Professor Guerrero and Denise Dykstra received the 2022 School of Arts and Sciences Award for their Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Each year, awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education are given to professors and teaching assistants in the School of Arts and Sciences to recognize their outstanding achievements in and beyond the classroom, their engagement with their students and pedagogic communities, and their overall commitment to the undergraduate education mission." Click here for more information and [other] awardees.

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"Professor Alex Guerrero is a leading figure in Philosophy at Rutgers, as a scholar, instructor, and staunch proponent for diversity in the curriculum and field. He has expanded the department’s course offerings by teaching courses in non-Western Philosophy and creating a safe space for engagement and growth in his classroom. One student described him as “a phenomenal instructor who encourages students to interact with him at all stages of their philosophical thinking (i.e., when they have budding ideas when they’re struggling to form an idea, when things have hit a snag, when things need polished, etc.).” His generosity with his time supporting students is also evidenced by the number of honors theses he has supervised, his often-crowded office hours, and his online writings, which offer insight for aspiring graduate students into the graduate school application process.

What makes Professor Guerrero truly stand out, though, is his commitment to ensuring that efforts to diversify the philosophy curriculum are broad-ranging and sustainable. He recognizes that asking instructors to diversify the curriculum is not reasonable if they do not have adequate preparation, and therefore engages in a number of “teaching the teachers” efforts. He has also helped to ensure a broad pool of promising applicants for graduate studies in Philosophy by leading the acclaimed Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity for two years, acting as a bridge between directorships. The Summer Institute is renowned for bringing in promising undergraduate students from various cultural, ethnic, and social-economic backgrounds to inform and encourage them to consider a career in academic philosophy.

Professor Guerrero is not just an advocate for diversity in a field that is staunchly Anglo-American in its traditions. He is an agent for change; his individual commitment and institutional service are leaving a lasting effect on the Rutgers University–New Brunswick Department of Philosophy and the discipline of Philosophy more broadly. He is well-deserving of this Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education."

 

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"An introductory class in Philosophy is designed to raise expansive questions about ethics, morality, and truth, and to invite students to think deeply about these questions and participate in lively debates about the possible answers. Stepping into her role as a lead instructor of Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Logic, Denise Dykstra was committed to maintaining this lively engagement in an online format. Based on the comments from her students and Philosophy faculty, she did just that. In fact, according to Assistant Undergraduate Director and Professor Alexander Skiles, “Denise’s asynchronous courses are a model of how they should be conducted.” As we all know from our experiences during the pandemic, this is no easy feat.

Student evaluations consistently praise Dykstra’s pedagogical approach. As one student wrote, “This was the most effectively structured asynchronous course I have taken at this university in five years. The format of the assignments/papers were extremely fair and did a great job tying real life to philosophical debates centuries old. I am not being disingenuous when I say I would tell my friends about what I learned in a given week for this course and just discuss the topic with them to hear their thoughts leading to debate, which is what this class is meant to do.”

For first-time students of Philosophy, working through logic can be daunting. But students write that Dykstra explains assignments with clarity, grades fairly, and “encouraged opinionated thinking and writing” in a way that lessened the pressure.

We are very pleased to recognize her efforts with this Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education."