UNCA professor Mullen receives state teaching award

From UNC Asheville:

Dwight Mullen, professor of political science and 30-year veteran of UNC Asheville’s faculty, has been named a recipient of the 2014 UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award.

A gifted teacher, active scholar and engaged community leader, Mullen has consistently taught courses that have challenged and inspired his students, and held leadership positions in the greater Asheville community.

He has dedicated his career to challenging orthodoxies, making connections, engaging the public, learning from his colleagues, and teaching by example. His courses in political science and humanities have captivated students, who praise him for challenging them to question long-held concepts and beliefs, and for inspiring them to think critically about themselves and their place in the world.

In recommending Mullen for this award, a former UNC Asheville student body president wrote that he would not have felt prepared to achieve that leadership position without Mullen’s mentorship. An alumna wrote that Mullen’s influence was so profound that she will “always consider herself as a student of Dr. Mullen.”

Mullen disdains the idea of teaching in an ivory tower, saying he prefers the “center of the village,” and to that end, he has participated in reading groups at the Burton Street Recreation Center, involved students in his research for the annual “State of Black Asheville” conference, commented on radio and written opinion pieces in area newspapers, volunteered in public schools, and served on numerous local boards.

Connecting books and ideas with actual life experience, Mullen provides opportunities for students to conduct field work and participate in community initiatives. His students have pursued undergraduate research on topics that include racial inequality, public education, the criminal justice system, and income disparity.

Mullen also has served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Malawi. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Atlanta University and received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Loma Linda University.

Mullen was nominated by a committee of his colleagues; each year, the UNC Board of Governors bestows the award to one distinguished faculty member at each University of North Carolina system campus.


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