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Annie Hesp

Annie Hesp

Collegiate assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Excellence in Teaching Award from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech

The award, presented by the center to approximately nine Virginia Tech faculty members each academic year, recognizes a faculty member's effective, engaged, and dynamic approaches and achievements as an educator.

Among the goals of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning are advancing experiential learning at Virginia Tech and improving student learning through research-based instructional practices and student-centered design. According to Hesp, her approach to teaching focuses on student engagement, and she tries to create classroom environments in which “all students are encouraged to participate.”  

When asked about a memorable teaching experience, Hesp said, “Working with a quadriplegic student who also had difficulty speaking.” She explained, “It took him a long time to form a sentence due to the nature of his paralysis. It would take him three times as long to form a sentence, but he was always on point. One day he brought some books of poetry that he had written and published in Spanish to share with the class. It felt like the ultimate mic drop. It was awesome. From that day on, he had every student's respect. He brought a voice to the classroom that might not have been heard or could have easily been overlooked. For me it solidified my commitment to creating an inclusive classroom.”

Sarah Sierra, one of Hesp’s current colleagues, explained just how encouraging Hesp is to her students. She said, “Dr. Annie Hesp has inspired countless students to find passion in whatever they choose to pursue. She has encouraged generations of students to interpret their studies as part of a meaningful journey and not simply as a series of boxes to check off on their way to graduation.”

According to Sierra, “Dr. Hesp takes a vested interest in every student and helps each one to identify how to incorporate language and cultural studies into their chosen career path.”  

Hesp provided the following advice for new college teachers: “Know your students. The more I know my students, the better I can serve their individual needs.”