Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Greek and Latin; literature courses including “The Age of Augustus and the Greeks” and “The History of History”
Claim to fame
Won the New Yorker cartoon caption contest
Favorite historical figure
Favorite thing in your office
The students who come in and share their brilliant ideas with me.
Technology you can’t live without
Number 2 pencil
To Venice and Rome with my family in 2004
Dartmouth College campus police parking guard
What do you love about teaching at Sarah Lawrence?
Education here is a collaborative process. Students have to find out what they are excited about. When my students are devising their conference projects, I tell them the topic they choose should be the thing that gets them out of bed in the morning.
And they are very creative. I had one student who did a conference project looking at gender and sexuality in fifth-century Greek vase painting and comparing that to modern clothing advertisements. Another student examined the wartime rhetoric recorded by Thucydides, the fifth-century historian, and compared these speeches to the wartime speeches of Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, and George W. Bush. I love it when students can take lessons from the ancient world and translate them for modern times.
How do you connect with students and make sure they are engaged in the material you teach?
My goals are to help students discover how they love to use their minds and to give them the tools to think with. I think college students are at a stage in their lives when they are drawn to the big questions; they really want to understand what it means to be a human being.
I try to draw that curiosity out by being inventive in my classes. We do some role-playing, which my students love. We usually have a "conversation in the underworld," where students take on the roles of various fictional characters or historical/mythical figures, and discuss the implications of what they’ve read—for then and for now. I’ve had classes do a pre-war Congress where we tried to avert the Peloponnesian War. We also put Cicero on trial for his execution of the Catilinarian conspirators. I think students like that I try to get them to engage with the material and engage with each other and they are usually very receptive to that.