Q&A with 2015-16 Outstanding Faculty Award (Scholar) honoree
…Professor of Spanish Jose Castro-Urioste
This is the last in a series of six Q&A profiles focusing on PNW’s 2015-16 Outstanding Faculty Award recipients. Professor of Spanish Jose Castro-Urioste earned Outstanding Faculty honors for Scholarship.
Q: What is your academic title and how long have you served Purdue University Northwest / Purdue University Calumet?
JCU: I am a Professor of Spanish, and I came to Purdue University Calumet in August, 1998.
Q: What are your primary areas of scholarly activity?
JCU: I am a writer of fiction and theater. I have also published several books and research articles on Latin American/ US Latino Literature.
Q: Of which of your scholarly achievements are you most proud and why?
JCU: I am proud of all my scholarly achievements. However, receiving the Outstanding Scholar Award 2015-16 was very special. As I mentioned the day of the convocation when I received this recognition, in the last several years the role of the humanities has been questioned here, in the USA, in Latin America, and in Europe. Receiving the Outstanding Scholar Award, as a Literature Professor, indicates the humanities have a crucial and important role at Purdue University Northwest.
Q: How has your commitment to scholarship enhanced you as a Purdue Northwest faculty member?
JCU: I believe scholarship is an essential part of the definition of what a university should be. An institution of higher education without a scholarship agenda cannot be considered a university. I think my commitment to scholarship can encourage my students to develop their own research agendas.
Q: How did you develop your interest and passion for your primary field of scholarly activity?
JCU: When I was 12 or 13-years-old, I knew that I was going to be a writer. When I was 14-years-old, I knew that I was going to come to the USA to study literature at a doctoral program. As you can notice, I always have had a clear goal. Of course, in order to achieve those goals, it is necessary to become prepared and to develop discipline.
Q: How do you engage your students in scholarly activities?
JCU: First, I encourage them to participate in conferences–for example, the conference that is organized yearly by CHESS–and to submit articles to undergraduate journals. Several of our students have published their poems, short stories and plays in the journal, Nuestra Voz/Our voice, published by our department.
This journal was presented last semester, and students had the opportunity to read their poems, short stories and plays. I also encourage my students to continue graduate studies.
Q: How has your scholarly engagement affected the way you look at and live within our society?
JCU: A scholar –and a writer, too– develops the capacity to question unfair rules and unfair situations. A scholar is a witness of his/her society and a witness of his/her time. We are aware that we live in a society that is suffering a crisis: the recent political campaign, the result of the presidential election, and a society that today is strongly divided are examples of the complex crises in which we are living in the United States. We, as scholars, have the ethical obligation to express what is going on in our society and to propose possible solutions.