Inspired teaching

John Gruber-Miller
John Gruber-Miller

John Gruber-Miller, professor of classical studies, isn’t just a great teacher—he inspires others to be great teachers, as well.

Gruber-Miller won the 2012 Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level award from the American Philological Association. In the citation that accompanied the award, Phil Gallagher ’11, who is now working toward a graduate degree in classical studies, said: “John exemplifies what it means to be a professor of the liberal arts in every way, and all of the students who have had a class with John walk away with an incredible experience that they will always remember. The world needs more teachers like John—hopefully I’ll be one of them.”

Gruber-Miller, who has taught at Cornell since 1987, was nominated by his colleague in classical studies, Philip Venticinque.

Gruber-Miller is the editor of the 2006 book “When Dead Tongues Speak: Teaching Beginning Greek and Latin,” published by Oxford University Press. He also serves as editor of Teaching Classical Languages, a peer-reviewed, online journal dedicated to Latin and Greek pedagogy; and he maintains two Internet educational sites: Ariadne: Resources for Athenaze and Let’s Review Greek!

Beyond his scholarly work, he is a teacher who works with students to bring languages like Latin and Greek to life. He’s especially well-known for his Latin 205 class, where students translate, design and perform a Latin play, all in three and a half weeks.

Gruber-Miller, the only winner of this year’s award, said he was elated and honored to receive it.

“I want to express my gratitude to my students at Cornell College,” he said. “They have made teaching fun and rewarding by challenging me, inspiring me, and motivating me to dig deeper, research more, and think about new ways to make the ancient world more accessible. And thanks to my colleagues who inspire me with their passion for teaching and concern for students. I couldn’t have better colleagues.”

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