“When we study issues like poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism and heterosexism, these things have an impact on people’s lives.”
When Chris Cox, ’98 MA Sociology, learned about artist and former Black Panther Charlotte O’Neal, he knew that he needed to bring her to campus. The sociology and interdisciplinary social sciences lecturer jumped at the opportunity to expose his students to a new point of view.
“O’Neal does poetry, music and visual art,” Cox says. “She also runs a community center to provide services to orphans in Tanzania. I take pride in bringing an event to campus that celebrates not just the black community, but our entire community—and to bring perspectives to students that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”
The recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Lecturer award is an advocate for higher education because he has seen that it can have a ripple effect.
“A good education can provide a positive impact on somebody’s life that can last the rest of their life,” Cox says. “To contribute positively to someone’s life in the classroom and beyond is very meaningful. Hopefully the ideas get passed on to the next person and the next.”
One example of this is his former student Stephanie Wells, ’08 Global Studies, who studied abroad as an undergrad and this summer will be leading a service learning trip to Guatemala for SJSU students. Cox sees service learning as an excellent way to apply sociological ideas to the real world. His Sociology 57 course connects students to community agencies so they can examine cultural and social issues in context.
“When we study issues like poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism and heterosexism, these things have an impact on people’s lives,” Cox says. “One of the things I’m really happy about is that many of my former students are working in some of those communities. When our students work with our community, they can directly address a variety of these issues.”
The Outstanding Lecturer Award recognizes a lecturer for excellence in teaching effectiveness and service to the San Jose State campus community. This year’s winner comes from the College of Social Sciences. He will be honored at the 18th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon on March 9, 2017. Tickets are available for purchase.