Andrew D. Kaufman is an author, educational entrepreneur, and Russian literature scholar whose work has been featured on The Today Show, NPR, PBS, and Oprah.com as well as in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Moscow Times.
Kaufman holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Stanford University, and he is the author of The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who Saved Dostoyevsky (Riverhead Books, 2021), which has been longlisted for the PEN Award for Biography, “for a biography of exceptional literary, narrative, and artist merit, based on scrupulous research.” Kaufman is also the author of Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times and Understanding Tolstoy , as well as co-author of Russian for Dummies, now in its third edition. He is a featured Tolstoy expert on Oprah.com, and is frequently invited to discuss Russian literature and culture on national and international television and radio programs.
In addition to his Russian expertise, Dr. Kaufman is a nationally recognized expert on teaching innovation and service-learning. He is currently an Associate Professor and Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Virginia. He consults with faculty and teachers across the country on creating profound learning experiences that change the way students think, act, and feel, while making important contributions to their communities.
At UVa he created and teaches the renowned community-based course, Books Behind Bars: Life, Literature and Leadership, in which university students meet weekly with committed youth at a maximum-security juvenile correctional center to explore questions of meaning, value, and social justice though life-changing conversations about Russian literature. The course has been featured in the Washington Post, on The Today Show, NPR, and Russian national television, and is subject of the feature documentary, Seats at the Table. The documentary has appeared at film festivals throughout the United States (including SXSW EDU), France, and Great Britain, and is currently airing nationally on PBS. International education expert Ken Bain and author of the best-selling What the Best College Teachers Do, calls Books Behind Bars “the ultimate example of service learning and learning by doing, one of the most brilliant and highly effective I’ve encountered.”
Dr. Kaufman is an in-demand keynote speaker who has spoken at TEDx, the Aspen Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Leo Tolstoy Museum and Estate at Yasnaya Polyana, and at book clubs and libraries, corporations, prisons, and colleges and universities across the United States. A professionally-trained actor and long-time college professor, he is an entertaining and inspirational speaker. He draws on the wisdom of great books as well as his journey as an educator to offer audiences nourishment for the mind and soul, while also providing them with practical insights that are immediately applicable to their own lives.