Greek professor named 2015 University Scholar
Dr. Elizabeth Kosmetatou, associate professor of history, recently received the 2015 UIS University Scholar award, which is the highest faculty award at the university.
In order to receive the award, a professor must be nominated by his or her peers, and then a panel of seasoned faculty members reviews the nominations. Kosmetatou expressed gratitude to her coworkers for nominating her for the award.
“It’s wonderful for my career, and I am very grateful to my colleagues for giving me this honor,” Kosmetatou said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Accompanying the award is a $15,000 annual scholarship granted to Kosmetatou for the next three years. Kosmetatou plans to spend her awarded money on items to further assist her scholarly work and teaching abilities.
Kosmetatou began her collegiate education at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where she studied archaeology and art history.
Upon her graduation, she received a Fulbright Scholarship and traveled to the United States to study classics at the University of Cincinnati. While at the University of Cincinnati, Kosmetatou earned both a master’s degree and a Ph.D in classics.
According to Kosmetatou, “classics” is an umbrella term for the study of Greek and Roman ancient archaeology, literary texts, written records, and overall history.
Kosmetatou’s knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman history has landed her teaching positions at several universities, including the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, Tulane University, and the University of Texas at Austin.
However, Kosmetatou’s experience at UIS has stood out to her from her previous teaching positions.
“This is the best institution I’ve worked with,” Kosmetatou said. “I find students at UIS a little more mature than students elsewhere.”
Besides maturity, Kosmetatou is also impressed with UIS students in terms of intellect.
“I see that with courses that I offer that are challenging and require a lot of critical thinking, like the History of the Roman Republic,” Kosmetatou said. “I’ve taught it both at Tulane and UIS, and I think my UIS course is even more challenging than the Tulane course, and I find students at UIS are doing much better.”
On top of having taught at several world-class institutions, Kosmetatou also has published in the Harvard University Press, where she holds the position of guest co-editor for the journal “Classics@.”
Throughout her years of publishing, Kosmetatou has produced somewhere between 40 and 50 pieces of scholarly work.
“My publications are over 40, maybe over 50 by now. Some are articles, some are book chapters, and I have some encyclopedia entries,” Kosmetatou said.
Besides gaining attention from her peers, Kosmetatou’s lifelong educational work has also been noticed by the U.S. government, which led to her receiving a Green Card in an expedited fashion.
“A year ago I got my U.S. Green Card as an outstanding professor and researcher,” Kosmetatou said. “They have a special category. They give you the Green Card faster and approve it faster.”
Upon her return in the fall of 2016, Kosmetatou will teach a host of courses, including a freshman seminar class focusing on antiquity and film through the Star War series, a historical comparative society’s class focusing on the formation of western civilization, and HIS 501: Graduate History Colloquium.