Behind the clean-cut appearance, impeccable composure and assertive demeanor, is a man who begins his day at 6:30 in the morning when he is awoken by his 8-year-old daughter, a valued portion of the day. History instructor Christopher Jimenez y West is a man who intermingles his past with the present and integrates it into his teaching.

By incorporating previous diversity work and his background as art curator into his curriculum, Jimenez y West brings a distinct teaching style to students that stretches beyond the classroom.

Previously, the history curator at the California African American Museum and lecturer at the University of Southern California, Jimenez y West has made several stops on his path to becoming a full-time instructor and admits that he had a very different outlook for himself as an undergraduate student at University of California, Berkeley. “If you had asked me where I saw myself I would have said vice president for student affairs,” he said. “Those were the people who I admired.”

After several years of participating in diversity consulting organizations and composing intricate exhibits at CAAM, Jimenez y West realized what his true calling was. “25 percent of my time was lecturing on either African or Mexican American history at USC, and I was curating [the other] 75 percent. I didn’t like the mixture anymore,” he said. “I realized that what I was interested in my day was teaching now.”

Social Sciences instructor Tracy Sachtjen spoke highly of her office mate. “There is no better advocate for students than Professor Jimenez y West. He brings to his lectures a level of intensity that challenges students to rethink the purpose of studying the past,” she said. “His deep dedication to PCC is reflected in his warmth and integrity.”

As an instructor, Jimenez y West has found a way to eloquently intermingle his past into the classroom. “My modern African history midterm project was a museum exhibit and the students, I think, fed off of my love and passion for my curatorial work and really ran with some great exhibitions,” he said.

Additionally, Jimenez y West has worked on bringing a variety of projects to the campus including: the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American Lt. Gov. of the state of California and an exhibit on the historic town of Allensworth. “The benefit I hope is a broadening and complexity to the historical narrative, but that is up to the campus community to decide,” he said.

Former student of Jimenez y West, Humberto Ortiz, sociology / gender and women’s studies, says the instructor’s teaching style goes beyond the classroom.“His honest and passionate engagement with students is unparalleled. He has a gift for providing students with tools and advice that allows students to find answers and solutions on their own,” said Ortiz. “He has taught me many lessons about carrying myself with integrity and about treating other people with dignity. He’s a wise [and] genuine man, and those qualities are what make him stand out.”

In spite of the many twists and turns that Jimenez y West has endured in his day, he passes on some guidance: “Continue the river that I got lucky to flow into, passing on and giving people a sense of who they are. That’s it,” he said. “With rigor, intellectual curiosity, with joy, but not being egotistical about it. Really try to be engaged and connected without making it about you because it’s not about you.”

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