About ten days ago, I attended a little function here at McGill to honor the teaching skills of my friend Stephen Chrisomalis, now an assistant professor at Wayne State University. The reception was held because Steve was awarded a McGill Arts Undergraduate Society Excellence in Teaching Award at McGill, where he worked until this summer.
And I have to say, it's richly deserved. Beyond being an original thinker whose archaeological research is strongly and profitably rooted in comparative approaches, Steve (who incidentally was my TA in my very first archaeology course when I started out as an impressionable BA student at McGill back in 19coughcough) approaches teaching with more enthusiasm than I've seen in pretty much anyone involved in academia and, with his 'Cartesian' mindset (i.e., non-linear, which I definitely mean as a compliment!), he has the knack of coming up with innovative ways to get archaeological and anthropological matters through to students in ways that are both innovative and grounded in easily relatable topics and forms of material culture. It's a rare ability indeed, and one that I envy quite a bit now that I've started teaching on something resembling a regular basis. Habitual readers of AVRPI may remember that I had mentioned his Dollarware Archaeology website a few months back. Well, not only does he have a couple more such websites (here, here and here) where he compiles information and papers produced by the students in some of his courses, one of these is the topic of a talk he recently presented on the social underpinnings of stop signs in Montreal.
And, for another 'not only', it was my great pleasure to see recently that Steve has started his own blog, Glossographia, since blogging and new media through which to communicate anthropology writ large to a broader audience was a topic which we often discussed last year, as I was starting my postodc at McGill. Now, you'll have to excuse him if he tarnished what is otherwise an outstanding blog by talking about yours truly in one post, but I highly recommend checking it out and commenting on his posts. You won't be sorry!
Now, I've added a link to Glossographia in the links section of this humble blog, so you have no excuse not to check it out. But, I also want to point out two recent additions to the blogroll: Publishing Archaeology, by Mike Smith (a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University - where I got my degree) who champions the causes of open-access publishing in archaeology and of how to disseminate archaeological literature as widely as possible (among other topics); and Middle Savagery, the brainchild of Berkeley PhD student Colleen Morgan, who devotes a lot of time and energy to how digital technologies can serve the needs and further the goals of archaeology and rendering accessible to a wider audience. Check out all three blogs, people! You'll come out of the experience a better person, if maybe one with slightly less free time.