Spanish Basic Language ProgramDepartment of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

Borja Gutiérrez

Borja Gutiérrez
Administrative Supervisor, Spanish 2 and 3
Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish

134 Burrowes

Phone: (814) 865-6587

Borja Gutiérrez Headshot


M.A. in Spanish and Hispanic-American Literature, The Pennsylvania State University
B.A. in Modern Languages: Spanish. Magna Cum Laude. Phi Beta Kapp.
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Concentration, The University of Dallas


Originally from Madrid, Spain, Borja is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish and the Administrative Supervisor of Spanish 2 and 3 (2013-Present). He holds a B.A. in Modern Languages (Spanish) with a Medieval and Renaissance Concentration from the University of Dallas, specializing in Spanish Literature and graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. His undergraduate honors thesis was on the ars poetica of Antonio Machado. He also obtained a M.A. in Spanish and Hispanic American Literature from The Pennsylvania State University, writing a thesis on the representation of the historical evolution and perpetuation of the Chilean hacienda in Isabel Allende’s La casa de los espíritus. Borja has also engaged in advanced post-graduate studies in executive, performance, DEI, intercultural, change management, and neuroscience-based leadership at Cornell University, MIT, and the University of Cambridge.

His principal passions are teaching, leadership development, and researching on and enacting and engaging others in social change. He has won five departmental teaching excellence awards over the span of his teaching career at Penn State and was awarded the prestigious university-wide Dr. James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award in 2016 for his university-wide work on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In terms of service, Borja has held several leadership positions in DEI work at Penn State and has taught about/authored curriculum around intercultural communication and (global) leadership in various courses, community-based learning opportunities, and institutes on and off campus. He has served on local and state government and NGO advisory boards. Specifically, Borja served as two-term Chair of the President’s Commission on LGBTQ Equity (2016-2018), as chair of the SIP Professional Development Committee (2014-2018), as a member of the 32nd and 33rd Annual MLK Commemoration Planning Committee, and as a member, secretary, and social media and outreach co-coordinator of the Centre County Advisory Council to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (2017-2021). He was a leadership curriculum developer and instructor at the Penn State Leadership Institute (2017-2018) and the Global Engagement and Leadership Experience with Penn State Global Programs (2018-2020).  Borja continues to serve as an appointed member of the College of the Liberal Art’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformation (February 2017-May 2019 and July 2020-Present); an elected member of the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese’s Advisory Committee (September 2018-Present); a member and the historian of the Executive Committee of the Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Penn State and the awards chair of its Honors Thesis Prize; as a member of the Board of Directors of AIDS Resource (2017-Present); as appointed member (2017-Present) and Chair (2019-Present) of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee to the Borough of State College; and as member of the University’s Hispanic Heritage Month Committee (2018-Present) and the co-founder and coordinator of its Dolores Huerta Day of Service (2019-Present).

In addition, Borja is involved in four grassroots NGOs fighting for human rights in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and nationwide that center and develop the leadership of the poor and dispossessed, co-chairing the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign and serving as its coordinator of Political Education, Leadership Development, and Policy (2018-Present) and co-coordinating in Put People First! PA (2018-Present), the Nonviolent Medicaid Army (2020-Present), and the Pennsylvania Homeless Union (2021-Present). These organizations center and develop the leadership of the poor and dispossessed and seek to address healthcare access, homelessness, systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy. In his social change work, Borja addresses systemic inequities by building and developing dynamic, community-based intersectional organizations and coalitions that build leaders, raise awareness, identify root solutions, and develop sustainable, replicable, and adaptable infrastructure for transformation.

Borja studies and researches Medieval and Golden Age Spanish and Colonial Hispanic Literature, History, and Art History. He is particularly interested Global Plantation history and literature, focusing on the historical/cultural/economic/societal/ideological development of plantation societies, the Spanish and Latin American literatures and cultural artifacts that portray and resist them, and the elite and working classes and cultures they engender. Borja’s approach to literary and cultural studies aims to be fundamentally interdisciplinary, comparative, philosophical, and transatlantic in nature.

Borja is currently carrying out research for two book-length studies: The Power that Comes from the Land: The Plantation Society in Isabel Allende’s Novels and a comparative study of 19th- and early 20th-century business elite in the United States and their counterparts in Spain, focusing on their rise to and maintenance of economic, political, and social power and their literary and visual representation.


  • The Pennsylvania State University
    • Online Teaching Certificate
  • The Pennsylvania State University
    • Teaching with Technology Certificate
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professional Education.
    • Cultural Awareness for Global Business Certificate
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sloan School of Management.
    • Neuroscience for Business – Executive Program Certificate
  • Cornell University. SC Johnson College of Business.
    • Executive Leadership Certificate
  • Cornell University. School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
    • Diversity and Inclusion Certificate
  • The University of Cambridge. Judge Business School (Executive Education).
    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy Certificate (DEI Strategies for Business Impact)
  • Cornell University. SC Johnson College of Business.
    • Performance Leadership Certificate
  • Cornell University. SC Johnson College of Business.
    • Change Management Certificate

Research Interests:

Medieval and Golden Age Spanish and Colonial Hispanic Literature, History, and Art History. Global Plantation Studies. Elite and Working-Class Cultures. Philosophy of Literature. Leadership Development and Intercultural Competency Training. Social Change Theory and Praxis (focus on such public policy issues as human Rights, civil liberties, labor rights, healthcare, poverty, and LGBTQ/Queer issues).


  • 2019 Departmental Teaching Excellence Award.
  • Dr. James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award. University-wide Employee Award.
  • 2015 Departmental Teaching Excellence Award.
  • 2014 Departmental Teaching Excellence Award.
  • 2013 Departmental Teaching Excellence Award.
  • 2011 Departmental Teaching Excellence Award.


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