Office Hours - Hakim Williams

Hakim Williams

I finished my undergrad studies at a liberal arts college with a 3.94 GPA and a psychology minor, yet I did not know what I wanted to do thereafter. I began voraciously consuming everything I could find on Gandhi, while I worked in after school programs in New York City. One day, I literally Googled the words “education” and “peace” online and found a peace education program at Columbia University. That was my “aha moment;” I wanted that program and nothing else!

After being turned down three times for the doctoral program, I finally got accepted. Through the rejections, I kept a firm gaze on my personal prize: enacting social change in the field of education. Gandhi’s guidance to “be the change you wish to see in the world” undergirds the urgency with which I live my life.

This is the story I share with students often to encourage them in knowing that often in life we have to fight for the alternative visions we have crafted.

This is my second year at Gettysburg College, and I am having the time of my life. I teach courses on globalization, the intersections of postcoloniality and race, gender and identity, human rights, and education for social change. I share my experiences about growing up as a very poor kid in Trinidad & Tobago, clinging to the only possession no one could take away: my education. It is this positionality that fostered in me an insatiable desire to study structural violence and educational inequities in my home country. My long-term goal is to be part of an educational revolution in the Caribbean and I’m just getting started.

In my classes, I often ask students “what is your passion?” With keen interest, I watch many wriggle in their seats trying to figure out what answer I am seeking. But by the end of the semester, they realize what one of mine is: teaching, co-constructing knowledge and interrogating the status quo. Hopefully, they have realized that I am in the business of inciting within them an excitement for learning and a fire for social justice.

Prof. Williams earned his BA from St. Francis College, MA in International Educational Development, MEd in Comparative and International Education, and EdD from Teachers College at Columbia University. He joined the Gettysburg College faculty in 2012 and is an assistant professor in Africana Studies and Education.

Posted: Wed, 26 Mar 2014

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