2022 Julian Ross Award For Excellence In Teaching Award — M. Soledad Caballero

M. Soledad Caballero
M. Soledad Caballero, Ph.D.

Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies M. Soledad Caballero’s passion for teaching, literature, and advocacy has made a lasting, positive difference in the Allegheny College community — and in the lives of her students.

Professor Caballero’s students describe her as very welcoming, patient, and helpful, both in and out of class.

“Dr. Caballero shows a passion and love for literature through her teaching,” says Justine Eicker ’14. “Of the classes I took from her, she showed in-depth knowledge of the literature she was teaching. She also was able to convey expertise in critical thinking and discussion, as well as writing. She challenged her students to reach their full potential.”

Professor Caballero employs a student-centric strategy to accommodate a variety of different learning styles. She uses this approach to prepare content for lectures, tailoring them for each class.

Rather than creating an intimidating or stressful environment, Professor Caballero coaches and motivates her students to approach class discussion in the most comfortable way. However, her expectations for students remain high.

“While she was not my Junior Seminar professor, I went to her several times for help,” says Tasha Riggins ’05. “I knew her and felt comfortable with her so I’d take some of my class questions or issues to her.”

Professor Caballero’s commitment to advocacy and support goes beyond the classroom.

Notes Professor of Psychology Aimee Knupsky: “As an LGBTQ faculty member, I felt very isolated and Dr. Caballero was a source of support — helping me to navigate my new environment, supporting me through my teaching development, and always providing a source of strength.”

With other faculty, staff, and community members, Professor Caballero co-developed the Sister Circle, which brought female students of color together to discuss life at Allegheny College and academic achievement. She actively sought to better the lives of these students by sharing experiences, providing counsel, and ensuring access to educational programs. Sometimes Professor Caballero would even help to provide students with food when they could not afford any — a testament to the care for the whole person that she exemplifies.

“Dr. Caballero has a deep commitment to Allegheny College and its community. She does not take this relationship lightly,” says Knupsky. “She challenges us all — from the administration to her students — to think critically about our choices, to think carefully about who we want to be, and to care about our fellow colleagues both on campus, in the Meadville community, and in the larger world. She is a source of inspiration to us all.”