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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Ancient Greek and Roman Painting and the Digital Humanities

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 2:14pm by .

This article was originally published on the Amphora blog on January 6, 2016.

If you’re new to academic conferences, or to the joint annual meeting of the SCS/AIA, you may be thinking that the Exhibit Hall is mostly for buying books. And if you’re at the start of your career and/or on a modest budget, you may think that there’s nothing for you in the Exhibit Hall as a result.  Au contraire!  Here’s a short list of things you can do there—completely aside from buying books—that can be beneficial to your career, fun, interesting, worthwhile, and generally good things to do. The Exhibit Hall is generally open about nine hours a day for the two full days of the conference, plus a half day on either side, so there’s plenty of time to try these in small bits.  As a press exhibitor myself (full disclosure) I spend many hours in the hall, so I have a chance to see the variety of exhibitors who transport their materials or goods or information to the conference, often from international origins, in hopes they’ll have an opportunity to talk with you.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am by Ellen Bauerle.

Boston University Graduate Student Conference

Identity Under Empire: Defining the Self under the Cultural Hegemony of the Athenian, Macedonian, and Roman Empires

Date of Conference: March 17, 2018

Keynote Speaker
Steven Smith
Hofstra University

The Department of Classical Studies at Boston University is excited to accept papers for its 10th annual Graduate Studies Conference. This year, the conference will examine the question of regional, national, personal, artistic, religious, and ethnic identity under the Athenian and Roman Empires as well as the empires of Philip II and Alexander the Great, and the subsequent Hellenistic Kingdoms. The cultural and political influence of any ancient empire has a far-reaching effect on the populace not only of founding city-states, but also that of the extending territories within its dominion. This conference intends to explore how ancient peoples – citizens and non-citizens, male and female alike – negotiated the multifarious problem of identity within the complexity of a unified yet multicultural empire. We enthusiastically welcome submissions from any and all fields of the humanities covering material, textual, or other sources.

Possible paper topics might include, but are not limited to:

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:21pm by .

The University of Texas at Austin

Joint Classics Philosophy Graduate Program in Ancient Philosophy

Gregory Vlastos Archive: Research Possibilities 2017-2018

The large collection of papers from the Nachlass of Gregory Vlastos (1907-1991) is available for study at The University of Texas at Austin, in its Harry Ransom Center—one of the world's major and renowned repositories of manuscripts, rare books, and other materials in the fine arts and the humanities. The Vlastos Archive comprises published and unpublished studies, lecture notes for classes, research notes, books and offprints with annotations, and extensive files of correspondence. Under the auspices of the Joint Classics-Philosophy Graduate Program in Ancient Philosophy at UT Austin, a fund has been established for awards for travel expenses to scholars who are interested in conducting research at the Vlastos Archive.  Applications for these awards may be submitted at any time, provided the yearly allowance of funds has not been exhausted. Interested scholars should contact the Director of the Joint Program, Professor Matthew L. Evans, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Philosophy, 2210 Speedway, Mail Code C3500, Austin, TX 78712, or via e-mail, evansmatt@utexas.edu

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:09pm by .
The Philosophy Department at Stanford University invites you to attend a two-day conference on Aristotle's Politics in Stanford, California on March 9-10 in Building 60, Room 109. Please register for the conference at http://tinyurl.com/yc48ecd8. Papers will be pre-circulated once available. 
 
Speakers:

Pierre Destrée
Associate Research Professor, Department of Philosophy, FNRS/University of Louvain

Terence Irwin
Faculty of Philosophy, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Oxford University

Mariska Leunissen
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, UNC Chapel Hill

Thornton C. Lockwood
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy and Political Science, Quinnipiac University

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 12:53pm by .

Early on Saturday morning, the US Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Given that the House passed its version of the tax bill on November 16, the House and Senate will now choose members for a conference committee to reconcile the two versions of the bill. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 6:12am by Helen Cullyer.
Marble left hand holding a scroll

Co-authored with Richard J. Tarrant.

Editor’s note: The guidelines under review here, while publicly available for comment, represent a pre-release version.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 12:00am by Donald J. Mastronarde.

Dear Attendees:

The 2018 SCS-AIA Meeting in Boston is just a month away! The Program Committee has worked hard to put together a rewarding and stimulating meeting and, as Vice President for Programs, I am particularly pleased by the growing number of panels – some 18 were accepted for the Boston meeting, an increase by three over last year. I want now to call your attention to a few of the exciting events that are planned.

President S. Georgia Nugent will focus attention on the “The PhD Today: This Is Your Brain on Classics.” Her presidential panel on Friday, January 5, from 5-6 pm brings together three graduates of Classics PhD programs who have elected career paths in law, technology, and secondary school teaching. They will discuss why and how they transitioned from the traditional expectation of a career in college teaching, as well as how their graduate study in classics affects their lives today. In her presidential address on Friday, January 5, from 6-7 pm, entitled “Chiron Meets Charon: On Crossing Over to the Dark Side,” president Nugent will reflect on the transition from professoriate to presidency and the invaluable lessons that study of the classics provides. This address will take place during the Plenary Session, at which SCS awards will be presented.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:31am by Erik Shell.
The Society for Classical Studies has signed on to a statement urging Congress to reject the proposed tax on graduate student tuition waivers.
 
You can read the full statement and list of signatories here:
 
 
 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/28/2017 - 8:52am by Erik Shell.
Mosaic depicting theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy

Co-authored with T.H.M Gellar-Goad.

Ancient comedy was a thoroughly performative genre, meant to be seen and heard, not read. This point should be obvious, but it can easily get lost in a traditional college or university course on comedy in translation, given the textual nature of the transmission of comedies, their distance in time and culture, the difficulties presented by translated material, and the demands and traditions of teaching Greek and Roman literature generally. In this post I describe a comedy-in-performance assignment that T.H.M Gellar-Goad and I created and have used in teaching general-education courses at two different American universities. One of us employed it in lieu of the usual final exam and term paper; the other was bound by writing seminar standards to include a term paper in addition to the performance project. The basic idea is flexible enough to fit drama of any period or genre, and could be used in various levels and types of courses (not, admittedly, massive lecture courses), for teaching in the original languages, and for inclusion as a smaller unit within a larger course. Neither of us had prior experience acting or directing.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/27/2017 - 12:43pm by Serena S Witzke.

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