Profiling the ‘Educator of the Year’

Courtesy of UCI Communications

Professor David Theo Goldberg explains the philosophy behind his research and teaching.

The World Technology Network (WTN) acknowledged David Theo Goldberg as Educator of the Year, along with his colleague Cathy N. Davidson (Duke University), for the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) on Oct. 24.

Funded by the MacArthur Foundation for over eight years, the annual international competition has given out an estimated $100 million dollars in digital media and learning.

David Theo Goldberg serves as the director of the system-wide University of California Humanities Research Institute. Goldberg’s mission is to bring  faculty and  graduate students from all 10 UC campuses to work on cross-campus research projects together.

Aside from being the director of the UC Humanities Research Institute, Goldberg also serves as the executive director to the research hub in digital media based on the Irvine campus that has both national and international scope. He is also affiliated with over three departments on campus, including  comparative literature, anthropology, criminology, and law and society.

“[UC Irvine] is unlike almost any other research institute, certainly the Humanities Research Institute, due to the major people here and the major people who came here,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg would like to continue to have a leading impact in the humanities. The world has rapidly changed in the past couple of decades.

“Humanities has always been about thinking about the nature and condition of the human, which has changed dramatically with the impact of technology and technology on our very bodies,” Goldberg said.

Furthermore, he strives to teach his students that learning is fostered by much more than memorization of the day’s lesson — he says it is “about learning from each other and using technology as source of help.”

Goldberg teaches undergraduate students and graduate students at least once a year. He wants his students to produce thoughtful, critical and self-critical engagement of the world in which people find themselves. One of the highlights of his life was to be able to co-teach an undergraduate course with his wife.

Prior to teaching at UCI, Goldberg served for five years as the director for the School of Justice Studies, a Law and Society department at Arizona State University.

His most recent book, “The Threat of Race,” was written to challenge the role of race and racism and the concept of homogeny within kinship groups, which drives individuals to live with others who are the same as they are.

What motivates Goldberg to start writing is simple: “Things sit on me. They bother me. There’s something wrong with this. There’s something wrong with this or that. It bubbles up and when it’s ready to bubble all the way up, then I think, OK, now it’s time to sit down and write something,” he said.

Goldberg has previously won an award for his short film on South Africa entitled “The Island.” In 1978, he conversed with his childhood friend about South Africa, a time when it was entering a crisis moment. After having obtained a propaganda film aimed at foreign investment in South Africa, it was entered into several international film festivals and won a number of awards.

Goldberg urges students to be driven by their interests and what excites their passion.

“Get excited by something, become passionate and pursue it like there is nothing in your way even if you have barriers in the way,” Goldberg said.