Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2007

Faculty Award winner

Michael Strawser

 College of Arts and Humanities


Three goals that are central to my overall teaching philosophy are energy, respect, and edification.

Energy: I believe that a good teacher should be dynamic, enthusiastic, and passionate for the subject, very knowledgeable and competent in communicating his or her knowledge. These are properties that I strive to emulate. I deem a class most successful when the discussion of the subject matter has become so intense that no one wishes for it to end, and that it resonates in the students’ and my minds long after the class has ended.

Respect: All true education and edification (or Bildung, which captures the meanings of both words) is based on respect. There are several ways that I try to respect my students. First, in order to facilitate a more authentic dialogue, I learn the names of the students in the class, whether they are 150 or ten. Second, I respect the students' ability to learn by only reading primary philosophical texts. It is important to have high, but realistic expectations of the students, and through encouragement and instruction lead them to a level of learning that they may not have thought was possible. Third, I respect students by letting them have a significant voice in the class. This is done by allowing students' own interpretations of the course material initiate critical discussions (which can be achieved using a variety of methods), and also by c