AXO Teaching Award for Promoting Social Justice

Posted August 20, 2022:

I was selected to receive an AXO teaching award for my teaching at Fordham University. These awards are “designed to recognize outstanding teaching that combats racism and promotes social justice.” The awards are also student nominated and student selected. 

I really appreciate being selected for this award. Over the last few years of teaching at Fordham I increasingly been dealing with issues of environmental justice, animal justice, and social justice- it’s shocking how robustly these overlap. At the same time as my teaching has become more focused on grappling with environmental issues (and interlocking topics), my teaching has also become 1) more energetic and intense (which has a down side- I spend far too much time prepping, responding to homework, etc.- but I find what my students are saying so damn interesting), and 2) kinder. My students really are trying! and each brings something different to the (literal) table. I have to give grades, but I try to model the in-person classroom experience on a gift economy in which we are all circulating our various gifts. I also use animal stickers copiously in the classroom. Giving someone an aardvark sticker for a cool comment is another way (beyond grades) of recognizing their contributions.
Teaching can often be both challenging and meaningful, demanding and rewarding. In being selected for this award I am mostly grateful to my students, each of whom bring so much insight and perspicacity to the classroom.