Kate Knutson Wins Swenson-Bunn AwardThe Political Science professor was lauded for her work in and out of the classroom.
Posted on May 7th, 2024 by

Political Science Professor Kate Knutson (right) moderates the panel, on Negotiating Conflict, at the 2024 MAYDAY! Peace Conference.

Political Science Professor Kate Knutson was presented with the Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence during the Honors Day convocation on May 5.

The award is nominated by students and given to a faculty member who exemplifies excellence in and out of the classroom, in both character and achievement. The award was created in memory of two Gustavus students and members of the Student Senate, Greg Swenson and Holly Bunn, who were tragically killed in a car accident in 1989.

Knutson is a ubiquitous presence at Gustavus, known as much for her teaching and mentorship as she is for her active involvement with the entire community. She has led multiple January Term study trips and is the faculty organizer for the annual Day at the Capitol, an event at which students meet with Minnesota state legislators and lobby them to improve funding options for college students.

More recently, she served as the Chair of the Faculty Task Force that established a revamped curriculum that will launch this fall. Knutson and her fellow FTF members received the College’s Faculty Service Award for this work, and it was actually the second time Knutson has won this honor, having also been chosen for it in 2018. Knutson also was named the winner of the 2020 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching.

In nominating her for this and other awards, Knutson’s students have cited her enthusiastic and inspirational teaching style, her mentoring, and her overall kindness and generosity toward all students, even those who aren’t Political Science majors. She also has a long track record of collaborating with students on research projects and presentations. It’s all part of a highly intentional outlook about her profession. “My philosophy on teaching and learning is that students learn best when they can become fully involved in the learning process,” she summarized in her online bio. “I strive to incorporate many active elements into my courses including regular small and large group discussions, service-learning projects, field trips, group projects, films, guest speakers, and simulations.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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