Brian Foster, who was named Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year for the University of Mississippi, will give a lecture next week.

Foster, assistant professor of sociology and Southern Studies, is planning his Humanities Council lecture “I Don’t Like the Blues: A Lesson on Listening,” virtually at 4 p.m. March 8. To register for the lecture, go to

“I’ll be reflecting on some lessons – about race, community, history and the future – that I’ve learned from the hundreds of conversations with Black Mississippians that I’ve had over the last several years,” Foster said.

The MHC awards gala will be conducted virtually on March 26.

The UM College of Liberal Arts and the Mississippi Humanities Council co-sponsor the Humanities Teacher of the Year Award, recognizing outstanding contributions of humanities faculty at the university. All state universities and community colleges honor a faculty member.

“I deeply value what students have had to say about the classes I teach,” Foster said. “I’m sure having this recognition will add to my professional profile, but I’m motivated by the craft and excitement of teaching and learning, of language and ideas.

“I’ll keep challenging myself to be better at what I do. I’ll keep hearing from students on what I can do better. I’ll keep building classes that excite and invigorate me, and hopefully strike up some deep curiosity in the students who take my classes. It’s about the journey for me.”

The College of Liberal Arts asks for nominations from department chairs who have humanities faculty, and then a committee of three former winners chooses the winner.

“Every year, working with the Mississippi Humanities Council, we are so happy to have the opportunity to pause and honor a member of our humanities faculty who is doing great work in the classroom,” said Donald L. Dyer, UM associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and distinguished professor of modern languages.

“The Humanities Teacher of the Year program is a wonderful way to highlight the work of outstanding humanities teachers in Mississippi and lift up the importance of the humanities disciplines,” said Stuart Rockoff, MHC executive director.

“We are very excited that Brian is receiving this recognition. I’ve been following his work from afar for several years, and hope to be able to engage him with our work in the future.”