Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2012

Faculty Award winner

Humberto Lopez

 College of Arts and Humanities

 Modern Languages and Literatures

If I were to encapsulate the most important principle in my teaching philosophy, it would be that one must enjoy being a teacher in order to be a good one. I am passionate about education because I am a learner myself who believes that learning should be curiosity driven, active, and enjoyable, and should emphasize student self-expression. Our world needs minds to advance, promote, and preserve what humankind has accomplished generation after generation; engaging the students to prepare those minds for the ventures of tomorrow is one of the greatest challenges that could exist for an individual to pursue.

I also strive to promote cross-cultural awareness and appreciation in order to increase independent thinking. In addition, since education extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom, I empower students to face the challenges of lifelong learning, and it is with great satisfaction that I take them to conferences and lectures where they participate in obtaining invaluable experience of the real world. My goal, and I convey this message to my classes, is for the students to succeed beyond their perceived capabilities.

While in class, I encourage students to read texts attentively, to record questions and comments as they read, and to consider the social, historical, and normative contexts out of which the texts arise and out of which their own worldviews are formed. However, I must express that no amount of preparation can evoke the spontaneity that professors, such as myself, enjoy bringing to class. A fruitful debate serves the purpose of opening minds in new directions and gives the professor joy in having conveyed a grain of sand in the long process of education.

These ideologies would be impossible without developing a symbiotic relationship between professors and students, feeling empathy for each other's realities, and achieving together a satisfactory outcome. With these elements present in the professor-student relationship, the environment can only prompt a revelation of thought to which I am wholeheartedly open. Learning, once again, is a never-ending experience, and the aforementioned relationship is one that lasts a lifetime.