk about their program and see where they are going. I become very close to the students. The students here are really remarkable. We have had some very talented, very knowledgeable and very capable students and being able to work with them to shape their experiences here so they are prepared for their future is really exciting and very satisfying.
“When my students succeed, I feel I succeed,” he said.
“I would like to think we leave the world a little better than we came into it,” he said. “I am truly honored to receive the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education. We don’t do what we do for the recognition, we do it because it seems the right thing to do, and I enjoy engaging the students. But every once in a while it’s nice to be reminded that people notice and appreciate what you do. We get so busy in the trenches that we don’t worry about awards, but I am humbled and honored to have been chosen to receive this award.”
Dr. Wayne Bowen, chair of Southeast’s Department of History, said Hoffman is to be commended for his work in initiating a Master of Arts in public history and certificates in heritage education and historic preservation and his work in the community.
“Dr. Hoffman’s leadership has helped the department attain a degree of national visibility due to the degree’s high academic standards,” Bowen said. “In addition to his outstanding academic leadership, Dr. Hoffman has become recognized at the level of the local community on several occasions. “
Hoffman added, “There is a connection with the community that allows us to give our students experiential learning. We work on projects that are important to the community. That ability to take what we are doing in academia and put it into practice in the real world is very satisfying. This is the piece that is most beneficial to students because they can use this experience to talk about and see what they have done in the community. The University has been very supportive of my community engagement, and I certainly appreciate that. That’s one of the things that makes this job so great; being able to work with students, work with the community and see the difference that they make.”
Hoffman is the president of the Board of Directors for the Missouri Main Street Connection, member of the Board of Directors of Old Town Cape LLC., secretary of the National Council for Preservation Education, and a member of the Education Committee for the 2015 and 2016 National Main Street Conference. He is former associate editor of “Columns,” the Journal of the Association for History and Computing; former advisor, treasurer, president and vice president of Old Town Cape LLC; former chair of the Economic Restructuring Committee of Old Town Cape; and former consulting editor for the “Journal of the Association for History and Computing.” He was secretary to the Missouri Chapter of the National Association for African American Heritage Preservation; and vice chair of the Missouri African American Heritage Preservation Task Force.
Hoffman has been published extensively in books and journals.
He has successfully helped place many area properties in the National Register for Historic Places. These include the J Maple and Grace Seene Wilson House, Broadway Theatre, St. James AME Church, Broadway-Middle Commercial Historic District (Boundary Increase), Court of Common Pleas, Main-Spanish Commercial Historic District, Cape Girardeau Commercial Historic District (Boundary Increase II), Edward S. and Mary Annatolie Albert Lilly House, Broadway-Middle Historic District, William Henry and Lilla Luce Harrison House, Southeast Missourian building and the Huhn-Harrison House.
Hoffman most recently was honored by Old Town Cape with an endowed scholarship in his name. In 2011, he was named University Educator of the Year by the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce. His efforts working with Old Town Cape helped the organization win the Great American Main Street Award for the community.
Hoffman earned a doctoral degree in history in 1993 from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his Master of Heritage Preservation in 1987 and Bachelor of Arts in history, both from Georgia State University.
Before coming to Southeast in 1995, Hoffman served as an instructor of history at Carnegie Mellon University, adjunct assistant professor at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts, and a lecturer at Bradford College in Bradford, Massachusetts.
He continues to serve in leadership roles on numerous national and local committees, and, over the past 20 years, has helped enhance the image of his department and Southeast with many initiatives he has spearheaded.
Hoffman and his wife, Margaret Waterman, professor in the Department of Biology at Southeast, are the parents of a son, Russell, who is in his third year of law school at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hoffman graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in Pine Beach, New Jersey, and grew up in Forked River, New Jersey. He is the son of Joan Knight of Cape Girardeau and the late George Hoffman.