Comparative Literature graduate student Sahin Acikgoz has been awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Prize by the Rackham Graduate School. A Junior Fellow at the Sweetland Center for Writing, Sahin has completed both the CRLT Graduate Teacher Certificate and the Rackham DEI Certificate. He has committed time and energy into developing and constantly improving transformative pedagogical skills.

Sahin joined the department in 2013 and has taught in the departments of Comparative Literature, English, and Women’s Studies. Those courses, all of Sahin’s own design, reveal in their variety a profound commitment to justice and to giving voice to often-silenced members of society. Topics include: Transfeminist Poetics and Aesthetics, Ethics, Praxis, and Gender of Translation, Writing from the Margins: Gender, Race, Sexuality, Class, and Disability.

Sahin’s courses explore complex issues and address topics with which some students may be uncomfortable. Sahin, however, creates a warm and welcoming classroom environment for all students, no matter their views or identity. Student letters of support show a teacher passionately committed to social justice, intellectual rigor, and interpersonal kindness.

“He was an engaging facilitator for class discussions and swiftly navigated more tense or sensitive discourse that arose, " wrote one. Another wrote, “he also made sure to enlighten students who were not as aware of the respectful terms in a supportive and non-condescending way.”

In the a warm and respectful environment of Sahin’s classroom, students are able to fully engage the challenging texts on the syllabus. “The readings that Sahin assigned to us challenged me deeply – it has been the only time in my academic career thus far that I have encountered such complex prose and intricate ideas. I credit an enormous growth in my critical thinking skills to these academic challenges. . . Sahin encouraged us to be critical of the texts we read, to challenge them, synthesize them, and form nuanced responses to them,” wrote one student.

One final student comment encapsulates the impact of Sahin’s combination of warmth and challenge: “Sahin taught me to carefully analyze arguments before accepting them. My growth is evident in my writings from the course, but I feel it is even more apparent in the way that I assess the world around me.”

We are honored to count Sahin as one of our Graduate Student Instructors, and offer him our warmest congratulations for this well-deserved award.