Christman named recipient of Graduate Faculty Teaching Award

March 21, 2013


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – John Christman, professor of philosophy, political science and women’s studies in the College of the Liberal Arts, has received the 2013 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award.

The award, established in 1992 by The Graduate School, is presented to faculty members in recognition of outstanding teaching performance and advising of graduate students.

Christman’s ratings by students consistently are above department averages, and students regularly comment on his ability to explain material in ways that are engaging and open to other viewpoints. One colleague noted that these high ratings are not achieved by being an “easy grader,” adding that “his courses are demanding, and our graduate students benefit as a result.”

During his 14 years of teaching at Penn State, he has served on more than 60 doctoral student committees. One graduate wrote, “He was able to pinpoint those moments when I had made either an original contribution or an error and forced me to demonstrate which it was. As an adviser, he helped me to write more lucidly and frequently pressed me with critical questions that forced me to reformulate a chapter.”

As co-coordinator of the social thought program in the College of the Liberal Arts, Christman has worked with students in multiple departments for 11 years. He has helped run conferences, designed and implemented the social thought doctoral minor and established an ongoing social thought reading group for graduate students. A nominator said, “Social thought is a thriving program that greatly benefits graduate students who work in social and political theory, and much of its success is due to Professor Christman’s vision and hard work.”

Describing his teaching philosophy, Christman said, “My pedagogical style has always been Socratic, stressing different modes of active learning and utilizing as much as I can in a ‘learner-centered’ model of teaching.” He continued, “In graduate seminars, this means involving students actively in the conduct of the course.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 21, 2013