Boyung Lee, 2012 Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

May 10, 2012 - Graduate Theological Union announced Pacific School of Religion Professor Boyung Lee as the 2012 recipient of its Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award during its May Commencement ceremony.

The selection committee said in its announcement that Lee "embodies in an exemplary way the values of 'interreligious sensitivity and commitment,' 'interdisciplinary approach and content in teaching,' 'sensitivity to ethnic and cultural diversity,' and 'creative and effective classroom pedagogical methods and performance.'

In response to accepting the award, Lee said, "Most of my teachings for doctoral students have been through special reading courses on postcolonial, poststructuralist, feminist or critical pedagogies and through my ongoing mentoring work for them, especially for students of color. I consider my mentoring work for students of color as important as my classroom teachings, and thus I have offered two workshops for women of color students during this academic year through the Women’s Studies in Religion Program."

Lee strives to teach from Asian American and postcolonial feminist perspectives, and says that she is committed to paying attention to her implicit and null curriculum as well as explicit curriculum. From her perspective, the explicit curriculum, one that is the actual content, which is consciously and intentionally presented as the teachings of the class. Implicit curriculum is one that, through its environment, includes the way teachers teach and interact with students. Null curriculum are those ideas and subjects in educational programs that are sidestepped. 

Lee strives not to provide Western metanarratives in her classes by lifting up the scholarships and voices of the minoritized communities.  She also encourages her students to reflect critically on their own and their community’s implicit and null curricula, considering question such as: “Are you really teaching what you say you are teaching—especially education for justice and compassion?”,  “Do the processes of education embody the contents of education—is the process as justice-oriented as are the contents?”,  “Who benefits from what we teach and do?,  Who and what is missing?” 

Lee spend lots of time outside of the classroom to mentor students, and tries to help them find their own voice and to develop a distinctive pedagogy.