Philosophy Professor Dr. William Ferraiolo brings hard edge to teaching

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TOUGH BUT FAIR: Dr. Ferraiolo is a popular teacher on campus despite his difficult classes. PHOTO BY HEIDI SHARP

At a college with hundreds of staff and faculty members, one breaks the modern liberal mold of Delta College.Dr. William Ferraiolo is a professor of Philosophy on campus.

He earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Philosophy at University of Oklahoma in the mid 1990s.

TOUGH BUT FAIR: Dr. Ferraiolo is a popular teacher on campus despite his difficult classes. PHOTO BY HEIDI SHARP
TOUGH BUT FAIR: Dr. Ferraiolo is a popular teacher on campus despite his difficult classes. PHOTO BY HEIDI SHARP

While Philosophy can be considered an obscure and not-so-lucrative major, Ferraiolo said it was right for him.

“I found this group of people, most of them are dead now, who approached things and ideas the way I do,” he said.

At Delta, Ferraiolo teaches Intro to Philosophy, Ethics and Intro to Logic.

Ferraiolo started at Delta 17 years ago.

He enjoys lecturing, but discourages group work and the “cooperative learning” environment.

He instructs in an “I am the teacher, you are the student” format.

For some, his methods of teaching and grading have made for a difficult class; the pass rate is lower than that of other teachers. His teaching method, while considered extreme by some students, is simple and fair.

On the popular ratemyprofessor.com website, his “easiness” rating is a two out of five; whereas other instructors on the website average three and a half out of five.

“I have actually softened up a bit,” he laughed.

His classes are difficult for a reason, he said.

Ferraiolo doesn’t believe college, even community college, is for the weak.

“College, by its nature, is an elitist endeavor; college was intended to be for those that are smart and work hard-it was not intended for the average,” he said.

Despite his academic standard preferences, Ferraiolo offers solid reasons for students to take his courses.

Philosophy offers benefits including critical reasoning skills, which can be applied to life, problems and relationships.

Taking the Intro to Logic course can enhance performance in other academic classes, he said.

“Only students who are smart and wish to work hard should take my classes,” he said.

Ferraiolo is involved in other facets of campus life as well.

At the beginning of his Delta career, Ferraiolo realized there was no policy regarding plagiarism.

He worked with a few others to develop the policy Delta currently uses.

The result is a policy that clearly articulates what constitutes as plagiarism, and the punishments that go along with it, instead of an arbitrary system.

“I am a great believer in discipline and punishment,” he said.

He was also recently involved in the California Teacher Association (CTA) negotiations for a Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA).

After being voted down on what he believed to be an excellently negotiated deal, and a conflict with the council, Ferraiolo was separated from his position as contract negotiator for the CTA last fall.

Ferraiolo is “not a union kind of guy,” and disagrees with the entire way the public school system, colleges included, is run.

“As long as this establishment is run by liberals, it is doomed,” he said.

Ferraiolo said he plans to continue teaching and pushing his students for at least another decade before retiring outside of Stockton.