Matthew Panciera, 2014 Carlson Award Winner, Classics Department

Posted on October 24th, 2016 by

2014 Carlson Award Winner, Matthew Panciera, Classics Department

Matthew Panciera

Each year at commencement a faculty member is honored with the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching in recognition of his or her exceptional skill and effectiveness as an instructor. The 2014 recipient is Matt Panciera, PhD, associate professor of classics at Gustavus.

Professor Panciera “makes Gustavus a special place, where students not only feel compelled to strive for excellence, but also enjoy the work they do in the process of achieving it.” He challenges students to look “beyond the words on the page.”

In one nomination letter, a student writes that “Dr. Panciera exemplifies the commitment to education and excellence that I would always wish for in an instructor and advisor.” As members of his First Term Seminar class can attest, he encourages students to read with their heads and with their hearts, which “force[s] us to shift away from the perspective of unconcerned bystanders toward one of personal and emotional investment in the stories…and their characters.”

Indeed, that emotional investment is integral to everything that Panciera does, both inside and outside the classroom. He embodies the joyful exuberance that comes from a constant state of intellectual stimulation—not to mention a wickedly funny way with words. In fact, his fervent commitment to the humanities in general is matched only by his enthusiasm for the written word. A colleague and former Carlson Award winner who once team-taught a class with him marveled at how he responded in detail to his students’ writing daily. No wonder students note the “individual attention that he gives to our essays and other writing.”

Panciera’s passion for learning is particularly infectious, whether he’s sharing his knowledge with advanced students in a 300 level course or visiting a local elementary school to share his knowledge of the world and its stories with much littler people. My own son still talks about the day Matt came to visit his class; the visit inspired a clay model of the Roman Coliseum, a model that ended up looking more like the ruins of Pompeii (but that’s not our winner’s fault).

Known and appreciated for his ability to read aloud to his students—in ancient languages and portraying gods, goddesses, and mere mortals alike—Panciera is truly a classic example of the best Gustavus has to offer.

Matt Panciera joined the Gustavus faculty in 2002. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Latin from the University of Toronto, his master’s degree in Latin from the University of North Carolina, and completed his PhD in classical philology at the University of North Carolina in 2001. He’s taught at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, and he served as an associate professor of classics at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Sicily. Professor Panciera directed Curriculum II (now Three Crowns Curriculum) from 2009 to 2012, and he chaired the Gustavus Classics Department from 2011 to 2014. Congratulations, Matt!

Presented by Rebecca Fremo
Associate Professor of English
2013 Recipient of the Edgar M. Carlson Award

 

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