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Stephen Wagner routinely teaches first-year and intermediate Latin (both poetry and prose). He especially likes to bring to students the joy of reading ancient texts in their original languages and to reveal what one does not ~ indeed cannot ~ find in translations. To these ends, he focuses heavily on reading and composition, along with the rich grammatical structures found in Latin and ancient Greek that provide so many tools for authors and subsequently their audiences. He works hard in classes to foster a sense of community and cooperation so that all students can meet the high standards set for them. He also encourages playing with the language as a way of gaining understanding beyond rote memorization. Currently he teaches an intermediate poetry class on Ovid, which changes its core text each semester (Metamorphoses, Heroides, or Amores); past authors have included Catullus and Lucretius. He has taught intermediate prose using authors such as Cicero, Seneca, Livy, and Pliny the Younger.
Mr. Wagner also teaches a wide range of classical culture courses, including Classical Myth, Ancient Drama, Ancient Epic Poetry, Medical Terminology, and specialized courses in Greek and Roman philosophy. He has developed new courses, including one using I, Claudius as an introduction to the Julio-Claudian emperors and another examining classical influences on 20th century French existentialist literature. In the past he has also taught courses in philosophy, ethics, and even mathematics. He has twice won the Kenneth R. Merrill Teaching Award from OU's Department of Philosophy and also an Apple for the Teacher Award from the University of Pittsburgh.
His academic interests center on the history of science and philosophy from the ancient world through the early modern period; he starts to lose interest when the texts cease to be in Greek or Latin. His undergraduate training was in physics and philosophy at the University of Maryland; his graduate training was in history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Wagner is the long-time faculty advisor for O.U.Improv! and is proud that many of the former students in O.U.I! now perform professionally in local, regional, and national troupes such as Red Dirt Improv and TwinProv. He is also the faculty advisor for Facilitating African Rehabilitation. Within the department, he serves on the Curriculum Committee and is active with its student organizations.
He currently lives comfortably with four dogs and three cats and, other than reading and cooking, spends as much time as possible enjoying local theatre and modern dance performances.