An Associate Professor of Classics at UMass-Amherst, Debbie Felton took the PhD at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. Prof. Felton has taught a very wide range of courses, many of which she developed herself, including observations and supervision of theses in the MAT. An active scholar and colleague, Prof. Felton balances active service, scholarship and teaching with aplomb. It became clear reading the supporting materials that Prof. Felton is not simply a popular teacher who is good at teaching but a teacher dedicated to constant reflection and development, focused on the success of the student in all respects and on the promotion of the Classics in the classroom and out. As one of her colleagues says, "She is an excellent teacher and has been for a long time, but to this day works at her craft unendingly ... Debbie is a tireless innovator, constantly seeking to find ways to engage students as active learners and not passive note takers." Prof. Felton demonstrates a wide range of competencies in the classroom, including technology. With reference to her use of technology, especially her implementation of OWL technology in courses, the director of teaching and learning at UMass-Amherst says, "What makes her such a valuable role model is that Debbie understands - and stresses - the fundamentals of teaching well with technology, rather than simply using technology to teach."
Her students, both in course evaluations and in support letters, point to her devotion to student success in and out of the classroom. From a student (employed at the UN in New York) who credits Dr. Felton with helping her prepare for work life by fostering (as a teacher and by design in course units) skills needed for effective gro
up work, "She always taught with passion and the intent to appeal to all majors and nonmajors alike. She gave equal attention to all students to the best of her ability-even those who were trying to go unnoticed (like me!)." Another student writes, "She has a knack for finding the perfect equilibrium in the classroom, meaning that she maintains the interest and attention of the fastest learner and the slowest learner simultaneously." It is clear that her students do not simply appreciate Prof. Felton's teaching or like her as a person, but they recognize her work on their behalf and understand that it is the mark of a teacher who is working as hard as they are to reach success. Perhaps the last word should be left to Debbie herself, "I'm not afraid to take chances with my teaching anymore-I've learned to go outside my comfort zone, and I encourage my students to push themselves and do the same." For these reasons and many more, the Committee is pleased to present the recipient of the 2013-2014 Excellence in College Teaching Award.