Jonathan Arries has been an inspiration to everyone in MLL and the W&M community. He has been called a “pedagogical frontiersman” and described as “restless, adventurous, unafraid to take risks and enthusiastic about charting new curricular paths.” His energy and vision have, in fact, transformed our community. He is retiring after 23 years of research, teaching, and service to W&M and the greater community.
More than 20 years ago, Jonathan took his freshman seminar students to the Eastern Shore to visit medical clinics serving thousands of Spanish-speaking migrant farmworkers laboring there each summer; and he went on to develop the course in medical interpretation and 4-week, residential summer externship program for undergraduate students who have been providing their services to migrant laborers ever since. This is but one example of many: as the Sharpe Professor for Civic Renewal, Jonathan developed W&M’s CPAL program (Community Partners for Adult Literacy), a student-run tutoring service; over the years he supervised small teams of student-researchers in Central America—initially in Honduras, and more recently in Nicaragua—and partnered with native Managua-based elementary school teachers working in low-income school systems; and when Latin American Studies created the Border Program, he jumped in, teaching “Field Research in the Borderlands” and leading teams of students along with faculty in Philosophy and Anthropology to investigate issues related to the cultures of immigration, displacement, and human rights abuses. Last, but not least, Jonathan’s intrepid nature led him across campus to work with the School of Education long before interdisciplinary cross-school initiatives were being championed by the administration. As co-founder, with Katherine Kulick, of the department’s program for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), he built a minor that awards dual certification in ESL (English as a Second Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), and that has served both School of Education Master’s students and undergraduates seeking that certification.
The depth and breadth of Jonathan’s contributions in faculty governance over the years is truly inspiring. In addition to assuming the coveted role of Hispanic Studies Program Director several times, he served on some of the most labor-intensive committees in the department, chaired its Personnel Committee, and contributed to the critical work of the College’s Judicial Council, Committee for Academic Status, International Studies Committee, and the Faculty Assembly.
In recognition of Jonathan’s deep and abiding contributions to undergraduate education at William & Mary, he was appointed University Professor for Teaching Excellence and the Robert F. Sharpe and Jane A. Sharp Associate Professor of Civic Renewal and Social Entrepreneurship. Most recently, in 2015, Jonathan was honored with the distinguished Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching. A
This article has been excerpted from Silvia Tendeciarz’s remarks at Jonathan’s Retirement Party at the Muscarelle Museum of Art on May 2, 2018.