Manuela Alejandra Gomez, professor of philosophy at El Paso Community College (EPCC), was named a 2022 Piper Professor, an honor bestowed by the government of Texas to recognize excellence in teaching.
The Piper Professor Program, launched in 1958, aims to reward “outstanding professors from two and four-year colleges and universities, public and private” for their “superior teaching at the college level.”
According to a press release from EPCC, the Piper Professorship “is one of the most prestigious, state-wide awards for teaching excellence in higher education.” It includes a $5000 prize.
Professor Gomez specializes in philosophical pedagogy, ethics, feminism, and Latin American philosophy. A former student says she “embodies hope, resilience, hard work, and excellence.” In addition to her work in the class, according to EPCC, Professor Gomez
also helps [students] outside of the classroom with community work and is the faculty sponsor for the extracurricular student Philosophy Club. Gomez and her students have raised more $40,000 for community projects as well as held drives for clothing, sewn masks during COVID and other projects.
Regarding the award, she says:
Being selected as one of the best professors in the state of Texas is a huge honor to me because there are not many women in philosophy, much less women from the U.S.-Mexico border. As a philosophy professor at EPCC, the same institution where I first learned English as a second language decades ago, I get to encourage my students to be critical, to seek justice, and to discover the power of putting philosophy into action to improve our community. Most of my academic research and philosophical pedagogy focus on creating a representation of diverse voices in philosophy and including those who have been neglected. Through the years, I have found that philosophy is a dynamic tool for healing and transformation.
You can read more about Professor Gomez here.