Sakina Bryant

Excellence in Teaching Award, 2018
English Department, Philosophy Department

For me, to educate means we must be honest, fierce, vulnerable, together, and willing to turn orthodoxies on their heads.

Sakina Bryant joined the Sonoma State lecturer faculty in 2013. She teaches in both the English Department as well as in the Philosophy Department, weaving together these two disciplines for introductory students. 

In addition to teaching GE composition, critical thinking, introductory literature, and other Humanities courses, Professor Bryant teaches classes informed by her post/humanist ethical commitments: in human and animal ontology, the aesthetics of Fascism, Science Fiction and Identity, and Shakespeare. She has additional interests in World Literature.

While teaching the most challenging and yet foundational introductory courses, Professor Bryant engages students with ideas drawn from the cutting edge of the interdisciplinary Humanities, attracting many of them into the major or minor, while co-constructing exciting academic micro-communities. 

Her teaching philosophy presumes that students always have an innate desire to learn, that learning is a basic human drive, and that education is a symbiotic exchange where everyone flourishes, together. She meets the wide variety of learning outcomes that she is assigned through simple and direct means -- honest, engaged dialogue with the individual, diverse students in her courses. 

Her ultimate learning outcome is always that a student has some meaningful experience that transcends their brief tenure at the university; she has been known to go impromptu turtle spotting with students, to hold tea parties, to screen B-movies of exceptional merit, and to encourage students to befriend one another. An avid traveler, she has volunteered to teach English to novice Buddhist monks in Laos, she has spent time at a wild elephant sanctuary, and she has hiked with howler monkeys in the jungles of Mexico. She encourages all of her students to study abroad and to see everything as an opportunity for education. 

A member of the Academic Senate, chair and member of multiple committees, WIC co-coordinator from the inception of this initiative, her involvement in SSU's well-being is an extension of her belief in creating exceptional academic spaces for human beings to thrive."