Monessa Cummins, who received her Ph.D. in our Classics Department in 1993, has been awarded the 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching of the Classics at the College Level by the Society for Classical Studies.
Professor Cummins has taught at Grinnell College for nearly thirty-five years where she has instructed in almost every course offered by her department. Her dissertation on myth and narrative convention in Pindar and Bacchylides provided her with expertise in Greek poetry and a starting point for her publications, but she has also gone on to teach and design a wide range of civilization-based courses. Her citation emphasizes the role model she provided her students outside of the classroom: her letters are full of stories of her humanity, her caring attitude, and the demands she placed on her students. One of her faculty colleagues calls her teaching “challenging, effective, and inspiring.” Professor Cummins attributes her remarkable teaching success to the multidisciplinary training she received in our department. As she explains, “seminars in the Athenian empire, the Roman constitution, and Greek sculpture, among others, fired my interest unexpectedly in the material culture in which the texts I cherished were embedded. It was the broad graduate curriculum in Classical Studies at Cincinnati that set me on the road to becoming the generalist I consider myself today, and which I have to be in order to teach effectively in a small liberal arts college.” Our warm congratulations to Professor Cummins!