“Sometimes the best moments are advising students or sitting with them while they apply for graduation, seeing them get excited about reaching this state of achievement.”
Before San Jose State Humanities Professor Susan Verducci became a scholar of the philosophy of education, she was an actress. Throughout her academic and professional career, she has explored innovative ways that educators can incorporate the arts to teach compassion, empathy and constructive dialogue. She has been named the 2019 Outstanding Professor in recognition of her dedication to her students and her contributions to the university.
“Most of my suggestions for improving education have to do with using art to allow people to enter alternative perspectives, which can make them think better and create relationships that are moral and richly productive for society,” she says. “Teachers who do focused engagement with literary, visual and performing arts can help students practice perceiving and understanding alternative perspectives different from their own.”
In addition to producing two co-edited collections with top scholars, co-editing a special issue of an international education journal and publishing fifteen articles and book chapters, Verducci is first and foremost a teacher. She helped establish the Integrated Teacher Education Program, which offers future educators the opportunity to complete a degree, a credential and an optional Spanish/English bilingual authorization in four years. The program, which launches in fall 2019, will help address the California teacher shortage and prepare candidates to meet the demands of diverse and changing classrooms.
“One of the amazing things about our students is their diversity,” she says. “The fact that they are so wonderfully different from each other creates a synergy at SJSU that makes it a productive place to study education. At San Jose State, I am in a place where all my interests in art and education coalesce, and I can work on all of the things that I am passionate about and committed to.”
The Outstanding Professor Award recognizes a professor for excellence in teaching effectiveness and service to the San Jose State campus community. This year’s winner comes from the College of Humanities and the Arts. She will be honored at the 20th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon on March 21, 2019. Tickets are available for purchase.