Philosophy professor awarded as faculty laureate


Jason Howell

Grant Sterling, a philosophy professor, addresses faculty and new students after receiving this year’s faculty laureate during Convocation on Friday in Lantz Arena. The faculty laureate is an annual award that recognizes a faculty member for excellence in teaching general education classes.

Debby Hernandez, Administration Editor

Grant Sterling, a philosopher professor, was chosen as this year’s faculty laureate.

The ceremony took place last Friday in Lantz Arena.

The faculty laureate is an annual award that recognizes a faculty member for excellence in teaching general education classes.

Nominees must be a current full-time member of the Eastern teaching faculty, and must have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellence in teaching classes in the general education curriculum.

In addition, they must provide a letter of nomination, one letter of recommendation from a former student and one from a faculty member or administrator, and a statement from the nominee on the value of general education.

Sterling said his interest in philosophy began with his first philosophy course.

“When I got to EIU, I had no background knowledge of philosophy,” Sterling said. “I took introduction to philosophy with a really good professor and I discovered that I really like to think about things the way philosophers do.”

Sterling obtained his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Eastern and his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Iowa.

The faculty laureate must speak at convocation about the concept and importance of general education for incoming students.

As faculty laureate, Sterling said he wants to increase student thinking.

“I try to emphasize the idea that as a human being, you have the ability to look at the world around you and know it,” Sterling said.

Jonelle DePetro, chair of the philosophy department, said Sterling was nominated for his excellence in general education.

“A teacher was chosen because of his excellent undergrad classes,” she said. “He has been a faculty member for many years and has taught a lot of general education classes.”

She said students find him very engaging.

“His door is always open,” DePetro said.

Sterling said learning about something you might not be interested in is necessary to understand the world.

“General education classes are a way to discover yourself,” Sterling said. “Students decide their not interested and shut themselves off before the class has even started.”

He said what he likes about teaching general education is the opportunities it offers him.

“All students know what history is and other classes,” Sterling said. “I like the opportunity to show them what philosophy is.”

 Debby Hernandez can be reached at 582-2812 or [email protected]