Professor of Education Robert Stensrud moved from Minnesota to Iowa where he now enjoys helping Drake students explore and pursue their passions.
Born and raised on a farm between Freeborn and Hartland, Minnesota, Stensrud and his two brothers all graduated from Freeborn High School.
Stensrud began furthering his education at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, pursuing a major in both English and Psychology. The University of Northern Iowa was Stensrud’s next stop, where he received his Master of Arts and an Educational Specialist Degree. Stensrud finally landed at the University of Iowa and Drake University to receive his Doctorate in Education.
Once Stensrud finished his education, he took a position at the State Mental Health Institute in Independence, Iowa as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.
In 1988, Stensrud was invited to apply at Drake and received a position. Stensrud teaches classes such as Research in Counseling, Trauma and Crisis Counseling, Medical Aspects of Disability and a First-Year Seminar on Disability and Culture.
Stensrud encourages individuals through his work to use their disability as their strength.
“A lot of the students I work with have disabilities and facilitating their exploration toward using that disability as a way to focus their passion rather than feel weighed down by it is rewarding to me,” Stensrud said.
First-year students Alex Doughty and Beatrice Kearns enjoyed Stensrud’s Disability and Culture class as a transitional course into their first semester of college.
“Bob was super caring and took his job as our intro to college seriously,” Doughty said. “He worked hard to help us transition into college and used his class to help us think about life beyond school.”
Kearns believes Stensrud created a class environment that helped her learn so much and create great connections throughout the Drake community.
“He gave a platform to so many people to share their stories and teach us about their experience,” Kearns said. “He let us learn in a really unique way which allowed the class to grow and become more empathetic and all-around better people.”
Stensrud appreciates that Drake supports having a balance of teaching and research so he can do things that integrate them both.“The students come here with a passion for doing something with their lives and it’s fun to help them explore and learn how to turn that into a more directed purpose,” Stensrud said.