School navigation

The Source

Kugler receives David Savage award

January 27, 2015

  • Paul S. Wright Professor and Director of Strategic Initiatives Robert Kugler

Paul S. Wright Professor and Director of Strategic Initiatives Robert Kugler has received Lewis & Clark’s David Savage Award. The award is given to a tenured faculty member whose vision and sustained service to the College have advanced the general academic and intellectual welfare of our community of teachers and scholars. The Source caught up with Rob to learn more about his passion for teaching and the significance of the award.

What are your favorite courses to teach?

I teach Jewish Origins and Christian Origins every other year. Those two courses remain my consistent favorites because they allow me to work creatively with the basic question that shapes my scholarly interests—telling the story of Jewish and Christian identity formation in the multicultural context of the Greco-Roman world. That story has remarkable resonance with modern ethnic and religious groups’ attempts to define themselves in pluralistic contexts.

Please describe your passion for teaching and research.

I am interested in the interplay between Jewish and Christian identity formation in pluralistic contexts in antiquity because I find so much in that story that addresses the modern human experience, and the experience of our students in particular. Their reality is in large part just that: working out their identity in a wildly multicultural, pluralistic world. So I view my scholarship and teaching as inextricably interwoven activities that produce their best fruits in the classroom and in engagement with students—it is thrilling when I see a student making the connection between her own quest for meaning and identity and the story of ancient Jews and Christians. That’s liberal arts education at its best.

What is your most memorable teaching moment?

Every time I help a student make that connection and see that it has real bearing on how he will navigate life going forward.

What does the David Savage award mean to you?

It is very nice to be recognized for work I would have done in any case. More to the point, I am honored to stand in a tradition of folks who are deemed by colleagues to have something of the award’s namesake’s commitment to service for the common good.