Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times


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A hearty congratulations to Dr. Kim Shelton, Director of the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology!

Recently Dr. Shelton received a U.C. Berkeley “Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times” Award! She won this award in particular for her successful transformation of the Introduction to Greek Archaeology class (in which she was able to bring some of ancient Greece’s material culture to life even virtually) and for her freshman seminar Indiana Jones and the Elgin Marbles.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, Dr. Shelton was the first faculty member within the Classics Department to fully embrace the new remote teaching requirements and adapt them in a way that remained engaging and meaningful for students. Dr. Shelton’s classroom response included the early adaptation of a team-taught graduate seminar to remote instruction as well as the transitioning of her URAP students to engaging (and important) remote research during the spring semester of 2020. In  the fall of 2020, she taught two courses, a large lecture class, Classics 17A, and a freshman seminar, Classics 24. Using a Creative Discovery Grant Award, she adapted Classics 17A, Introduction to Greek Archaeology, to the needs of remote instruction. She offered one asynchronous lecture and gave students a choice of topic for synchronous lectures and discussion to engage them further with the material. Rather than having students learn identification techniques from photos, the traditional pedagogy of material culture courses, she had them apply archaeological thinking to material in their own home, culminating in a virtual exhibit. For Classics 24, Dr. Shelton sent each student an excavation kit so they could simulate the process of excavating and analyzing material culture while studying the interpretive, legal, and ethical questions raised by archaeology.

Aside from her exceptional response to instruction, Dr. Shelton also ran a successful field research season for her graduate students during the summer by adapting her field school into a remote study season for material that had already been excavated. This field season will result in multiple publications. Additionally, Dr. Shelton remotely mentored her graduate students through a rescue excavation of a tomb when it was threatened by looting this fall. Dr. Shelton continues to set the standard for pedagogy, student engagement, and excellent scholarship, at U.C. Berkeley and beyond!

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