Dassanowsky named CU Distinguished Professor

Headshot of Robert von Dassanowsky
Robert von Dassanowsky

Robert von Dassanowsky, one of the world’s top scholars in Austrian Studies and an internationally-recognized expert in Central European culture, has been named one of two of the newest distinguished professors from UCCS. The CU Board of Regents will recognize Dassanowsky and 11 others during its February 2021 meeting with the highest honor that the university bestows to faculty members.

“I am greatly honored and humbled to be named a distinguished professor, because it is my work as a scholar, teacher and mentor that has been deemed particularly relevant and valued, by my colleagues and my students,” Dassanowsky said. “That work could not have come about without the freedom to grow that can be found at UCCS and across the CU system. And if my voice has strengthened another in positive thought and deed, then I have continued to question and learn, as we move forward together.”

Dassanowsky’s excellence in teaching and research started shortly after his arrival to campus in 1993 as an assistant professor of German. He holds tenure in both the departments of Visual and Performing Arts, and Languages and Cultures, and has served as chair, co-chair or interim chair of both departments during his career. Dassanowsky is founding director of Film Studies since 1998 and has continued to develop the program and its professional reputation.

The students who graduate in film studies often have their choice of the top filmmaking or film study programs in the world, in part to the rigorous education they receive before stepping behind a camera. His teachings were among the first to recognize the importance of women in creating and establishing cinema during the foundation of the industry in the early 1900s.

Dassanowsky has first-hand knowledge of the important role of women in the film industry. His mother, Elfi, co-founded the Belvedere Film studio in postwar Vienna, and decades later they formed a production company in Los Angeles, and he began his second career as an independent film producer and a voting member of the European Film Academy. Dassanowsky also directs the Elfi Von Dassanowsky Foundation, which awards grants to national and international charitable and non-profit organizations representing women in the arts, cultural and educational programs, and humanitarian efforts.

Dassanowsky’s work in eight authored/edited books and over 80 articles and book chapters has made him one of the most cited and respected film scholars for Austrian, German and American cinemas and their intersections with literature, philosophy and politics. He was recognized with the Decoration of Honor in Silver for Cultural Services to the Republic of Austria in 2005, an award that has no direct American equivalent but would most closely align with the Kennedy Center Honors. He was also elected member and has been a U.S. delegate to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2001.

In 2007, he was elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society in the United Kingdom. In 2010, he was named a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, receiving the honor previously awarded to individuals like Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking and Charles Dickens.

He was recognized with Nobel Prize winner Carl Wieman as the two Colorado representatives for U.S. Professor of the Year in 2004 by the Carnegie Foundation and the Advancement of Teaching. In 2015, he was awarded a prestigious Botstiber Foundation grant and recognized for his unique and multifaceted efforts in teaching, research and service with the CU Thomas Jefferson Award.

“We are very proud to celebrate the accomplishments and recognition Dr. Robert Von Dssanowsky has earned over more than two decades at UCCS,” said Chancellor Venkat Reddy. “He has been widely honored for his creative and scholarly works, his mentorship of our students and his outstanding teaching. It is a testament to Robert’s exceptional commitment to his work that he is now recognized with the highest honor granted to faculty members in the University of Colorado system.”

CU distinguished professors demonstrate exemplary performance in research or creative work, a record of excellence in classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning, and outstanding service to the profession, the university and its affiliates.