About the Award
The Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award recognizes excellence in contributing directly and indirectly to student learning through teaching, research, and creative activities; advising; academic program development; and educational leadership.
Keith Mayes received this award at the Distinguished Teaching Awards ceremony on April 17, 2018.
Each year, the Alumni Association is proud to join the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in supporting the Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of U of M educators. Recipients of the awards are inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
About Keith Mayes
- Associate Professor
- Department of African American & African Studies
- College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
In courses like The Civil Rights and Black Power Movement and Deconstructing the Welfare State, Keith Mayes helps students achieve a greater awareness and understanding of social justice. Key to this outcome is his skill in creating a safe space for them to talk openly and honestly about sensitive subjects.
“His genius was his willingness to allow students to debate one another and stepping in when the debate became unproductive,” says a former student.
As a speaker, “his way with words and concepts will have you on the edge of your seat just begging for more,” says another.
As director of undergraduate studies for the Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS), Mayes revised the curriculum and helped faculty launch new courses more in alignment with U of M liberal education requirements. And as a mentor, he has helped countless students forge their own paths to success. For example, even while serving as department chair, he worked closely with a student to help her graduate in four years while adding AAAS as a third major.
For some students, Mayes’ impact is even more deeply personal.
“Seeing an African American male professor my freshman year changed my perspective on what was possible,” a former student says. “I did not think I could get a doctorate until the day Keith Mayes walked into the Willey Hall auditorium.”
“I allow students to revel in and contribute their own ideas and interpretations of the course materials, then challenge those positions by introducing provocative statements about black life and culture.”
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