Fearless: Professor Hakim Williams

From the Surge Blog. Surge is a student blog at Gettysburg College where systemic issues of justice matter.


With his consistently energetic and enthusiastic personality, his progressive teaching methods using discussion and debate in the classroom, and his desire for his students to develop more comprehensive understandings of the problems facing education in a global context, Dr. Hakim Williams fearlessly uses his passion for change and justice in education to enlighten his students, sharpen their critical thinking skills, and change their outlooks on the future.

Dr. Hakim Williams teaches in the Africana Studies and Education Departments on campus, specifically focusing on issues of social change, human rights, and education. Originally from Trinidad, Dr. Williams brings his firsthand experience into the classroom, pulling from both his personal life and his PhD doctoral work to make issues real and relevant for his students. “He is so passionate and dedicated to his work in the Caribbean—and everything he does—that his classroom is very interactive and focused on how we can learn about these issues together,” says Erin O’Connor, one of his students. “He really values what students know, and embodied in all of his classes is reflection on what we talk and read about during the semester so that we can learn from ourselves and each other.”

Last semester, Dr. Williams was recognized at Fall Honors Day for his exceptional teaching methods, receiving the Dr. Ralph Cavaliere Endowed Teaching Award. “His education philosophy is very progressive,” says Yaou Liu, another one of his students. “His classes are very student-centered, inquiry-based, and democratic. He really sees us as his peers, so we can debate with him, ask questions, and don’t have to agree with what he says. It’s unique to have a professor who interacts in debates and doesn’t mind intellectual ‘fights.’”

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