Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009
John W. Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Programs and Studies
Professor of Geography, Director of the International Studies Major Program, and Director of the Landscape Studies Ph.D. Minor Program
College of Arts and Sciences
University Graduate School
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Professor Daniel Knudsen is widely recognized among his peers for his passion, vision and dedication in directing the International Studies Major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Beginning in 2001, he served as chair of the curriculum committee charged with designing the new major, and he became inaugural director of the program when it was launched in 2003. Under his guidance, IU's International Studies Major is now known as one of the leaders in the nationwide effort to create an internationalized curriculum on U.S. campuses.
Knudsen has worked to develop a curriculum that includes courses in international theory and methods, research, capstone projects, internships and essential overseas experience. "This diversity of courses and experiences that have developed in such a short time are without parallel within IU," says Scott Robeson, professor and chair of the IU Department of Geography.
"He worked around the clock to teach courses, mentor students, craft capstone seminars, search for internships, and attract outside funding while all the while seeking new ways to give this fledging major the heft and reputation of one much further along in its existence," writes Kirstine Lindemann, director of undergraduate academic affairs and senior assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Knudsen's hard work has paid off. In 2004, the program graduated 30 majors, and just over five years later, nearly 300 students had graduated with a major in international studies.
His leadership and devotion to internationalization were evident long before his position as director of the International Studies program. He served as associate director of West European Studies from 2002-2004, where he worked to re-secure Title VI support during a very difficult time for the program.
Within the area of research, Knudsen is best known for studying the cultural landscape of Europe. He received a Fulbright Award in 1995 and has developed an active research program in analyzing both the socioeconomic and cultural landscapes of Denmark. His analyses have helped explain the cultural-historical processes that have led to the current Danish landscape. A common theme in his recent research has been the connections between cultural landscapes and national identity. In 2008, he co-edited a popular text on his re-theorization of tourism as an exercise in exploring cultural landscapes.
Knudsen's research on international trade, the globalization of economic structures, and the political economy of Europe has had local benefits. He uses his knowledge of these subjects to advise state and local governments on how best to develop urban planning strategies that avoid the mistakes that have been made by other cities and nations.
"Through his efforts," says Kevin Jaques, associate professor and director of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, "Dan has exemplified the ultimate purpose of international studies, which is to use lessons learned in the international arena to better understand and to promote a higher quality of life on the local level."