Two Faculty Win Teaching Awards

John Carroll, Professor of Philosophy, and Anna Bigelow, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Two members of the Department’s faculty received teacher awards during Spring 2016.

Anna B. Bigelow, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, was presented with an Outstanding Teacher Award at the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Awards Ceremony on April 27. She has also become a member of the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers.

Eight of the Department’s faculty are now members of this Academy.

Anna’s teaching includes courses on Islam, Islamic History to 1798, Islam in the Modern World, and Religion and Conflict.

“Understanding Islam as a religion in its historical context and in all its diversity,” Anna says, “is profoundly important for students to be able to make sense of current events as well as to learn to appreciate diversity and prepare for a globalized economy.”

Whatever their majors might be, many of Anna’s students look forward to international careers or work in fields involving diverse populations. Beyond giving them knowledge, understanding, and skills that help them prepare for their careers, she also hopes to impart to students “the joy and vitality inherent in cultivating a creative and inquisitive mind.”

Anna’s students say that she “is a fantastic instructor,” is “very receptive outside of class,” “has an exceptional base of knowledge about a large number of religions,” is “passionate about the material,” “leads phenomenal discussions,” and “has an improvisational style, which is ideal for students learning new and foreign ideas.”

John W. Carroll was named as an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor at the Alumni Association Faculty Awards Ceremony on April 28. Only members of the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers can be nominated for this distinction. John has been a member of the Academy since 2009.

John currently teaches courses on Knowledge and Skepticism, Metaphysics, The Scientific Method, and an interdisciplinary course on Time Travel for the University Honors Program. He also deals with issues concerning time travel in his course on Metaphysics.

“Students,” John says, “should know that philosophy is a living, breathing and unfinished discipline.” In all aspects of his teaching, he treats his students as active participants in a common endeavor of doing philosophy, rather than as passive recipients of information about philosophy.
John’s collaborations with students in his courses have included two extraordinary re-search undertakings.

One is A Time Travel Website, which John and his students put together and continue to improve. This has been cited in scholarly publications and has averaged 3,000 page views per month since 2008.

The other is a dialogue that John and his students co-authored over several years and then published as a book. A Time Travel Dialogue (Open Book Publishers, 2014) is available in paper, hardcover, and electronic editions, and can also be read free on-line here.

John’s students describe him as “brilliant,” “very enthusiastic and open to questions,” “thoughtful, kind, and engaging,” “quick to give helpful feedback,” “dedicated and attentive to the class,” “fantastic at moderating discussions,” and “very engaging to listen to even when the material is dense and dry.”

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