Michael Cosmopoulos— 2004 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award

Award Citation:

It is with great pleasure that the Archaeological Institute of America names Professor Michael B. Cosmopoulos of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis as the recipient of the 2004 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. Professor Cosmopoulos is described uniformly by students and colleagues alike as having boundless energy and passion for teaching. The AlA can be proud to honor so outstanding a colleague.

Michael Cosmopoulos received his BA (summa cum laude) from the University of Athens in Archaeology and History; his MA and Ph.D. degrees in Art History and Archaeology were awarded by Washington University, St. Louis. After teaching for more than ten years in the Department of Classics at the University of Manitoba, he is now Professor of Archaeology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he teaches courses in Greek archaeology, culture, history, and mythology. Dr. Cosmopoulos throughout his career has promoted both ancient and modem Greek studies; in addition to being Professor of Archaeology, he has been since 200 I the Hellenic Government-Karakas Foundation Professor of Greek Studies at UM-St. Louis. An extremely active researcher, he currently directs three field projects in Greece: the Eleusis Archaeological Project, the lklaina Archaeological Project, and the Oropos Survey Project. He has authored several monographs and over seventy papers.

Michael Cosmopoulos is no stranger to recognition of his teaching. At the University of Manitoba, he received a Merit Award for teaching in 1991 and the Olive Beatrice Stanton Award for Excellence in teaching in 1999. He was even nominated for the national "Canadian Professor of the Year" award while at Manitoba. Students at Manitoba and UM-St. Louis report that Michael brings an infectious enthusiasm for his subject to the classroom: one of them suggests that the undergraduate professor needs to be " ... energetic, exciting, provocative, scholarly, humorous, serious, and most of all understanding towards the ever-changing minds of the students"-and then reports that this is an accurate description of Michael Cosmopoulos. Although his expectations are high, students believe that he provides the help they need to excel. A department chair reports that growth in enrollment and majors was initiated by the spark Michael Cosmopoulos brought to his program: "If he now teaches in a Department and University where significant numbers of students either specialize in classical studies or are attracted to the Classics Department for optional courses, it is largely because Cosmopoulos himself has had a large part in creating the necessary conditions."

A special aspect of Michael Cosmopoulos' teaching has been his work with undergraduates in the field. Participants report that he is thorough in introducing them to the techniques of archaeological survey and brings in specialists to broaden their knowledge. He makes a constant effort to connect what they learn in lectures with what is actually done in the field. A humane project director, he enriches his students' field experience with trips to archaeological sites and creates a strong sense of camaraderie among the entire team.

Professor Michael Cosmopoulos stands as an exemplar of an outstanding undergraduate teacher. TheArchaeological Institute of America is delighted to recognize Michael Cosmopoulos as the 2004 recipient of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

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