Dr. Joanne Murphy’s work to bring more students into archaeological fields and give them more opportunities for research has garnered the attention of the Archaeological Institute of America.
The professor of Classical Studies received the institute’s 2023 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Murphy began teaching at UNC Greensboro in 2008, teaching a variety of courses ranging from Mythology to Ancient Sports and Society. She directs the Kea Archaeological Survey and has led students doing field work on the Greek island of Kea. She has worked with three different archaeological field schools in the past 18 years.
“It’s the chance of a lifetime,” she says, “To find and touch objects that might have been held in several thousands of years; to have that connection with another human that lived so long ago is a true wonder. Apart from the humanistic romance of that, the transferable skills from archaeology are phenomenal- develop strong observation skills, learn how to synthesize and analyze large bodies of data, research, communicate findings, and all in an international work environment.”
The institute wrote, “A combination of exceptional teaching skills, an indomitable spirit, and energetic leadership is rare to find in a single person, and yet Dr. Joanne Murphy embodies each and every one of these qualities.”
It praised Dr. Murphy’s student mentorship and her use of a $200 thousand grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to redesign 40 courses across 13 disciplines, and to increase the capacity for undergraduate research opportunities.
Connecting her students to financial help “has made coming to Greece much more attainable for students,” she says. “They also get a chance to do a deep dive into an archaeological project and present their work at conferences. This ownership over a topic really connects them to archaeology.”
Her previous accolades include the Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award in 2018 and the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award in 2020.