Alumnus returns to campus as English professor


Summer Lomendehe

Jose Alfaro teaches his English Composition class. Alfaro was a former student on campus recently hired into the English department.

A former student was recently hired into the English department this semester and currently teaches various English classes revolving feminism and queer studies.

Jose Alfaro was a student at Cosumnes River College from 2010 to 2012, where he graduated with an associate’s degree in social science.

“It’s exciting,” Alfaro said. “It’s surreal walking through the hallways as a professor.”

While Alfaro was a student on campus, he was an editor at the Cosumnes River Journal as well as a student of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Program.

“CRC is as welcoming as it was when I was a student,” Alfaro said.

Alfaro teaches English composition and literature, saying that a lot of his writing classes focus on people of color as well as queer people of color.

“I really try to center on the most marginalized students in my class in hopes to create a warm and feminist space in the classroom,” Alfaro said.

I really try to center on the most marginalized students in my class in hopes to create a warm and feminist space in the classroom.”

— Jose Alfaro

Alfaro said he credits English Professor Erica Reeves for shaping his outlook on finding marginalized voices in class.

“It’s the strong women professors I had as a student who taught me to be powerful and taught me to get an English degree that made me center my classes around marginalized students,” Alfaro said.

Reeves said it’s incredible to see students back on campus as professors.

“It shows just how amazing community college could be when they come full circle,” Reeves said.

As a student, Reeves said Alfaro wasn’t the most talkative in class but made insightful comments whenever he did. She also said he was a strong writer.

Alfaro, who is currently finishing his PhD through UC Riverside, said he wanted to contribute to the community by being a professor on campus.

Reeves said this decision to give back to the community is a “testament” to who Alfaro is as a person.

“He’s a perfect model for the new batch of CRC students,” Reeves said.

Alfaro said it’s important for him to show students perspectives that are different from their own and reflect the perspectives of students who share similar experiences. He also said it’s important for students to empathize with marginalized communities.

“The English class is to bring voice to the voiceless,” Alfaro said, later adding that he hopes students find their voices in his classes.

Alfaro said his own experiences as a queer person of color inspired him to center his classes around marginalized students as well.

“He has a very interdisciplinary mindset,” English Professor Lisa Abraham said.

Alfaro said his degree in social science allows his classes to “draw from other fields.”

“He’s willing to collaborate with professors of other departments,” Abraham said. “Collaborations like this have the potential to provide a richer experience for students.”

Abraham said Alfaro gives a “fresh” perspective to their discipline.

“He brings a very modern, youthful, millennial-type perspective to our department,” Reeves said.

Reeves encourages students to take his classes and said she also wants students to know that Alfaro was “exactly in their shoes.”

“I’m really proud to be here and to work with students I identify with,” Alfaro said.