“I’m a liberal arts professor at heart,” says Glaude, who teaches in the religion department and the Department of African American Studies. “I came to Princeton because of its emphasis on undergraduate education.” Glaude is especially proud of having encouraged some of his best students to pursue careers as teachers.
Students see Glaude’s passion for teaching in the classroom, in courses such as “Black Power and Its Theology of Liberation” and “Religion and the Tradition of Social Theory.” Later, if they work with Glaude on their senior theses, they get an opportunity to join a unique learning partnership. For Glaude, it’s definitely a situation of give and take. He’s cited students’ research in his own work, and even used a student’s thesis as an epigraph for his latest book. “If you have a wonderful relationship with a student,” he says, “you want to generate an environment where you’re engaged in the exchanging of ideas. You don’t want to reproduce hierarchy. I’ve learned so much working independently with students.”
What his students may not know is how far his reach extends beyond the classroom and into the lives of people across the country. The author of several highly regarded books and articles on topics relating to the Black experience, Glaude has also been instrumental in widening the reach of scholarship on issues of race and politics through a 15-week course, “Covenant Curriculum: A Study of Black Democratic Action.” Glaude worked with fellow Princeton professor Cornel West to develop the online course for use by church groups, book clubs and civic societies around the country.
“The curriculum demonstrates various ways African Americans have struggled for democratic ideals,” says Glaude. “It seeks to inform and empower our contemporary efforts in light of the past.” These efforts inside and out of the classroom serve some of Glaude’s most cherished goals: offering equal educational opportunities for all and awakening an awareness and appreciation of race in all students.
According to Glaude, Princeton provides an excellent context for pursuing these goals. In addition to its remarkable financial aid program, which helps all students to attend regardless of financial circumstances, Princeton offers unique learning experiences through its innovative African American studies department.
At Princeton, Glaude offers a perspective that speaks specifically to the experiences of Black students and that infuses the curriculum across all disciplines with questions and conversations surrounding race and the Black experience.
“[Students of color] can come into this institution,” Glaude says, “acquire the requisite tools to make their dreams possible and, in the process, leave an imprint on Princeton as Princeton tries to leave an imprint on them.”