Lewis and Clark Community College has named Professor of Philosophy Gerald Mozur as its Spring 2021 Illinois Community College Trustees Association Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award nominee.
Mozur has taught every philosophy class at LCCC, including Introduction to Philosophy, Fundamentals of Logical Reasoning, Ethics, Eastern Philosophy and Biomedical Ethics.
“I am humbled by this award,” Mozur said. “It is indeed a high honor for the simple reason that Lewis and Clark, as a whole, has an outstanding group of faculty members in all disciplines, many of whom are worthy of the award.”
Mozur earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Centre College of Kentucky, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from University of Kentucky and a doctorate in philosophy from Washington University, St. Louis.
Prior to joining LCCC as a full-time faculty member in the fall of 1997, Mozur taught while completing his studies at the University of Kentucky from 1980-1985 and at Washington University from 1985-1989. He has held teaching positions at University of Missouri, St. Louis; Webster University; St. Louis Community College at both the Forest Park and Florissant Valley campuses.
Despite his extensive educational background, Mozur never intended to become a teacher.
“I went to graduate school to learn all I could about my area of interest – philosophy,” he said. “I became a teacher in order to continue to do philosophy. Teaching philosophy turned out to be doing philosophy as well.”
LCCC’s Interim Chief Academic Officer and Dean of Transfer Programs Jill Lane believes Mozur is a gifted academic instructor.
“He is dedicated to his students and is passionate about the importance of the content of his philosophy courses as they fit into a larger liberal arts education,” Lane said. “He pays meticulous attention to the assessment of his students’ learning and strives to continuously improve his instruction.”
As a first-generation college student himself, Mozur has much in common with many of his students. He finds working with them and seeing them grow as thinkers and individuals to be a rewarding experience.
“Philosophy is about freedom of thought – to ask questions and pursue the truth,” he said. “The world needs a lot more commitment to truth and my program provides that for the LCCC curriculum.”
Mozur, whose teaching style thrives on dialogue, questions and answers and the Socratic methods of inquiry, recommends philosophy for those who like to ponder large questions relating to justice, truth, knowledge, virtue or the existence of God.
“There is no prescribed philosophy that is taught, except we do teach critical thinking if you want to call that a philosophy,” Mozur said. “Students are free to ask about any philosophy and sharpen their thinking while doing so.”
Assistant Professor of Communications Justin Bernaix believes Mozur’s commitment to philosophy and critical thinking education is evident in his body of work throughout his academic career.
“Lewis and Clark has greatly benefited from his commitment, as well as his service to his students, athletes and colleagues,” Bernaix said. “He is very deserving of this recognition.”
Among his proudest achievements, Mozur chaired a national committee with the American Philosophical Association on philosophy in two-year colleges. He also served a co-chair of the Mission Statement Committee at L&C and was instrumental in developing the school’s mission statement.
Despite his many years of philosophical study and working as an educator, Mozur still has areas of research he would like to develop.
“While working on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant a few years ago, I produced an essay on John Stuart Mill on political discourse,” Mozur said. “I have drawn out further lines of development, so I hope to pursue writing on the basis of that work.”
Among his commitments, Mozur has been LCCC’s head golf coach for five years and has been a member, and/or chair, of many committees.
Mozur has some advice for those considering a career in philosophy.
“Philosophy calls you. It’s not a field you simply take up in your spare time,” he said. “As with many other fields of study, you have to have the drive to pursue it. Philosophy is not a high-paying discipline, you must have intrinsic motivation to succeed.”
Each spring, Lewis and Clark announces an ICCTA Award nominee, chosen by their teaching peers. The Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award recognizes the instructor’s high achievements. A winner among all ICCTA nominees is typically announced in the summer.