Year Awarded: 2007
College of Arts and Humanities
At the center of my teaching philosophy is my commitment to challenge students to examine “common sense” knowledge and to think creatively from different perspectives in order to grapple with complex negotiations of religious, political, and cultural identities in different times and places. I ask students to identify their place in society and help equip them with what they need to create and organize a meaningful and engaged way of life. I create a community of learners who draw on intellectual curiosity, a passion for learning, and a sense of being authorized to take a stance.
In challenging students, it is important to provide them with the tools and guidance to successfully take on the challenge. I seek to demonstrate to students that it is essential to be familiar with and conversant in one’s own tradition while also confronting different and difficult viewpoints, traditions, and interpretations. I try to help students develop habits of thought that are characterized by such integrity, commitment, and intellectual curiosity. It may not surprise, then, that I have found strong convictions — or even plain stubbornness — very useful traits in students. Devil’s advocates are also always welcome in my classroom.
I find that learning is not confined to the time or space of scheduled class meetings. I do not expect to observe the “effect” of my teaching immediately or necessarily in my classroom. Often it takes time for some new tool or critical attitude to be relevant or to become sufficiently the student’s own to