Phyllis Forsyth, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1977

Classical Studies

Phyllis Forsyth joined the Department of Classics and Romance Languages in 1969 as a lecturer in classics. She became an assistant professor in 1972 and was promoted to associate professor in 1975. Dr. Forsyth is well known as a classical scholar, particularly for her writings on the Roman poet Catullus. Her teaching covers a very broad spectrum from a senior Latin course (described in her nomination as “a very traditional subject taught in a mostly traditional style”) to innovative courses in classical art and architecture, and classical epic and drama. She has been instrumental in the development of classical civilization courses which has helped establish Waterloo's small classics division as a flourishing centre of classics scholarship. As a teacher, Phyllis Forsyth has won the admiration and respect of her students and her colleagues. Her nominators were very blunt: “The published criteria for the Distinguished Teacher Awards read like a description of Dr. Forsyth.” She is admired for “the depth of her research,” “the thorough preparation behind her teaching,” “her fluency with words,” “the briskness and wit of her writing.” Her students find her “endlessly available and understanding.” Her former students return “to her office door for conversation and advice.” Here is testimony to scholarship of the highest order, to skill in the use of language, to imagination and resourcefulness, and to a serious commitment to the development of students.