Howard Sklar: International Teacher of the Year

Each year the Student Union of the University of Helsinki honours an international teacher who has made a unique contribution to the learning opportunities for their students.

This year Howard Sklar, Ph.D. at the Department of Modern Languages, English Philology, was voted Best International Teacher of the Year by the Student Union (HYY). Howard Sklar received the prize during the International Evening.

As a university teacher there are many different aspects to your job. How do deal with them?

– One of the best aspects of my job is my work with students, and especially discussions about issues that are meaningful to them, as well as to me. I also enjoy my work with my colleagues, and the intellectual climate that continues to motivate me to do further research, Sklar explains.

– I think that it’s very important for teachers to listen to their students, and to take their ideas seriously. I believe that teachers can be important facilitators of student learning, if they take the time to work with and listen to their students.  I’m not sure how well I do this, but I try!

– With so many fine teachers at this university, including my colleagues in the English Philology Unit, I am delighted and truly honoured by this recognition.

– My study for the MA at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, genuinely shaped my approach to research. There was a strong emphasis on literary hermeneutics and the examination of original source material. I also developed an interest in two areas of literary study that continue to guide my approach to the study of literature: narratology and the ethical study of literature, Howard Sklar explains.

– During my study for the PhD at the University of Helsinki, I developed the confidence – with the encouragement of my fine supervisors – to establish my own direction as a researcher, and my own voice as a literary scholar.  I also have connected my long experience as a public school teacher with my growing interest in teaching at the university level.

Howard Sklar did his BA in English Language and Literature at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He continued with his MA at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and did his PhD at the University of Helsinki.