University at Albany

Excellence in Teaching (Full Time)

Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. Four faculty members received this tribute in 2004 for Excellence in Teaching (Full Time).

Ron McClamrockRon McClamrockPhilosophy

A member of the University faculty since 1992, Professor Ron McClamrock is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy. Equally at home in both large, introductory courses and small advanced courses, McClamrock is considered a creative teacher who uses examples in contemporary film, science fiction and sports to pique students’ interest in the examination of philosophical tenets.

“I try to start an internal dialogue for them by directly challenging particular beliefs they bring to the subject matter, as I sometimes say to them, if they walk away from the class saying ‘that can’t be right because’ … then I’ve done a central part of my job,” he wrote in his Statement of Teaching Philosophy. “Sometimes, those might be beliefs that they themselves would recognize as ‘philosophical’. But quite often, they are things that are to them more surprising, in part, because they didn’t think of them as part of ‘philosophy,’ but as more mundane things that they clearly felt they knew. If I can push them to see a tension in these well-entrenched beliefs, I can get them to take up the themes of the course in their own internal examination of their beliefs and perceptions, and to begin the process of actively engaging in the material and trying to think critically about it.”

Questioning things usually not questioned is one of his teaching themes. He is an expert at masterfully explaining complex philosophical ideas and arguments. “[He] has an uncanny way of making the hardest arguments clear, while not reducing them to a form unrecognizably simple compared to the original; preserving their complexity while making them understandable,” wrote one student.

McClamrock is currently working on a second book. In addition to his academic publications, he has written several popular pieces that have been reprinted in a variety of media. Highly accessible to his students, McClamrock is known for his generous office hours and his frequent “walk and talk” sessions after class. He was the 2003 faculty recipient of the Disabled Student Service Outstanding Achievement Award. Wrote one former Ph.D. student, “Prof. McClamrock’s commitment to his students continues even after his official duties to them have ended.”

Excellence in Teaching (Full Time)

Ariel Caticha Ron McClamrock David Smith David G. Wagner
Ariel Caticha

David Smith
David G.


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