Congratulations to Professor of Anthropology Dr. Greg van Alstyne who was the second faculty member to receive this year’s Exceptional Faculty Award.
Professor of Anthropology Dr. Greg van Alstyne has brought anthropology and world cultures to life for many Centralia College students. With three masters’ degrees and a doctorate in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Oxford University, Dr. van Alstyne certainly has impressive academic credentials. However, it is his firsthand experiences—spending over ten cumulative years in numerous cross-cultural situations in more than 65 different countries—that bring depth and passion to his teaching.
When Dr. van Alstyne first started teaching at Centralia College 20 years ago, there was only one anthropology course. Over time, he developed five more courses, all products of his numerous years of graduate study and cross-cultural experiences and all fulfilling the Distribution Diversity requirements.
In addition, Dr. van Alstyne researched, developed and co-led 12 different anthropological field trips to various parts of Latin America and Cambodia, immersing students in indigenous cultures through visits to numerous archaeological, cultural, and historic sites, homestays in indigenous villages, and treks to remote locations. He will be leading a trip this summer to Colombia and Ecuador and is already setting up a visit to China with Chinese language instructor Christine Wynder for the summer of 2016. “I believe that these field trips have elevated the anthropology program at Centralia College above that of all the other community colleges in Washington State.”
Not surprisingly, his classes have become so popular that a few years ago he was asked by administration to raise the class cap in two of his classes from 40 to 65 students, giving him the distinction of having one of the highest student to faculty enrollment ratios on several occasions.
Dr. van Alstyne has served on various campus committees, written and presented several publications and papers, tutored foreign students, and has been awarded Phi Theta Kappa Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, CC Exceptional Faculty Award, and the NISOD Excellence Award. Off campus, he has served the community as a youth baseball and soccer coach and a high school chaperone for several events.
The anthropology professor’s cross-cultural educational environment has engaged and motivated students to think “critically and creatively about themselves as humans as well as about those who inhabit the multiple cultural worlds around them.” According Dr. van Alstyne, “This is the true goal of anthropology.”