John Branstetter Receives UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award

John Branstetter (UCLA PhD 2017), Lecturer, was recently selected to receive the 2019-2020 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award.  Only three non-Senate faculty in the entire university received this award.  Reflecting upon the award, John writes, “My approach to teaching is grounded in the assumption that no one can ever fully master the core material of political theory. I assume that learning is an open process without a single, objective goal, and that individual students can take very diverse and personal lessons from studying the same material. I see it as my job to help students explore a subject and to take away something valuable, whether it’s a new skill, a new idea, or a whole new worldview. I start by assuming that my students are smart, curious people who are in a position not all that different from my own. I recognize that I have a little more academic experience, but I try to keep in mind that a lack of experience is no barrier to very quickly developing enthusiasm for something. I have always found it was easy to learn things I was excited about, and this idea guides my practice in the classroom. ”