Tim Kenyon, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2012

Department of Philosophy

Many people describe Dr. Tim Kenyon as an inspiration and role model. He most often teaches large sections of the philosophy department’s Critical Thinking course. Students who take it remark that the classes are “full of laughter and enjoyment,” but also that “the course taught me things I didn’t even know I needed to learn.” He communicates a contagious, passionate commitment to intellectual matters coupled with an equally strong commitment to making the world a better place. Whether they encounter him as new undergraduates or as graduate students, many students remember Kenyon’s courses as life-changing. People who have gone on to do graduate work at top schools---of course in his own field of philosophy but also in mathematics and psychology---describe taking a Kenyon course as a turning point, showing them the value of living a life devoted to research and teaching and enabling them to develop the skills needed to do it successfully. Others who have gone on to success in non-academic careers, some of whom have distinguished themselves as community leaders, note the personal attention Kenyon gave them that helped them develop their individual talents, and say he provided them with a roadmap to living a life of principle and public service. He is also a leader at the university in encouraging sensible experimentation in teaching practices, and is described by both junior and senior colleagues as inspiring them to work on becoming better teachers.