Teaching Award Recipient, 2016-17

Dr. Christopher Arroyo


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.