Politics is in a constant state of change. Adrian Pantoja, professor of political studies and Chicano studies, discusses his love of navigating the current political scene with his students. “The world of politics is not static, it’s ever-changing and it’s important to adapt to that.”
One of the things that really excites me about being a professor at Pitzer College is that no class is ever the same. The students keep you on your toes and I love that. It makes things exciting, makes things fresh, it’s not the same lecture over and over again. My name is Adrian Pantoja and I’m a professor of Political Studies and Chicano Studies at Pitzer College.
I was drawn to Political Studies and Chicano Studies because of my interest in the Latino population. I am Latino and one of the things that I quickly realized when I went to college and higher education was that there was little information about this population. Latinos had become the largest minority group in the United States. Very little information about their political values, very little information about their core beliefs, and so my role as a professor was to fill this gap. One of the things that’s really unique about being a professor at Pitzer College is that every class that I teach is a seminar-style class. I don’t come in as the expert with all of the information and just disseminate that information to students. I come in and I present to them a puzzle, a puzzle that I’m working on at this moment in time. I don’t have the answer to that puzzle but collaboratively, collectively, we can probably come up with a better answer, at least an answer that’s much more sophisticated than the one that is being put out there by the media.
I became a professor because I was interested in trying to dispel many myths about the Latino population and I enjoy doing research. But one of the things that really drew me to being a professor is the opportunity to work one-on-one with students. At Pitzer College, the student/faculty ratio allows you to develop those ties, that relationship, but those relationships are actually established prior to their arrival.
More recently, my wife and I discovered that there were a couple of students flying in from Houston. Their parents weren’t able to make the trip with them, and so my wife and I picked them up at the airport. And so it was really nice to go and pick them up and bring them to Pitzer, and in many ways serve as a proxy parent, but that’s not unusual here at Pitzer College. I love my interactions in the classroom, I love the seminar-style teaching that we do, but equally as important, as valuable to me are the connections that take place outside the classroom.
My name is Adrian Pantoja and I’m a Pitzer professor.