The Graduate & Professional Student Council has named Dr. Christenson its 2012 Outstanding Mentor of Students (campus-wide). The GPSC bestows this award annually on a faculty member “who has made outstanding efforts to mentor and advise graduate or professional students … [and] creates opportunities for the students that they work with to achieve excellence.”
Dr. Christenson (or “DC” as he is known in the department) has played a major role in the Classics master’s program over the last ca. 10 years, by his meticulous service on a myriad of M.A. thesis committees, his establishment of a successful Graduate Colloquium, and by being one of the driving forces behind the reconfiguration of the M.A. program that has led to its steep rise in national prominence. He has also frequently served as Director of the Basic Latin (Teaching Training) Program and as Director of Graduate Studies, and he has always maintained an open-door policy for students (even this year when he is on research leave as a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellow).
As is appropriate for a student-driven and -judged award, the GPSC relies heavily on student as well as faculty nominations. One former student writes of DC:
"Dr. Christenson’s most lasting impact on me, however, is in my writing and scholarship. In writing my M.A. thesis with him, I learned not only the importance of careful editing and persuasive argumentation, but also how to expand ideas and formulate conclusions with the help of primary and secondary sources. Dr. Christenson was quick to point out moments of the thesis that needed to be further unpacked and provided useful hints of how such moments could be developed … and opened my eyes to areas of study previously unknown to me."
A faculty nominator stressed how eager so many current and former students were to offer their support for Dr. Christenson’s nomination:
"Those letters represent the full gamut of our graduates: students who took a terminal M.A. and are now teachers, attorneys, and missionaries; students who went on to do Ph.D. work in Classics, launched by DC into some of the most prestigious programs in the world … and former students who are now classics professors themselves. Beneath the elegant prose in each letter is a common and genuine joy in the recollection of their time in our Department, and a genuine gratitude for DC’s mentoring and for his indefatigable commitment to their success."
Congratulations, DC, on this well deserved award!