Dr. Darren Wheelock honored with Teaching Excellence Award

Dr. Darren Wheelock is an associate professor of social and cultural sciences in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. He is also a 2020 recipient of the John P. Raynor, S.J. Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Teaching Excellence Awards are the highest honor bestowed upon Marquette faculty members. Recipients are nominated by colleagues and students for demonstrating excellence as teacher-scholars.

Wheelock has built a reputation as a professor who pushes students to think critically and intentionally about issues of great importance to the Marquette community and beyond. Department colleagues recognize Wheelock as priding himself on living out Marquette’s Jesuit principles and values.

Dr. Wheelock’s family.

A colleague who nominated Wheelock for the award specifically pointed out Wheelock’s care for his students, “Darren not only knows each student by his or her name, he also invests time getting to know them on a much deeper and more holistic level. Darren believes that to teach in a Jesuit institution, and to follow its mission, he must care for the whole student. This means Darren spends time — both in and out of the classroom — getting to know his students.”

One student wrote that Wheelock’s words of encouragement have had a long-lasting, positive impact on their life and education.

Dr. Wheelock with Marquette and Sogang University students during their visit to a Korean prison just outside Seoul, South Korea. (Summer, 2016)

“One day after class, Dr. Wheelock told me that he appreciated my contributions to an earlier discussion and asked if I had ever considered conducting research in the future. I had not and couldn’t fathom myself as a young African American woman in such an esteemed position,” she wrote in her nomination letter. “Yet, both throughout the remainder of the course and even after the course, he often reminded me criminology and sociology needed someone with my unique insight. Though he may not have known at the time, those words encouraged me to begin imagining what was possible — and for that I am forever grateful.”

Wheelock said his teaching is inspired by the capacity for human action, community and change.

An image taken by Dr. Wheelock during a Black Lives Matter protest in Milwaukee this past spring.

“As a criminologist, much of my research and scholarship focuses on criminal justice practices that strip people of fundamental dignity and rights or on public support for those policies,” Wheelock said. “Contemporary criminal justice is rife with problems including, but not limited to, mass incarceration; police violence and surveillance that frequently targets communities of color; social and economic penalties of arrest and pretrial detention; the countless challenges for released prisoners that seek to improve their lives. Teaching provides an opportunity to reorient my focus from the persistence of these issues to needed reforms and changes.”

Wheelock’s investment and dedication to his profession has provided his students with the initiative, drive and encouragement to succeed.

Congratulations to Marquette University’s faculty and staff award recipients for the 2019–20 academic year. Marquette is blessed to have some of the most dedicated and talented faculty and staff members in higher education. And the university holds in high esteem its tradition to honor these remarkable individuals at awards and recognition ceremonies throughout each spring semester.

Aligned with our mission, these recipients display the search for truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others.

Please read on, and enjoy profiles of the deserving women and men who were recognized this spring.