#newtoACC: Alfonso Lopez
October 23, 2020
Our #newtoACC series welcomes new faculty to our Austin Community College Riverbat family.
Meet Dr. Alfonso R. Lopez, ACC’s new History faculty member!
Three words that best describe you?
Passionate, kind-hearted, musician.
What inspired you to apply to teach at Austin Community College?
I felt inspired to apply to teach at Austin Community College because it is recognized for having one of the most diverse student populations nation-wide as well as extensive academic programs with a highly progressive faculty. Also, I really wanted to teach at ACC because the college ranks among the best and perhaps one having the largest campuses in the country, and because of the multi-cultural setting and beautiful scenery that the city of Austin offers. When I applied at ACC early this year, I really wished to be selected for the position and envisioned myself joining the history faculty and contributing to the development and success of the students and the college.
What are you currently teaching?
Texas History & US History I & II
What do you see as your greatest strength?
For my field, I identify my greatest strength to be an animated style of storytelling. Ever since I started teaching history, I discovered I had the innate ability to narrate events very colorfully and vividly in a way that students report having felt being transported back into the past and pictured the atmosphere of the historical times and sensed the thoughts and emotions of the peoples we studied. A lively and interactive form of storytelling that narrates and dramatizes to a certain extent the actions and sagas of historical actors come very naturally to me. I have found this animated style of storytelling to be my greatest strength for bringing history alive into the classroom which helps students stay focused on the lessons, understand the material, and develop an intellectual interest in the discipline of history.
How do you keep up to date in your field?
I keep up to date in my field by reading scholarly books and articles from a multiplicity of fields such as history, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, archeology, and science, and use the ideas and findings of these works to enrich and update my history lectures.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I consider teaching as the noblest of the professions. I am convinced a human being can attain wisdom and enlightenment and reach his/her full potential through a life of study and learning. In this sense, teaching represents the quintessential endeavor to raise human consciousness and provide the necessary guidance for the transformation of people’s lives so necessary for the creation of a better world. In this regard, the highest form of teaching is one that embraces a multi-dimensional perspective that integrates the points of view, experiences, and wise traditions of all peoples and cultures of the world, past, and present. Such an inclusive approach to teaching can help students understand the complexity of the human experience, and thus become wiser and thus tolerant and inclusive of other points of view.
As an instructor, how do you create a classroom culture that intentionally welcomes and supports students from different racial/ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds?
My experience teaching in multicultural settings for nearly twenty years had the greatest impact in helping me develop a world-centric worldview that embraces human diversity in all its expressions and honors it in both the classroom and in the historical material taught in class. For me, this translates into treating all students with respect and utmost integrity, honoring their ethnic identities and cultural values, encouraging them to express their views and opinions freely, and responding courteously to every question and concern raised in class.
Also, I honor diversity in the history material covered in class by presenting the perspectives, life-experiences, and voices of all peoples, social groups, and cultures of the world. This includes giving agency to women, working-class people, Native Americans, African Americans, Latinx, and other immigrant groups who have helped build the nation through their thoughts and actions. In addition, I assign works that present multiple viewpoints and perspectives in terms of nationality, race, religion, languages, political views, sexuality, socio-economic matters, and foreign affairs. Through these approaches, my intention aims to help students develop more tolerance and understanding of the peoples and cultures of the world.
Welcome Alfonso to ACC!
Post a comment below or email Dr. Alfonso R. Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.