Daniel Harris-McCoy


Assistant Professor,
Department of Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas

Dr. Daniel Harris-McCoy, professor in Classics, asks himself: “What does the classicist—that supposedly dusty tweed-clad minor of Greek and Latin dictionaries—have to offer modern students?” He then demonstrates his own unique, lively response in each course he teaches in which students are immersed in the language and culture of the ancients. Two central learning objectives guide Professor Harris-McCoy’s teaching: that students develop an ability to see contemporary society as the product of a long and often fractious social, intellectual and aesthetic history; and, that they develop the habit of questioning personal beliefs through exposure to worldviews very different from their own. Among the diverse devices in his innovative pedagogical portfolio include: students’ practice of calligraphy to enhance their association with the process of manuscript writing and textual transmissions; production of comic book versions of various mythic stories; keeping dream-journals and comparing their dreams to myths to better understand psychoanalytical approaches to interpreting these myths; and, listening to Greek Beats and Toga Beats, a hip-hop based method for learning Greek and Latin created by Dr. Harris-McCoy and an undergraduate student so that students more easily learn the intricacies of Greek and Latin grammar. A senior colleague observes that students now flock to his courses and continue on to make classics their major, as borne out through testimony of students who express the value of community created in the courses. “When entering Harris-McCoy’s classes, I feel like I am entering a home,” and “A top-tier educator of unrivalled spirit, character and compassion who has made my time at Manoa a brighter, more hopeful experience.” Students find that Professor Harris-McCoy teaches with unparalleled vigor and zeal for the Classics, treating every new day as an exceptional occasion to explore life, death, love, war, science, philosophy through an ancient lens. A colleague who has attended his courses emphasizes Harris-McCoy’s unique gift as a pedagogue is that of synthesizing traits that are often mutually exclusive, that is, he has the capacity to lecture and take command in ways that are extremely engaging, while balancing this with interaction and introspection, his own singular version of the Socratic method. On behalf of Daniel Harris-McCoy’s nomination for excellence in teaching, she urges, “Look no further. You have found the shoulders on which to rest your laurel wreath.”

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