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Collegiate Teaching Award - Jacqueline Carlon

Since 2005 Dr. Jacqueline Carlon has been wowing undergraduate and graduate students alike at the University of Massachusetts Boston. As her department chair writes, “Her record of teaching is outstanding for the variety of courses she has taught, for the different types of students she reaches, and above all for her skill in simply making a classroom work.” Many of her insights into pedagogy come from her nine years as a Latin teacher and language department chair at the Academy of Notre Dame.

Under Dr. Carlon’s leadership UMass Boston has developed a much admired program leading to a Master’s degree in Latin and Classical Humanities with an Applied Linguistics focus. In the last decade over 100 high-school teachers have enrolled in the program’s courses, either to earn the M.A. or simply to enjoy the opportunity for professional development. Dr. Carlon’s methods course is distinctive for its emphasis on Second-Language Acquisition; students praise her ability to translate SLA theory into workable lesson plans. In fact, a commitment to “4-D Latin pedagogy” characterizes not just her methods course but the entire gamut of Latin courses that she teaches. As one student writes, “The central message of her approach is that using a language as an active means of communication is a more efficient way of learning it, even if one’s long-term goal is simply to read literature.” Indeed, it was Dr. Carlon who spearheaded the creation of the Conventiculum Bostoniense, a popular summer immersion program in Latin.

The student body at UMass Boston is the most diverse of any college or university in Massachusetts. Each year about 100 first-year students in the College of Liberal Arts participate in a humanities program; all of them take Dr. Carlon’s course “Poets, Warriors and Sages,” an introduction to Greek literature and history. Students say that she “commands the stage like a character from Greek drama”! Whenever she teaches the course, she experiments with new activities to keep the students engaged in their learning. In this and every other course she teaches, she earns rave reviews: “I LOVE how passionate you are about classics.” “I typically don’t like school, but I really liked this class, and, in a class of 90, I actually didn’t feel like just another face in the crowd.” “Prof. Carlon is always eager to pull out the human element in the works her students read. No text is ever considered in a vacuum, but in the full context of the time and place in which it was written.” “She is a supportive yet demanding mentor to current and aspiring Latin teachers. She inspires her students to the highest standards by living them with her own life and teaching.” “Carlon rocks. Optima est.”

With admiration for her multiple talents as a teacher and for the devotion she shows to every one of her students, the Society for Classical Studies presents Dr. Carlon with this Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level.

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