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CTE: Power Lunch: The Socratic Method and Critical Thinking

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
Feb 8, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:25 PM

Dr. James S. Cutsinger, Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year

Considered the highest honor for teaching, the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award is given annually to a truly exceptional educator. The 2011 awardee is Dr. James S. Cutsinger, a graduate of Harvard University and, since 1980, a member of USC’s Religious Studies faculty, where he currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies.  This award adds to his many awards which reflect his students’ respect for his commitment to undergraduate teaching at the highest level. As one student puts it, “Professor Cutsinger does an incredible job of bringing complicated material to life in a way that engages our minds. He makes us think critically about our opinions and beliefs and truly evaluate them in depth. He adroitly handles the material he teaches, with equal amounts of information and wit, one of the best ways to keep us engaged.”

 Professor Cutsinger attributes much of his success in the classroom to his use of the Socratic method, and he will focus his presentation on this topic. His main aim in teaching, to quote from his website, is to “exhibit and promote a method of intellectual inquiry.... Questions are asked, proportions suggested, ideas plotted on spectrums in order to stimulate a specific manner of thinking, one that will persist when the details of a given course are forgotten. [Cutsinger] finds that this pedagogy generates a certain intensity: students quickly sense that they are contributors to a larger dialogue, whose significance transcends deadlines and grades.”  The Center for Teaching Excellence invites all who teach at USC to join us for a light lunch and an interactive lecture with Professor Cutsinger.

 *Registration is required to participate in this Power Lunch. Please register by Thursday, February 2, 2012 online at