John Elder

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) have named Middlebury College Professor of Environmental Studies and English and American Literatures John Elder the 2008 Vermont Professor of the Year. Elder was selected from nearly 300 high profile professors throughout the United States.

Elder specializes in American nature writing and pastoral literature, as well as Basho and the Haiku Tradition, contemporary poetry and environmental studies. He has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship and Guggenheim Fellowship. He received his bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and his doctorate from Yale University.

Currently Elder is teaching two courses through which he exemplifies the individual style and substance that his students and colleagues have come to appreciate over the years. One is a course titled “Portrait of a Town,” in which his students are collaborating with the townspeople of a local community on everything from creating digital stories and GPS mapping to updating historical archives as part of the town’s long-term planning efforts. The other is “Fast Food/Slow Food,” which considers recent writing and films about food, including the rise of industrial food and fast-food franchises as well as the local food movement and the international network called Slow Food.

His most recent books include “Reading the Mountains of Home” (Harvard University Press, 1998), “The Frog Run” (Milkweed Editions, 2002) and “Pilgrimage to Vallombrosa” (University of Virginia Press, 2006). He is currently completing a manuscript about maple sugaring called “In Hardwood Groves.” He frequently gives readings at bookstores and college campuses as well as delivering talks at conferences on nature writing, environmental studies and environmental education.

Elder is active on the boards of the Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Family Forests, and he and his family have a sugaring operation in the hills above Starksboro.

CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in recognizing Professors of the Year since 1981. This year, there are winners in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie “to do all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of teaching.” The foundation is the only advanced-study center for teachers in the world and the third-oldest foundation in the nation.  Its nonprofit research activities are conducted by a small group of distinguished scholars.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the largest international association of education institutions, serving more than 3,400 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 61 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information, and standards in the fields of educational fundraising, communications, marketing and alumni relations.