Professor Anita Silvers Continues to Lead Way for Disabled

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Photo of Anita Silvers

DIVERSE ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION -- As a San Francisco State University Philosophy professor, Silvers has always made it a point to advocate for students and others with disabilities, and to encourage them to do the same. Now completing her 50th year at the university, she is a nationally prominent champion of disability rights.

“I have neither the ability nor the right to say, ‘Here’s exactly how to do a certain task,’” Silvers says. “So I don’t know of any one, single way to do something. But I do look at what each person can do, and I can’t help but look at all students this way. If you ignore stereotypes, the students will guide you.”

Silvers has educated at least two generations of students at SFSU. It has become increasingly common for her to teach graduate students who earned their Bachelor’s degrees in philosophy at other institutions under the tutelage of tenured faculty who were trained by Silvers. She has twice led SFSU’s Philosophy Department as its chair, once during the 1980s and again from 2006 through the current academic year. For the past decade, the University’s Master’s degree program in philosophy has ranked among the top 10 nationally.

In touting Silver’s career accomplishments, Justin Tiwald, an SFSU associate professor of Philosophy, says he’s “in awe and appreciation of Anita, who has shown us the importance and joy of realizing core Cal State values of access and quality, and how doing so is feasible and within our grasp.”

Silvers was one of four faculty members from throughout Cal State honored with a Wang Family Excellence Award this year. Silvers is using the $20,000 award to establish an SFSU scholarship, one of multiple decisions of hers involving prize money that has accompanied a series of academic and research honors.

Photo by Andrew Corpuz