A Future-Oriented Profession: Celebrating World Teachers' Day 2023

On World Teachers' Day, we celebrate the amazing educators inspiring students and changing lives across the College of Liberal Arts. You are the heart and soul of what we do. Thank you.

I am a committed educator and believe that teaching is a future-oriented profession. We are teaching our students how to thrive in a world of the future that neither we nor they can fully imagine. All disciplines do not do that in the same way, but the liberal arts are well-suited for this moment—to teach students to understand and appreciate differences, to evaluate sources, to read and think critically.  

Ann Waltner, interim dean of CLA

You Create Space to Learn & Thrive

“A wonderful part of an undergraduate experience and one that I just love is when students are in my class and they appreciate some esoteric point … and some series of ideas that they wouldn't have thought about necessarily before they entered my class, but now they get really excited about. That's wonderful and it's a real pleasure—the best part of my job.”

Daniel Greenberg, art history

“I really try to include a sense of community in all of my classes. I don't teach from a top-down model. I'm not the only teacher in the room, I often say. As choreographer and educator Nia Love says, ‘You don't take class, you make class.’”

jess pretty, theatre arts & dance

"Thank you, Dr. Song, for being such an interesting and engaging professor, and always trying to challenge and engage your students....You valued your students and their ideas, and created an atmosphere where it felt all of us in the classroom were on the same quest for new information.”

Luke, class of 2006, to Hoon Song, anthropology

“I began taking Hebrew with Renana during my sophomore year of college and took six of her courses throughout my college career. Renana cared so deeply for me and my classmates. She was motivating, understanding, and charismatic. She brought Hebrew and Israel to life in our classroom. Whenever I needed help or guidance, she was there for me.”

Mikaela, class of 2020, speaking about Renana Schneller, classical & Near Eastern religions & cultures


You Challenge Us & Transform Lives

Dr. Brewer changed my whole life trajectory—she provided me a model of activist-scholar, one who employs their work and social capital to serve their community in every way possible, to the fullest extent possible. I've come back to her work, her courses, and her model countless times in my academic and organizing life.”

Sofia, class of 2011, speaking about Rose Brewer, African American & African studies

“It was so empowering to see a Native woman at the front of the classroom, talking about our culture, history, and identity… When you see yourself reflected in your curriculum and in the instructor at the front of the classroom, everything changes.”

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, class of 2002, speaking about Brenda Child, American studies

“Thanks for helping me with my research! Your guidance and trust in my vision encouraged me to work hard and become more confident.”

Nur, class of 2020, to Ben Toff, journalism

“Every class I took from the English department was amazing! The women who taught there from 1978 to '82 helped me find my voice. I love you all!” 

Anita, class of 1993, to Shirley Garner, Toni McNaron, and Madelon Sprengnether, English

You Inspire the Next Generation of Educators

I am a high school English teacher and the first course I ever created from scratch was British Literature. Dr. Krug had such passion and enthusiasm for it, she inspired me! She was not only an incredibly intelligent and hardworking teacher—she was a good teacher too. Thank you.

Bridget, class of 2003, to Rebecca Krug, English

“I draw on the theories, stories, and research I studied in sociology nearly every day.… I learned advocacy, research, and writing through sociology coursework and working [as your TA], which have been critical to my career as not just an elementary school teacher, but as a citizen working toward more equitable public education for students and families.… I always think fondly of my time at the University of Minnesota and am so grateful for you and the other professors who encouraged me and supported me to ask tough questions and challenge my own unquestioned biases, and who supported me as I found my way into young adulthood.”

Katherine, class of 2015, to Enid Logan, sociology

“I took your class, Never Again! Memory Politics After Genocide, my senior year and it inspired me to apply for a Fulbright grant and helped set me on a trajectory towards a career in restorative justice and peacekeeping. Four years later I attended a conference in Kosovo about peacekeeping efforts there. I still have all of my readings and notes and still think regularly about what a brilliant educator you were. I'm now a high school world history teacher and recently got NCAA approval to teach a class like yours.”

Jordan, class of 2017, to Alejandro Baer, sociology

CLA Teaching Awards

Would you like to honor a CLA instructor who made a difference in your life? Our Exemplary Teaching Awards recognize instructors who exemplify the highest standards of teaching and scholarship and who have enhanced the lives of CLA students.

Nominate an outstanding CLA instructor by November 10

Make a gift to the Arthur "Red" and Helene B. Motley Exemplary Teaching Award

Meet our 2023 teaching award recipients

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