Dr. Begoña Caballero-García brings two core values to every class she teaches: a commitment to building community and trust, and dedication to raising awareness while advocating for equity and social change to students, the campus and the community.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion, and what I do in the classroom, is a reflection of me as a person because I have for many years been an advocate of different causes,” says Caballero-García, an associate professor of Spanish. “My passion is to just be the best person I can be and to make sure students understand they can learn from everyone they meet. They can try to do their very best and they can change other people’s lives with their behavior.”

Because of her work in the classroom and the community, Caballero-García is Wofford College’s recipient of the 2023 South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities’ Excellence in Teaching Award. The organization recognized faculty from each of its 21-member colleges and universities. This is the 16th year SCICU has recognized faculty with the awards, which have rigorous guidelines and come with a $3,000 professional development grant.

“Begoña is an exceptional teacher who is always trying new ways to improve student learning and create an inclusive classroom,” according to the letter nominating her for the award. “She's the kind of teacher who leaves a discussion, presentation or workshop where she hears a new idea and tries it the next class.”

Caballero-García received the award on April 18 in Columbia.

In addition to her classroom duties, Caballero-García served as Wofford’s first dean of diversity and inclusion. During her three years in the post, she helped bring the Teach.Equity.Now. program to campus, initiated LGBTQIA ally training for faculty and staff in collaboration with LGBTerriers, and brought in a variety of speakers to discuss diversity and inclusion issues.

Off campus, Caballero-García has served as an interpreter in schools and at medical fairs. For two years she was co-organizer of a new chapter of Together Women Rise in Greenville. She also volunteers with RESULTS, an anti-poverty advocate, and for several years led a chapter on campus.

Provost Dr. Tim Schmitz has first-hand knowledge of Caballero-García’s dedication to Wofford. Several years ago, Schmitz audited one of her 400-level courses to brush up on his Spanish.

“I was treated to a truly excellent course on Spanish literature. Begoña was clearly an expert in the subject matter, and she effortlessly drew me and the students into relaxed, well-organized conversations about the material. I am delighted for her to be recognized by SCICU for her excellent work.”

Caballero-García says she’s appreciative of the award.

“I love teaching and I’m always learning how to improve. This is a wonderful recognition of the work I’ve been doing at Wofford for more than 16 years,” she says.