Eric Alan Weinstein
Profession/Passion: Academic Coordinator
Business Name: The Unbinding Prometheus Project
Location: Philadelphia, PA
“Non-profit academic endeavors are often fraught with complications of funding, varying stakeholder agendas and goals, and so forth, but Eric's primary instinct is always to facilitate direct, positive communication among all participants, and he always remains involved in the process.”
Eric Alan Weinstein by Stephanie Baum
How did you first encounter this mentor, and what made them stand out?
Eric is a scholar and teacher of literature and poetry. When we became friends, he was hosting weekly seminars centered on the work of Percy Shelley, and preparing to lead the first iteration of a MOOC (massive open online course) based on Shelley's lyrical drama Prometheus Unbound. As I participated in seminar meetings, I noticed that attendees varied from meeting to meeting, but I understood quickly Eric's skill for creating cohesiveness among any group by the way he gently encouraged participants to engage with each other. Many of these seminar discussions were videotaped to be used as teaching material for the upcoming MOOC, and I helped with annotating and organizing those. After the MOOC ended in late 2015 and its participants had shared their feedback, it was ranked the third most successful MOOC in the world for that year.
What continues to make this mentor stand out? About what are they most enthusiastic?
From the beginning, Eric's devotion to his work stood out for me. In addition to teaching, he also coordinates various academic programs—most notably The Unbinding Prometheus Project, a non-profit arts and humanities education project on whose board I now serve. The goal of this project is open, free, inclusive pedagogy (delivered digitally and non-digitally) fostering collaboration and partnership. Non-profit academic endeavors are often fraught with complications of funding, varying stakeholder agendas and goals, and so forth, but Eric's primary instinct is always to facilitate direct, positive communication among all participants, and he always remains involved in the process.
How has/does this mentor made/make a difference in your life and/or the community, locally and/or globally?
At an individual level, Eric mentors PhD candidates through the process of writing, editing, and defending their dissertations—a working example of Ralph Nader’s sentiment, “I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” He invests personally and absolutely in the success of his students, working with individual candidates for years at a time. As I write this, he has guided 18 candidates to success in authoring and defending their dissertations.
How does this mentor exhibit humility in elevating others?
Eric is interested in everything and everyone. He behaves as though he truly has something to learn from everyone he meets, regardless of who they are, and is genuinely and actively committed to success for all.
In which areas would you recommend this mentor as a mentor?