Planting the seeds for success and curiosity in her students

As an anthropologist, Julia Giblin has dedicated her career to the study of humanity through a variety of lenses, including archaeology, community, sustainability and indigeneity. But the most compelling lens, she’ll tell you, just might be through the eyes of her students.

For her ability to bring the humanities to life for our students as well as her tireless dedication to them and her robust scholarship, Giblin will be honored next month with the university’s most prestigious faculty accolade, an Excellence in Teaching Award.

Giblin, an associate professor of anthropology, has taught in the College of Arts and Sciences since 2012. During that time, she’s taken her students on provocative classroom journeys one day, and an interdisciplinary archaeological dig in Hungary the next.

“The beauty of being a teacher, one of the reasons I love it so much, is engaging with students. What are you curious about? What are you interested in?” Giblin said Wednesday. “Here’s what I’m interested in. Here are some seeds. Here is some soil. Let’s see what we can grow together.”

Giblin, who also serves as a faculty fellow with the Global Engagement Fellowship at the Albert Schweitzer Institute, has been a leader in helping the Quinnipiac community better understand and respect its Indigenous connection to the land that the university occupies.

For Hillary Haldane, a professor of anthropology and one of Giblin’s closest colleagues, the dedication to her students and scholarship is ever evident.

“Most recently, Dr. Giblin refashioned her Practicing Archaeology course to focus on the Quinnipiac peoples, past, present and future, and bring their archeological record into conversation with their current push to receive recognition,” Haldane said.

“As Quinnipiac strives to achieve the goals of our Strategic Plan and our 10-Point Plan, it will be Dr. Giblin's work, among others, that contributes to us moving forward on our responsibilities to the people whose name we use as a university,” Haldane added. “Dr. Giblin models this responsibility, as well as the respect, reciprocity, relationships, and reverence for and with Native communities, near and far.”

For Dan Galvet ‘23, Giblin was the professor who planted and nurtured those seeds of his innate curiosity.

“Julia Giblin is one of the most influential professors I have had the privilege of studying under,” Galvet said. “Her teaching is characterized by an intimate knowledge of her subject matter, infectious enthusiasm, exceptional commitment to her students, and a refusal to rest on her laurels, born of a genuine and palpable love for learning.”

Galvet also cited Giblin’s unwavering dedication and accessibility to her students.

“Professor Giblin has been so supportive of me and my independent study, and made herself so accessible, attending several meetings related to our work, responding to an endless barrage of emails from me ... and meeting with me for lengthy one-on-ones on multiple occasions to discuss next steps, provide me with contacts of interest and a plethora of insightful resources, and give general guidance when the road ahead became foggy or daunting.

“Her devotion to these projects stems from her insatiable curiosity, her desire to nurture her students, and her determination to help them generate schoolwide cultural change. She personifies leading by example, bringing good intention, energy, and hard work to every project she pursues,” Galvet added.

For Giblin, the last 10-plus years have been a gift.

“I’m so honored and humbled by getting this award,” Giblin said. “I love teaching the students at Quinnipiac. I love to take ideas and run with them in interesting ways and just crack the vessel open and be curious. As a teacher, these are the moments where the synergies, the recipes — all of it, really — it just comes together in amazing ways that are bigger than yourself.”

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