For many, David Goldstein is a natural choice as recipient of a 2007 Distinguished Teaching Award. Throughout his 10-year career at UW Bothell, Goldstein has taught more than 60 courses mainly focused on the different facets of American culture, and has consistently received praise from colleagues and students alike. He has been most successful in achieving this by being perceptive to innovative teaching methods and by being accessible to all.
Says Carole Kubota, chair of the 2007 Distinguished Teaching Award Committee at UW Bothell, “Dr. Goldstein’s impressive application letter and dossier materials reflected his passion for teaching, his belief in his students’ abilities to engage in ideas from multiple perspectives, his fostering of cooperative learning environments, and his continuous desire to keep learning as a teacher. He captures his students with his employment of nontraditional assignments and assessments.”
Goldstein favors this nontraditional approach as he strives to engage his students in ways that have far-reaching effects, believing that “teaching at its best is transformative.
I strive to foster students’ own natural curiosity so that they essentially teach themselves. This way, they keep learning long after leaving my classroom.”
Goldstein does this in several ways: by using portfolios in his pedagogy (a technique he was asked to present to the Faculty Fellows Program by the UW Teaching Excellence Institute); incorporating service learning in his courses (as a Community-Based Learning Institute Fellow); and using technology when appropriate in his courses (further, participating as a Fellow at the UW Bothell Online Faculty Institute).
These conscientious efforts are evident as Goldstein is described by his students in his nomination letters as “current,” “enriching,” “sincere” and “hip.” Says one of his students, “Dr. Goldstein is the sharpest, brightest professor I know, and always enters the classroom with lighthearted enthusiasm and a sincere interest in each and every one of his students.”
Goldstein is quick to return the compliments: “It is impossible to enumerate everything I’ve learned from students, but I can say that the things I’ve learned from them seem to fall into two categories. One is new ways of seeing things I have been studying my whole career. Our students are experienced, smart, insightful individuals, and I learn an incredible amount from them. The second category is inspiration. Most of our students work at least part-time, many of them work full-time and many also have family obligations involving a partner, children, and increasingly, eldercare for their own parents. I learn time management, commitment, and perseverance from our students.
“Teaching is so central to who I am that much of my identity comes from this vocation. I witness firsthand the expansion of students’ horizons, the enlargement of the world they see, as they struggle and engage with the ideas they encounter in my courses. I facilitate the transformation of individuals – not for a quarter or a year but for a lifetime. That means everything to me.”
Continues Goldstein, “It’s hard to express what this award means to me. I have such genuine admiration for all of the teachers here, and just to be considered as a professional colleague is a great honor for me. I care deeply about what I do. I believe this success comes from a willingness to put students first, to use multiple complementary pedagogical methods, to promote cooperation rather than competition in the classroom, to emphasize life-altering ideas rather than discrete facts, to collaborate with colleagues in developing our best practices, and to adapt to each student’s and each class’s particular constellation of skills and interests. I believe that my students learn enthusiastically because I teach enthusiastically.”