Dr. Moten Recieves Award

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When Assistant Professor of History Crystal Moten received a place on the list of “40 Under 40 Professors Who Inspire,” she was “both excited and humbled.”  The award, which recognizes professors who students have named as an example of inspirational teaching, is in its second year.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to know I am making a difference here at Dickinson and that both students and my colleagues value my work inside and outside of the classroom,” said Moten. What affected her most, though, was what students wrote: “The most touching aspect of the recognition, however, was reading students’ personal reflections of me as a teacher.  As a teacher, it is hard to know one’s impact and most often we don’t ever get to see the fruits of the small seeds we’ve planted,” she stated.  Moten continued, “This recognition lets me know that there is some flowering already happening—for that I’m grateful!”

When asked what the most important aspect about teaching is for her, Moten replied, “The aspect of teaching that I treasure deeply is interactive learning.  For me, this means that students not only learn from the skills, knowledge and experiences I bring to the table (along with our course materials), but from each other.”  In terms of implementing this tool in the classroom, Moten stated, “It is important that we, as a class, grapple with the various meanings of the histories we are studying.  To do that, everyone in the class is encouraged to share their thoughts and unique perspectives on the materials assigned and presented throughout the course of the semester.”  She added, “Also, an important component of interactive learning is engaging multiple kinds of texts so that students have a plethora of materials to consider. This definitely means bringing in primary and secondary historical texts and also bringing in music, creative works, videos or even taking our learning outside the classroom!”

Receiving the 40 Under 40 award, for Moten, was “a tremendous honor and motivation.  It encourages me to continue to develop my skills as a professor while rewarding my desire to bring in my passion for history.”  In addition, the award encourages Moten to develop her “commitment to telling the ‘herstories’ that seldom make it to the front page of national news outlets.”  Moten feels inspired by novelist Alice Walker in her day to day teaching life: “Alice Walker summed up my teaching philosophy quite well when she said: ‘Mostly she taught by the courage of her own life, which to me is the highest form of teaching.’”