I have been teaching in Classics at the University of Alberta for the past fourteen years as a member of the Academic Teaching Staff (that is, non-permanent, non tenure-track academic staff, with a primary focus on teaching). I am not only a member of the teaching staff, but also an alum (I got my PhD from the University of Alberta in 2002). I spent a few years away from the U of A, teaching at Mt Allison as the Crake Doctoral Fellow, at then University of Western Ontario and at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as a “contract academic” / “adjunct” (temporary teaching staff). While I enjoyed my time at the other institutions, I was very happy to come back home to the U of A. We have an excellent department, in an excellent university, full of active and engaged students, in an exciting city. I’ll pass over the issue of our winters…
My dissertation was on the Greek poetic accounts of the Persian Wars, which was primarily an analysis of how the Greeks, and the Athenians in particular, viewed themselves and their heroic actions against the invading Persian ‘barbarians.’ I’ve published several articles stemming from my dissertation, specifically the very fragmentary texts of Timotheus of Miletus and Choerilus of Samos, and at the position of Timotheus and Choerilus within the Greek poetic tradition.
While I will always have a love for Greek poets (in particular), much of my teaching involves first-year Latin, from which stems my current research in Latin paedagogy. I am working on a new method of teaching Latin, with a focus on comprehension and communication, and on understanding Latin as a real language used by real people to discuss real things that were really understood when communicated to other real people. My approach is inspired by the “Living Latin” movement, which seeks to treat Latin as a functional language that students can understand as a means of communication by reading and writing and speaking and hearing it. The end result will be, I hope, a new Latin learning system that will lead current students to fall in love with Latin (and Classics!) and encourage more students to take Latin in the future.
When not immersed in all things Classics, I spend much of my free time volunteering with a local cat rescue (SAFE Team Rescue – home of many adorable adoptable kitties!): adopt; don’t shop!