One student has called him a “human encyclopedia on all things ancient.” Whether leading seminars to Greece or mentoring students through their own research, David Wick, professor of history, has consistently modeled outstanding and inspiring scholarship. As a result, he has received the 2012 Marv Wilson Award for Teaching Excellence, which each year honors a faculty member from the Humanities Division or the Department of History.
The award was established in 2006 through the generosity of Gordon alumna Betsy Gage Pea ’79 and her husband Barry who wanted to honor Dr. Wilson. While studying as a history major, Betsy took many biblical studies courses from Wilson. In response, she established the gift not only to recognize Wilson for his years of passionate teaching but also to encourage other faculty to strive for similar success in the classroom for years to come. In addition to having his name engraved on the award plaque in Frost Hall, Wick will receive an additional $1,000 for funding expenses to enrich his teaching and scholarship in the coming year. Stephen Alter, associate professor and chair of the history department, wrote the following about his colleague:
“Excellent teaching involves content, communication skill and personal relationship. Those who know David and his work are awed by the way that he embodies and balances these several dimensions of the teacher’s craft.
He brings to his teaching a vast knowledge of the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds, from religious to scientific to military history. One student recalled of the 2011 “Aegean Seminar” that he conducts to Greece every other summer: ‘Each day I’d find myself gravitating toward our human encyclopedia on all things ancient, Dr. David Wick. He shared with us myriad stories of Greek culture, politics, biography and warfare, creating before our eyes an ancient world for us to walk through.’
All who have been exposed to his instruction testify to his communication skills, especially his prowess at presenting narrative-based lectures. Famous also is his facility for relating ancient history to current concerns—drawing, for instance, on his own research in ancient urban life—and even to modern popular culture, including various Hollywood films. Good teaching is based in personal relationships. His dedication to students (something made practical through patient nurturing) can be seen on campus in earnest or humorous conversations with students. Often he has been known to tailor course assignments to a particular student’s interests. In sum, David knows his students as individuals, and relates to them as friend and mentor. He’s helped to create this environment at Gordon that we all cherish—a contribution he’s been making since coming in 1995. For all the above reasons, this award is both due and overdue. What’s due from us now is our expression of congratulations.”