Howard Sanborn, Ph.D.

Howard Sanborn is Associate Professor of International Studies and Political Science at the Virginia Military Institute and served, from 2012-2014, as Director of the VMI ePortfolio Project. His research focuses on popular support for democratic institutions, the role of education in cultivating liberal values, and reflective pedagogy with eportfolios and their use in teaching about Asia.

sanbornHis work has been featured in peer-reviewed publications, such as the British Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, European Political Science Review, and Political Behavior.  He has also written pieces for media outlets, like The Hill, Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

During his time as a professor, Sanborn has dedicated himself to providing a variety of experiences for students on and off-campus.  In 2009, he escorted 12 VMI cadets to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in LaCrosse, WI.  He has also taken students to Asia, teaching classes in Shanghai and visiting sites in Xi’an, Beijing, and Taipei.  He has made numerous trips with students to Washington, DC in order to visit the CIA Headquarters in Langley, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Supreme Court, and the Brookings Institution.  In 2014, during the Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution protests, he arranged a “virtual exchange” between VMI cadets and students at Shue Yan University in Hong Kong.

He has served in a number of administrative positions.  As Director of the VMI ePortfolio Project, Sanborn oversaw the change to a Web 2.0 approach with the implementation of Wordpress and presided over a concurrent 12-15 percent increase in assessment scores over one year.  As chair of the VMI Core Mathematics Review committee, he helped formulate a proposal to overhaul the core curriculum math requirement, collaborating with professors from all four of VMI’s academic divisions. He also has served on the larger Core Curriculum Oversight Committee, the Committee on Academic Technology, and the Faculty Development Committee, and is Secretary for the VMI Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.

Sanborn is the winner of the 2012 Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award, the 2012 Walter S. Hinman ’26 Research Award (for undergraduate research)  and the 2014 Jackson-Hope Prize for Excellence in Published Scholarly Work. In addition, he was the VMI nominee for the 2012-2013 State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Rising Star Award.  The VMI ePortfolio Project, under his direction, was declared an Innovation in Higher Education by SCHEV in 2013.

Sanborn is a New York City native. He received his B.A. in Politics from Washington and Lee University in 2001 and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa in 2009.