3 Crowns Faculty

Faculty Features: Matt Panciera

In 2014, Matthew Panciera, faculty member and former director of the 3 Crowns Curriculum, received the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching at Gustavus Adolphus College. The Edgar M. Carlson Award was established by the Gustavus Board of Trustees in 1971 to honor former President Edgar Carlson for his years of distinguished leadership and in recognition of his commitment to academic excellence. Gustavus faculty, staff, administrators, and students nominate professors for this award, and each year at commencement a faculty member, selected by the Provost based on the recommendations of previous Carlson recipients, is awarded for their exceptional skill and effectiveness as an instructor.

Professor Matthew Panciera on the Three Crowns Curriculum:

 “From my experience teaching for many years and at several different colleges, Three Crowns at Gustavus is the best form of general education that I have ever seen. The students love to delve into big questions, to participate in their own education, and there is nothimg more fun for me than to leap off from some great reading (Thucydides, Plato, Confucius, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio) and ask ‘Why are we all here?’ The discussion is exhilarating and I never know where it may lead.”

“Good teaching is certainly a complex mixture: it starts with a teacher's knowledge of the material, then there is the mastery of techniques to transfer that knowledge to the students, and it always requires an understanding of human psychology to create an atmosphere where each student wants to learn the material. It is also part performance, the pure joy of being in command in front of an audience, holding them in the palm of your hand, creating a moment that they will never forget. Early on in graduate school I was part of a production of a Roman comedy (in Latin in front of an audience!) and it changed me forever—I saw how much fun and important it was to remember that good teaching is part entertainment (in the best sense of the word).”

Professor Matthew Panciera's Biography:

Matthew Panciera studied Latin and Greek as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto and received his PhD in Classics from the University of North Carolina. He has taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, the College of Charleston, Hamilton College, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome and Catania, and for the last 12 years at Gustavus Adolphus College. His research and publications are frequently on the topics of Roman history, ancient sexual mores, Pompeii and its graffiti, and Latin pedagogy. Most recently he organized the Tuscalanum Minnesotense, a week long Latin seminar held at Gustavus in which all the participants spoke and communicated only in Latin. In addition to his teaching in the Classics department (Greek, Latin, Roman history, Roman art and archaeology, IEX courses to Italy and London), he has taught Historical Perspectives I, the Visual Experience, and the Literary Experience in the Three Crowns Curriculum. 

Students who nominated Panciera for the Carlson Award made the following comments about him:

“Professor Panciera makes Gustavus a special place, where students not only feel compelled to strive for excellence, but also enjoy the work they do in the process of achieving it.”
“Professor Panciera exemplifies the commitment to education and excellence that I would always wish for in an instructor and advisor.”
“Professor Panciera encourages students to read with their heads and with their hearts, which forces us to shift away from the perspective of unconcerned bystanders toward one of personal and emotional investment in the stories…and their characters.”

For more about Matt Panciera please follow the links provided below.