Lucas Wilson Awarded Mount Holyoke College Faculty Award for Teaching
Lucas is clearly one of the most beloved faculty members on campus. His presence, wisdom, and compassion are unmistakable, and his mentoring of students provides a model that we can all learn from.
As a product of a historically Black college, Lucas Wilson was destined to teach and mentor at the oldest women’s college in the country. Both places devote attention, care, and time to students whose needs are not always prioritized by most institutions. Over his decades of teaching at the College, Lucas has inspired and mentored countless students in the areas of political economy, critical race theory, restorative justice, and Black studies.
Lucas is a model of compassion and rigor in his engagement with students. He has constructed a rigorous yet accessible learning environment, which is an exceptionally difficult balance to strike when bringing together disciplines across the social sciences and the humanities. He embraces a learning-centered teaching style that allows for a multidirectional flow of knowledge between him and the students. In his classroom, Lucas creates a unique atmosphere characterized by kindness, intellectual curiosity, and knowing laughter that allows students to feel comfortable. At the same time Lucas expects a great deal from his students, prioritizing growth and integrity in their demonstration of knowledge. Students admire and appreciate Lucas’s willingness to learn from them, and the respect he accords their ideas instills a sense of confidence in their ability to contribute to a community of learning.
Lucas has been at the forefront of many pedagogical innovations at the college from teaching critical race theory to embedding “restorative justice” into the curriculum. He has taught generations of students critical race theory in ways that have profoundly changed the way they think of themselves, and their place in the world. Lucas’ long and deep intellectual engagement with race, imprisonment, economics, and community has been a gift to students, faculty and the college alike. He pioneered the creation of community-based learning courses that paired Mount Holyoke students with incarcerated students inside correctional facilities. In these classes, Lucas offered a model of community engagement by teaching restorative justice in a manner that brings students, incarcerated folks, and the formerly incarcerated into shared knowledge production.
Lucas is clearly one of the most beloved faculty members on campus. His presence, wisdom, and compassion are unmistakable, and his mentoring of students provides a model that we can all learn from. Lucas exhibits the uncanny ability to celebrate his students individually, especially at the most crucial and memorable moments in their lives. Their gratitude to him is always profound. Several of his former students, now parents of current students, tell their children to be sure to connect with Lucas once they are on campus. They want their children to experience the very same thought, care, and time he invested in their own education and development.
Lucas’ contributions to the campus, his leadership and his warm heart are a gift to all of us. The College would not be the same without him.
We are thrilled to present Lucas Wilson with the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Award for Teaching. Congratulations, Lucas.