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Paloma Anacelia Martinez-Cruz

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2021

Paloma Anacelia Martinez-Cruz, associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, has received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, which annually recognizes up to 10 faculty for their teaching excellence. Awardees are nominated by students, faculty and alumni and are chosen by a committee of students, previous recipients and alumni.

Martinez-Cruz excels as an educator because of the energy, passion and care she brings into her classroom.

“She utilizes accessible performance pedagogies, prompting students to embody the knowledge they are gaining in her class in order to empower them to take that knowledge to the real world,” a graduate student who nominated her wrote. “Her assignments focus on community engagement and giving back to said communities. ... Furthermore, she makes it clear that within and outside classroom walls, she stands with her students of color and LGBTQ students.”

Martinez-Cruz’s research focuses on performance and popular culture, borderlands and Indigenous studies, and gender and power in Latinx  cultures. Her courses include feminist theory and practice, critical race theory, decolonial epistemologies, performance pedagogy, and gender and power in the Americas.

“In (Dr. Martinez-Cruz’s) class, I've witnessed students come out publicly for the first time,” the student wrote. “I've heard people unpack generational traumas, and I've even heard students deal with their own ignorance and biases ready to work towards justice. A learning community in which no one is left behind is hard to come by, but (she) has mastered creating just the pedagogy to ensure that every class feels like a true circle of friends.”

Martinez-Cruz and other recipients will receive a $5,000 honorarium, as well as an increase of $1,200 to their base salary. Awardees are also inducted into Ohio State’s Academy of Teaching.