Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Art
Plymouth State alumnus/Musician and songwriter/Justice of the peace
An important part of teaching, Jay Moskowitz contends, is creating the right environment for learning. “It’s important to provide a safe, respectful, and joyful environment in which students feel comfortable in expressing themselves,” he says.
Moskowitz is proof that the right learning environment can make all the difference. When his first year of college left him uncertain that the college track was for him, he dropped out. He spent the next two decades in various trades and professions, among them factory worker, street musician, paralegal, and private investigator. “If an opportunity presented itself and it looked like it was in a positive direction, I was there,” he says. When the opportunity to be a substitute science teacher at a local middle school presented itself, Moskowitz was there. It didn’t take long for him to realize he had found his niche. “I realized that I loved being in the classroom,” he recalls.
Inspired to return to school to earn his teaching degree, Moskowitz enrolled at Plymouth State, where he majored in elementary education and minored in art. At age 45, he earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education with certification to teach kindergarten through 8th grade. Without missing a beat, Moskowitz enrolled in PSU’s graduate studies program.
After receiving his Master of Education degree with an integrated arts option, he made the transition from student to adjunct faculty member, teaching in the education department and in interdisciplinary studies.
Over the past decade, Moskowitz has taught courses in the art department, the education department, and within interdisciplinary studies, as well as supervising both elementary education and art student teachers. Outside of PSU, he trained as an elementary-level Montessori teacher and cofounded Bodhi Tree Montessori School in Rumney, NH, where he served as a director and taught 1st through 4th grades over the course of five years.
Moskowitz’s teaching approach has many influences, from his eclectic career to the teachings of Maria Montessori and world-renowned Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who bestowed upon Moskowitz the dharma name Benevolent Teacher of the Heart at a retreat. It’s an appropriate name for Moskowitz, who sees his job as more than teaching course content to students. He says, “I’m here to teach about self-discovery, the creative process, and the positive intent and actions we need to create an engaged, compassionate world.”