Dr. David Williams and Belmont Abbey College would like to congratulate Dr. Joseph Wysocki, the winner of the 2016-2017 Adrian Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Wysocki is an Associate Professor of Government and Political Philosophy and Director of the St. Thomas More Scholarship Program. A graduate of Belmont Abbey’s Honors Institute (‘04), Dr. Wysocki pursued graduate studies at Baylor University, where he completed a master’s degree in political science and a doctorate in political philosophy, with a dissertation titled “Rhetorical Practice in Congress: A New Way to Understand Institutional Decline.” After graduate school, Dr. Wysocki returned to the Abbey to teach government and political philosophy.
The Adrian Award for Teaching Excellence was established with the support of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Adrian in 1984 to recognize and reward outstanding teaching performance by faculty members at Belmont Abbey College. For this year, the committee’s citation reads:
“In his time at the Abbey, Dr. Joseph Wysocki has generously given himself to Belmont Abbey College, both inside and outside the classroom, and his colleagues frequently notice his passionate commitment to the Abbey and its students, and to the personal pursuit of the very things he strives to pass on to his students. One colleague’s extended praise of Dr. Wysocki epitomizes the opinion of many of his peers:
In the classroom, Dr. Wysocki is clear, knowledgeable, and possessed of wit and good humor. Outside of the classroom, he is consistently approachable and has generously received students into his home on a variety of occasions. Very tellingly, also, Dr. Wysocki’s questions and observations to me on a number of occasions underline his awareness of a need that we all have: ongoing growth in knowledge of the subject matter of our disciplines and in the ways of masterful teaching. Such humility or modesty strikes me as indispensable to excellent teaching.
Dr. Wysocki has been a shining presence on our campus. He has been so without bluster and without calling attention to himself. He has been energetic, courteous, considerate, and thoughtful. Not only recently, but over the years he has shown that he is a student of things that matter most, an exceptional teacher, a caring friend and colleague. In deeds more than words, in example more than exhortations, Dr. Wysocki lives the difficult quest for that which is true and good.
His students are equally enthusiastic in their high esteem for Dr. Wysocki, if not more so, and their nominations stress the same qualities as his colleagues, noting his masterful teaching and devotion to students outside the classroom, even to the point of regularly opening his home to students. Many expressions of highest praise for Dr. Wysocki’s exemplary life and teaching were poured out by his students in the nominations. One student wrote, “Dr. Wysocki is an incredible teacher. He is clear and organized, engaging and intelligent. He has had a deep impact on my moral and intellectual life… and has truly been an invaluable blessing during my time at the Abbey.” After noting that Dr. Wysocki is an excellent advisor and program director, another said: “I have gotten to know him as a friend through hiking and canoe trips, and also through game nights and cookouts at his home. Dr. Wysocki is an all-around excellent professor, friend, academic, and Catholic, and anybody who truly knows the man will say the same. He is an exemplary role model for his students and is able to inflame their hearts with a desire for knowledge and virtue through his own zeal for living the good life, both in his classes and through his every contribution to Belmont Abbey College.”