2017 Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level

The SCS Teaching Excellence Awards Committee has awarded three prizes this year to the following teachers at the college and university level:

E. Del Chrol (Marshall University)

Shelley Haley (Hamilton College)

Mary Pendergraft (Wake Forest University)

The winners will receive their awards at the Plenary Session at the Boston Annual Meeting. Please click on the names above to read the full citations. 

E. Del Chrol

The committee is delighted to recognize Professor E. Del Chrol of the Humanities Program at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where he has been for the past twelve years.  Prof. Chrol is already a decorated teacher: he has won the Pickens-Queen Teaching Award at Marshall, the West Virginia Foreign Language Teachers Association’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, and, in graduate school at the University of Southern California, both a departmental and a university-wide teaching award.  So it is no surprise to find in his application materials a deep commitment to and patent skills in pedagogy, conceived very broadly, including also a wide range of presentations on pedagogical issues.

One of his letter-writers notes, “He is a spell-binding presenter, a showman with pizzazz as well as substance, who utilizes humor, rhetorical flourishes, and a fast-paced delivery to keep students interested and engaged. He so thoroughly inhabits his ideas that his presentations often seem off-the-cuff, even though he works diligently on them.”  It is no surprise, then, to find that one of his most popular courses is entitled “The Rhetoric of Seduction.”  This course, which builds upon his research, is taught in election years, and is specifically designed to enable students to think through campaign rhetoric.  Prof. Chrol regularly enlists local and state politicians to come to the course as guest lecturers, an event which clearly blows the students away.  And, as Prof. Chrol notes in his description of the course, his aim in this is not merely to impress: his main goal is in bringing in such local superstars is to introduce his students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college, to successful individuals who have similar backgrounds to them, and to encourage them to broaden their horizons. 

Indeed, the broadening of horizons is an apt way to characterize Prof. Chrol’s approach to teaching as a whole.  Several years ago, he began to invite outside speakers to come to Marshall, and he regularly attends regional conferences with students.  He incorporates oral Latin into his Latin classes; he uses Classcraft in beginning Latin; he regularly teaches Reacting to the Past modules; he mentors both students who want to teach Latin and those interested in graduate programs.  Such horizon-broadening is well within the realm of ordinary mortals, and indeed, might well result – as it has at Marshall – in regularly filled courses offered by Prof. Chrol, and increased enrollments across the program, including in Greek language courses.  But there is also a faint whiff of the super-human about his team-taught major seminar on horoscopes, divination and astrology, which involved a field trip to the top of the parking garage for a hands-on session in ornithomancy and the casting of horoscopes according to several ancient systems.

Prof. Chrol shines in the classroom, but according to one student he is even more impressive in situ, as it were, in Rome, giving lectures on a remarkable range of topics.  His passion for the Classics, construed extremely broadly, was noted by many of his students and colleagues, as were his accessibility to students and his evident concern with their progress as students and as human beings.  We are, then, extremely pleased to honor Del for his exemplary teaching and service to the profession with this Award for Excellence in Teaching of Classics at the College level. 

Shelley Haley

Shelley Haley, professor of Classics and Africana Studies at Hamilton College, wears many hats. As a traditionally trained Classicist, she teaches a wide range of courses in Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilization. As an expert in North Africa during the period of classical antiquity, she teaches courses on Ancient Egypt.  And as Shelley Haley, she challenges all her students and colleagues to see the effects of racism and gender discrimination in the ancient world, in modern scholarship, and in the world around us. In a course on Xenophon, she asks students to consider the treatment of the “other” by the author; in a senior capstone class for classics majors, she taught a segment on “Constructions of Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome.” Her course “Unraveling Cleopatra”, which is cross-listed with Classics, Africana Studies, and Women’s Studies, exposes the many biases that underlie the reception of the character of Cleopatra.

Haley’s knowledge and passion for Classics is widely appreciated by Hamilton students, who all comment on her broad knowledge, caring mentorship, and teaching approach which challenges them to look beyond the narrow confines of the whiteness of Classics. Many students comment on how Haley challenged them to be conscious of their own biases, and the lifelong benefit they derived from her approach. One student, now a physician, writes “What I admire most about her teaching style is how she challenges students to analyze ancient sources and modern receptions of antiquity through an intersectional feminist lens… I often use what I learned about intersectionality from her in my patient interactions to provide more holistic medical care to patients.” A recent graduate notes “From her fascination with Cicero, to her flawless mastery of the Latin language, to her research on thousands of years of Egyptian antiquity, it was always clear that Professor Haley’s passion for these subjects was unwavering, and that she could never rest complacent in her existing pool of knowledge.  Shelley Haley is always pushing to learn new things in her own field, ensuring for her student that no lecture or assignment will ever feel stale.” Students and colleagues alike note her tremendous skill in and passion for mentoring. It should come as no surprise that students at Hamilton College awarded Haley the Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.

We are honored to recognize Professor Shelly Haley for her devotion to teaching and mentoring with the SCS’s 2017 Award for Excellent in Teaching of the Classics at the College Level.

Mary Pendergraft

Mary Pendergraft has been a Classics professor at Wake Forest University since 1988 Throughout that time, Prof. Pendergraft has tirelessly and masterfully taught, advised, and mentored countless students. As all of her letter writers note, she is extraordinarily generous with her time and is always available to students. Wake Forest University acknowledged her devotion to mentoring her students by giving the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising in 2016. She has played an important guiding role in undergraduate honors theses and M.A. thesis committees at Wake Forest. As a letter writer put it, "that, for me, is the mark of 'teaching excellence' […] someone from whom you continue to learn, even 20 years after you have left her classroom." She has endless reserves of wisdom, energy, and patience for her students and her memorable classes are clearly only the beginning of her lasting effect on their lives. One letter writer stated that Prof. Pendergraft "helped me to achieve through her rigorous training, tireless encouragement, and wise counsel." It is no surprise that CAMWS recognized her superlative teaching with its award for Excellence in College Teaching in 2013.

This would be in itself a notable legacy but Prof. Pendergraft has somehow found the time to develop and sustain substantive dialogues between college professors and high school teachers. She has consistently organized panels, delivered papers, and published articles about pedagogy and mentoring. As an expression of their gratitude for all she has done to support and promote the field of Classics, Prof. Pendergraft received a Merita Award from ACL in 2011, and an Ovatio from CAMWS in 2013. She has been active in the National Committee for Latin and Greek and is the current coordinator for the Tirones Project that mentors new Latin teachers. She has also been heavily involved with the JCL at the state and national levels. Prof. Pendergraft has been an integral part of the AP Latin Readings for the past twenty years, and she has served in every leadership role there including that of Chief Reader (2007-2011). When the AP curriculum substantially changed, Prof. Pendergraft offered many workshops, seminars, and webinars devoted to helping teachers to teach that material effectively. She has been advisor for Wake Forest's Eta Sigma Phi chapter every year since 1994, and she has encouraged many students over the years to attend and present at the annual national conference. Unsurprisingly, a large number of those students look back on these conferences as important moments in their professional careers. Under the kind and expert eye of Professor Pendergraft, many of her students have gone to graduate school and become teachers and professors all over the country in Classics and related fields.

This is just a small sampling of the astonishing amount and variety of teaching and service she has done for students and teachers at the local, regional, and national levels. She has in a sense been mentoring the very field of Classics itself by directly inspiring so many students to remain engaged with the ancient world as teachers and as avid lifelong learners. As one letter writer puts it, "Mary Pendergraft has taught us all, and she is deserving of the award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level." The committee could not agree more and we are delighted to honor Prof. Pendergraft this year with this Award for Excellence in Teaching of Classics at the College level.

Citations by the Excellence in Teaching Awards Committee members, Eric Casey, Laurel Fulkerson, and Jennifer Sheridan Moss

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(Photo: "library" by Viva Vivanista, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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Like many others, I'm trying to funnel the anger and frustration that I felt at our panel on the "Future of Classics" at the Annual Meeting in San Diego toward taking action that can make a difference, even on a small scale.  At the panel Professor Sarah Bond and Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta promptly condemned the comments a speaker from the audience made about Dan-el as well as her intellectually and politically regressive defense of classical studies.   My thoughts here are intended to carry forward their energetic advocacy. 

To combat racist attitudes and assumptions that persist not only at the margins of the field but among and around us, we must act now on our home campuses and schools.  Here are five ideas to get us started.  There are many more.  It’s important to note that at some schools, faculty and students are already acting on these ideas or better versions of them.  They arise from my experience as a university administrator, where I've seen countless discussions about diversity go in circles until faculty, students, and staff commit together to do specific things within a short time frame.  They are designed for use at college and university campuses, the world I know best, but K-12 teachers and scholars are included here, and I welcome ideas from this crucially important sector of our field. 

Ideas for action in the coming 30-60 days 
 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 02/15/2019 - 7:16am by Joy Connolly.

We have now reviewed the video of the Panel on the Future of Classics, which will be disseminated online today, February 14, 2019. 

The video makes it clear that what was said to Prof. Padilla Peralta was: “You may have got your job because you’re black, but I would prefer to think you got your job because of merit.”

Despite this factual correction to Presidential letter of 1/10/19, the SCS leadership stands by the substance of the Presidential letter and the actions taken onsite in San Diego, which have been reviewed by the Professional Ethics Committee. We repeat here that the future of classical studies depends on expansion, inclusion, and focused attention on and action to remedy the under-representation of people of color in Classics.

Mary T. Boatwright

SCS President

(Update: the Future of Classics video is now available on the SCS YouTube Channel)

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Thu, 02/14/2019 - 9:27am by Helen Cullyer.

Celebrating the Divine — Roman Festivals in Art, Religion, and Literature

University of Virginia, 30–31 August 2019

Festivals are ubiquitous in the life of the Roman world, and so are their depictions in ancient art and texts. Reliefs, mosaics and paintings, but also coins all show scenes of festivity. Very often, these images reflect on the relationship of humans and gods and the special encounter between both spheres that takes place in a festive context. In literary texts, feast days often occupy a prominent position: they are crucial for the preservation of memory and identity, but they also mark fateful beginnings or momentous endings in a narrative and act as privileged sites of self-definition for individuals or the community.

This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together scholars of literature, art, and religion to examine how Roman festivals are represented in different media and to explore the functions of such representations.

Possible questions include, but are by no means limited to the following:

How does one depict the particular type of event that is the festival? Is there a typical ‘festive scenery,’ and what are its elements? What are the techniques used for depicting the festive encounter of mortals and gods? How can the secret rites of the Mysteries be represented?

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:06am by Erik Shell.

The conference is organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Science of Montenegro and will be held in Herceg Novi, an ancient town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and an intersecting point of different cultures during ancient and medieval times.

As one of the institutions participating in the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action entitled Reappraising Intellectual Debates on Civic Rights and Democracy in Europe, the Center for Hellenic Studies organized a series of lectures, presentations and round tables, participated by eminent experts in philosophy, history, political theory, theology, classics, and other disciplines. As the final phase of the project, the Center deemed opportune to initiate a debate on the achievements, values and guide marks that Hellenic political philosophy can have for contemporary Europe, in which the apprehension of the political is chiefly reduced to the interests of powers and corporations, being thus exclusively linked to the technique of conquering and maintaining dominance.

Ancient Hellenic conception, that gave birth to notions like freedom, democracy, parrhesia, publicity and other, reminds us that ancient Greeks understood politics not only as a fundamental designation of human beings – as, according to Aristotle, anyone who does not partake of society is either a beast or a god – but also as inseparably linked to ethics.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:02am by Erik Shell.

The program submission system is now open and accepting proposals.

You can visit the main page at https://program.classicalstudies.org/

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 02/11/2019 - 9:31am by Erik Shell.
Apadana Hall, 5th century BC carving of Persian and Median soldiers in traditional costume. CC BY-SA 3.0.

'Addressing the Divide' is a new column that looks at the ways in which the modern field of Classics was constructed and then explores ways to identify, modify, or simply abolish the lines between fields in order to embrace broader ideas of what Classics was, is, and could be. This month, Prof. Catherine Bonesho, an Assistant Professor at UCLA who specializes in the ancient history of Judaism and the Near East, speaks to classicist and Herodotus scholar Prof. Rachel Hart. 

Where you work—and who you work with—can make a world of difference. A good chair, a charged computer, and my books were at one point all I thought I needed in my research. However, while still a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I realized that it’s not just where you work or what your work is, but the colleagues you work with. 

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 02/07/2019 - 8:15pm by Catherine Bonesho.

Resolution approved by the Board of Directors of the SCS, Jan. 6, 2019

The SCS Board of Directors approved the following recommendation at its meeting on January 6, 2019. It will be communicated to journal editors and to classics editors at relevant presses, that is, those whose publications fall under the responsibility of the American Office. We will also investigate whether the recommendation can be more widely discussed and adopted.

Board Resolution

In view of the ever-growing number of articles and chapters in collective volumes that the American Office for L’Année philologique is responsible for processing, it is the strong recommendation of the SCS that journal and volume editors regard it as a best practice and a routine adjunct of the publication process that each article or chapter be accompanied by a brief abstract and a list of keywords.

To ensure the utility of abstracts and keywords for the efficient compilation of data for APh, please take note of the following guidelines:

1. The abstract should give a concise but informative summary of the article’s or chapter’s content, indicating important points of argumentation and main conclusions.

2. The abstract should refer to the types of evidence adduced in drawing these conclusions, and give specific information about the most important items.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 2:03pm by Erik Shell.

Classical Charleston 2019: Diversifying Classics

The Department of Classics at the College of Charleston is pleased to announce the eighth annual colloquium of the Theodore B. Guérard Lecture Series, Classical Charleston: “Diversifying Classics.”

This colloquium focuses upon the ways in which Classics opens a window into a diverse and multicultural world, and how this diversity allows for a variety of methodological approaches and applications for cross-comparative cultural study. Discussion also turns to the structural elements that historically have constrained these approaches, and a wider discussion on how to move the discipline (and the perception of the discipline) forward into a redefinition of Classics for the 21st century.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 9:11am by Erik Shell.
The Classical Association of New England Summer Institute
July 8-13, 2019 / Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

E Pluribus Unum

The organizers of the 2019 CANE Summer Institute invite you to join us for a weeklong examination of peoples and cultures that comprised the Classical Greek and Roman worlds.  We will not only look at the various components of the ancient world, but we will also consider what it meant for those components to be unum.  The institute’s events and discussions will also consider modern and contemporary reflections of nationhood. 

Whether you are a high school or college teacher of Latin and/or Greek, History, English, the Arts, or other related disciplines, an undergraduate or graduate student, or a devoted lifelong learner, you will enjoy a thoughtful and enriching experience that includes a wide variety of mini-courses, lectures, workshops, reading groups, and special events while also offering many opportunities for conversation and collegial interaction among participants. CE credits available.

For more information www.caneweb.org

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View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 02/01/2019 - 8:08am by Erik Shell.
Pieter Coecke van Aelst, the elder (Flemish, 1502-1550). 'Saint Jerome in His Study,' ca. 1530. oil on panel. Walters Art Museum (37.256): Acquired by Henry Walters. Image via Wikimedia under Public Domain.

Literary translation is a scholarly and a creative act in which a reader of the Greek or Latin becomes the writer for new readers. Like all readers, translators interpret the text, and in the field of classics, apply their scholarship and their poetic abilities to put the text into a modern language. Since many readers of our translations cannot read the original, they depend on us to transmit the voice of the original writer and to be transparent in our choices. By that I mean that the translator should proclaim whether the translation is aiming for accuracy (and what that means in particular), whether it adds or subtracts from the source text (such as Richmond Lattimore inserting his own lines into Sappho’s fragments), whether the work is an adaptation rather than a translation (clearly proclaimed in Luis Alfaro’s “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angelos”).

Diane Arnson Svarlien and I co-organized “A Century of Translating Poetry” (the first panel sponsored by the Committee on the Translation of Classical Authors). The panel had a good mix of scholars, including active translators (both organizers, Gonçalves, Hadas, and Wilson), two non-translators (graduate student Lee and professor Vandiver), a poet (Hadas) and a performer of Latin poetry (Gonçalves). We had a lively discussion after the five talks with about forty audience members in a packed small room.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 01/31/2019 - 8:37pm by Diane Rayor.

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