2020 CAMWS Award for Excellence in College Teaching:
Teresa Ramsby (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Teresa Ramsby earned her B.A. in Comparative Literature at Northwestern University, and her MA and PhD in Classics from Indiana University. Since 2001 she has taught in the Department of Classics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Classics, and since 2014 she has additionally served as the program director for the Masters of Teaching in Latin and Classical Humanities. She has published and presented across her areas of academic interest ranging from the works of Ovid to intersections of Roman social history, material culture, and literature to Latin pedagogy and teacher training, and has done so all while impressively and successfully overseeing the MAT program. Indeed, her colleagues express astonishment at how effortlessly Dr. Ramsby is able to juggle her many duties to her department, both as a professor and as a teacher of teachers.
Her MAT students describe her as their “den mother” and effuse about how she “navigates the maze of certification requirements, finds practicum placements for six graduate students every year, finds scholarships for summer study, writes conference proposals so that each year’s graduate students can present at a regional conference, and arranges for teachers and principals to visit her students and give practical advice.” Yet it is not simply that Dr. Ramsby does so much; it is that she does it all so well, and so thoughtfully. One colleague comments, “She is among the finest teachers I have encountered in 40+ years in the field and already one of the accepted experts in the field of Latin Pedagogy.” Not content to rest on her laurels, Dr. Ramsby eagerly seeks out other teachers and researchers to learn about new insights and pedagogical innovations. In addition to presenting at regional and national conferences, she has also organized panels and gatherings of educators to share the latest developments in Latin pedagogy.
At the core of her teaching is the idea that “students learn better in environments where they are assured that their ideas matter, that they matter,” and she crafts her courses with an eye towards ensuring that her teaching reaches all students. As one of her former students notes, Dr. Ramsby “encourages her students to set goals for the term and assess their progress, which not only promotes student accountability, but also validates individual learning styles.” In the words of a colleague, Dr. Ramsby’s “dedication, focus, kindness, and ability to really, truly listen are all truly exceptional. These traits, combined with a deep knowledge of and passion for her subject, have made her an outstanding teaching professional.”
For her commitment to her students, her teaching, and her field, and for her tireless work to provide thoughtful, capable, and inspired teachers for future generations, CAMWS is honored to award Teresa Ramsby its 2020 Award for Excellence in College Teaching.