Provost Faculty Scholarship Recipient -
W. Marshall Johnston, Ph.D.
At FPU, "we see our scholarship motivated by our teaching," says Marshall Johnston, director of the history and classics programs.
"There is this very productive feedback loop that happens," he says. "As you teach the students, they give you new insights. I can't think of any class I've ever taught where there wasn't at least one or two questions a student would ask that made me realize some things I'd taken for granted might need to be examined more thoroughly."
It was this feedback loop that inspired Johnston's presentation on "advice-giving in the ancient world" at the annual conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses. Johnston examines the role of Homer's grandfatherly character Nestor in Greek oral poetry.
In contrast to our modern culture, Johnston says, "In the ancient world, you always wanted to know what your elders said, what your community of friends said. I want to talk about how Nestor speaks to the Greeks' understanding of their legendary age and of advice."
This updated understanding of ancient advice-giving may, in turn, become a useful tool for classroom instruction. Advice-giving provides a lens through which history can be viewed, Johnston says, to gain a better understanding of our place in it today.
FPU created the Provost Research Grant in 2008 to encourage faculty to develop their scholarship. Awards have been given in fields from science to religion and have funded the creation of new music and the translation of ancient languages. Read the full Provost Faculty Scholarship report which includes all the faculty recipients and an overview of their work.