Dr. Robert Bernard Hass, professor in the Edinboro University English and Philosophy Department, recently was recognized as the University’s 2018 Scholar of the Year. The award, which honors a faculty member who shows continued commitment to scholarship, was presented at Edinboro’s Academic Honors Convocation.
Hass, a member of Edinboro’s faculty since 2001, specializes in creative writing, literature, and poetry and is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the poetry of Robert Frost. Throughout his award-winning scholarly career, he has won an Academy of American Poets Prize and has served on the editorial boards of Twentieth-Century Literature and the Robert Frost Review.
“It's important to remain engaged because academic research not only satisfies our curiosity but also contributes so much to the public good,” said Hass, who won Edinboro’s Educator of the Year in 2008. “There is not a single part of our lives that has not been touched by an academic, and I think it is important to honor those – most of whom labor for years in relative obscurity – who enrich our lives by making them safer, easier and more fully comprehensible.”
In their official joint-nomination letter for Hass, Dr. Mary Paniccia Carden, chairperson of the English and Philosophy Department, and Dr. John Cussen, associate English professor, mention more than 60 publications, presentations and reviews for which Hass was solely or cooperatively involved. The pair of Edinboro faculty members also mentions 28 different courses that Hass has taught in his Edinboro career.
“Dr. Hass’ two-decade record of scholarly achievement – highlighted most recently by his co-editorship of the letters of iconic American poet Robert Frost, and highlighted lastly by the publication of his own poetry book – more than merit his consideration for this award,” Paniccia Carden and Cussen wrote. “In recognition, then, of Dr. Hass’ extended record of scholarly achievement, we heartily recommend that in 2018 the University admit him to that very special group of Edinboro University faculty whose career accomplishments include a Scholar of the Year Award.”
According to Hass, continual and accomplished research verifies the professional credibility to teach his college-level courses. He said he is devoted to studying and problem-solving in order to live a rich, fulfilling life.
“My purpose as an educator is to provide my students with the critical thinking skills they need to learn on their own for the rest of their lives,” Hass stated in his research philosophy statement. “How terribly boring life would be without books, without the constant thrill of discovery, and without a perpetual need to quench a thirsting curiosity.”
Dr. Hass is the author of Going by Contraries: Robert Frost’s Conflict with Science, which was published in 2002 and was selected by the American Library Association as an Outstanding Academic Title in 2004. He is also the author of the poetry collection, “Counting Thunder” (2008), and he is currently co-editing “The Letters of Robert Frost” with Edinboro colleague Donald Sheehy for Harvard University Press.
“The best part of research lies in the joy of creativity and discovery,” said Hass, whose poems and articles on modern and Victorian literature have appeared in many leading journals. “Each project presents its own challenges and satisfactions, which makes it impossible for me to single out any specific work as a favorite.”
Hass earned his Ph.D. in English Literature from Penn State University in 1999. Additionally, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State and his master’s in English from the University of Florida. He has spent much of his academic career researching the intersections of science, literature and religion.
Photo caption: Dr. Robert Hass, of the English and Philosophy Department, was recently named Edinboro University’s Scholar of the Year. Interim President Michael J. Hannan makes the presentation.