P.S. Polanah, assistant professor of Africana studies / sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, recently received the university's 2008 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to three Virginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching program and learning environment. A cash award is given to each recipient and their respective academic departments. New Diggs Teaching Scholars are invited to lead the Diggs Roundtable, a series of presentations and a discussion relating to their innovative teaching, the year after receiving the award.

The award is supported by an endowed fund established through an estate gift from the late Edward S. and Hattie Wilson Diggs. Mr. Diggs was a 1914 graduate of Virginia Tech.

Polanah’s areas of research and teaching include colonial and neo-colonial studies, cultural violence and identicide, and historical relationships the West has established with other parts of the world. His courses have become very popular, often resulting in over-enrolled class sections. His courses have the reputation of being stimulating and challenging. He has consistently assembled an impressive student evaluation record. Students are expected to engage in lively classroom discussions, and Polanah challenges his students with a wide variety of teaching techniques.

Polanah received his bachelor’s degree from the Southern Utah University, a master’s degree from the University of Nevada, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.