The Joseph R. Accinno Teaching Award
The Joseph R. Accinno Faculty Teaching Award is presented annually to the faculty member who best exhibits excellence in teaching, passion and enthusiasm for learning, and genuine concern for students’ academic and personal growth. Faculty who have received tenure and are scheduled to teach during the spring semester are eligible for the award. The award program is administered by the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Teaching Award Selection Committee (TASC). The recipient receives a cash stipend, is formally acknowledged at the College’s Academic Convocation in September, and has his or her name inscribed on a plaque that is permanently displayed in Phillips Memorial Library.
Teaching Award Process and Criteria
Teaching Award Recipient, 2016-17
Dr. Christopher Arroyo
“As a teacher, my main goal in introducing students to philosophy is to engender in them an interest in a habit of reflection that is motivated and tempered by an acute intellectual humility, not to convince them to agree with me (politically, socially, or otherwise). I introduce students to the discipline of philosophy by examining arguments with them that I have found compelling and influential (even if I myself am not persuaded by these arguments). I want to help them understand that their interlocutors are not their enemies, that there is more than one compelling way to see things, and that there are a multitude of ways in which human beings can succeed in being good. The main way in which I can help my students cultivate these skills and attitudes is by serving as a model for them, so that our classroom is seen as a place where just about everything is up for serious discussion. This is by no means easy to do. I am capable of being narrow-minded, biased, or closed to an opposing position, and when I feel strongly about something, I can end up showing my cards when I am leading a discussion or giving a lecture.
All of this is further complicated by the fact that my role on campus is not restricted to inside the classroom. As one of the advisors to SHEPARD, I wear a different hat. My primary service to the group is supportive: I am there to help them realize their vision for the group as best as I can. I also realize that it is important for them see a faculty member who stands with them and for them. Both as a teacher and as an advisor I balance these roles—to foster reflection and humility, while providing support. It is a delicate balance, one that I do not always succeed in keeping. But if I am to be a good professor (and a good ally), it is a balance, I believe, that I have to continue to strive to achieve.”
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Arroyo on this prestigious honor.