Cal State San Bernardino has announced the selection of Juan Delgado, a professor of English and acclaimed poet, as the university’s Outstanding Professor for 2012-2013.
“(Delgado’s) well-rounded record of achievements in teaching, professional activities and service establishes him as an impressive representative of CSUSB as well as the professoriate,” wrote professor Todd Jennings, as chair of the university’s outstanding professor selection committee, in a letter to CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales in nominating Delgado for the university’s top teaching honor. “The announcement of this award will undoubtedly be applauded by the campus community.”
A portion of the university’s press announcement follows below:
Delgado, who lives in Forest Falls with wife Jean, a CSUSB lecturer, and their three children, was teaching his advanced poetry class on Monday, April 29, when he learned that he had received the university’s top teaching honor.
The announcement came when Morales barged into the classroom accompanied by a group of faculty members who were previous award winners, along with colleagues, administration officials and one special guest – San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris.
A beaming Morales embraced the stunned Delgado, who watched the visitors walk in accompanied by his wife, Jean, and their daughters Anna and Clara. Morales then explained to the startled students that their professor had been named Cal State San Bernardino’s Outstanding Professor for the year.
“I have dubbed Juan ‘El Professor,’ ‘El Jefe.’ What a great, what a fabulous, fabulous faculty member,” Morales said. “Since 1988, he has touched generations of students, generations of creative writers. He has chaired the English department; he chaired the communication studies department. He’s worked for the provost, and he has served on countless, countless committees.”
Juan “really represents what’s great about this university and our faculty. He really is a faculty leader in so many different ways, in the classroom, in service. He’s an internationally renowned poet, recognized by his colleagues across the country and across the world,” Morales said.
Morris praised Delgado as an inspiration to the city’s 53,000 students.
“What you do in the department of English as a poet, as a scribe of the human condition, a lot the kids in our city need that inspiration that comes from poetry to stay in school and not to drop out,” Morris said.
Delgado said he was humbled by the award and the show of support from previous winners, colleagues and friends who were part of the “ambush.”
“A lot of the people in this room are my heroes,” said Delgado, who also credited his wife for her support. “She’s been one my models as a teacher and a human being.”
Later Delgado said this would always be a special day for him.
“I’ve had recognition in other ways, grants and book and things like that,” Delgado said. “But this will always be very close to me.”
Committee chair Jennings wrote, “In the classroom, professor Delgado is, to borrow words frequently used in student evaluations, passionate and inspiring. He has taught a staggering array of over 25 courses in his field, supervised dozens of master’s theses, developed new courses, and was instrumental in the development of the CSUSB Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
“More importantly, however, are the ways he is influencing the lives of students in their learning, their abilities to access creative writing, and their identities as creative people themselves,” Jennings wrote. “Among his student writers and majors, the power of his mentoring and instruction is undeniable. But even among students who admitted in the evaluations that they did not enter his class with an appreciation or enjoyment of the subject, they reported they left his courses with a nurtured ability to enjoy and benefit from creative writing and poetry.”