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Molly Swetnam-Burland wins national teaching award

We are excited to announce that Professor Molly Swetnam-Burland has been awarded a Collegiate Teaching Award from the Society for Classical Studies (SCS).  This is the most prestigious teaching award for Classical Studies professors in North America. The award committee bases its decisions on detailed study of syllabi, teaching evaluations, and testimonia from former students. We are so grateful to the students who wrote on Professor Swetnam-Burland's behalf, and she is thrilled to receive this recognition for her work in the classroom.

Here is the text of the SCS announcement (source):

Molly Swetnam-Burland, College of William & Mary

“Every Intro to Latin Prose class began with a series of photographs... of frescoes, mosaics, even a kitchen garbage chute! It was a reminder that the Romans were real people...[and] that what we were reading in our Latin class was related to a broad range of topics in the field of Classical Studies and beyond.”

As these words by her student attest, Molly Swetnam-Burland deals with an assortment of ancient material in her courses about art and archaeology, social history, and Latin at William and Mary with the ultimate goal of making the field of Classics more inclusive. Indeed, Professor Swetnam-Burland affirms “it is my aim to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone in my classes. ”Her detailed rubrics and guidelines clearly indicate her expectations for assignments, thereby ensuring that students with a range of educational backgrounds know exactly what they must do to succeed. And her welcoming syllabi assure students who have academic accommodations that their needs will be met. Moreover, she promotes justice and equity, asserting “my central goal is to help my students thrive in college, especially those for whom the experience is disorienting for reasons of race, ethnicity, class, gender, or gender identity.” Her work with fostering inclusion extends to the subject matter that she teaches as well. She presents Classical Studies as a forward-looking, interdisciplinary field that encompasses both textual and material culture as well as the lived experiences of different groups of people in antiquity. Professor Swetnam-Burland’s students report that she is a “hardworking, “thoughtful,” and “phenomenal” teacher. It is easy to understand why they admire her. She is an engaging professor in the classroom and a dedicated mentor outside of it. Her innovative and stimulating assignments ask students to deal with a variety of ancient evidence– from graffiti to amber objects in American museums–and prompt them not only to acquire important skills but also to think about what she calls “big issues.” We are honored to recognize Dr. Molly Swetnam-Burland for her outstanding teaching with the SCS’s 2020 Award for Excellence in Teaching of the Classics at the College Level.

Below, Professor Swetnam-Burland at the (on-line) awards ceremony at this year's meeting of the SCS on January 9, 2021.

SCS Awards Ceremony 2021