Dr. Schwab Receives Distinguished Faculty Award
College of Arts and Sciences’ Professor of Visual and Performing Arts, Dr. Katherine A. Schwab, was honored for her years of commitment and educational discovery by being named the recipient of Fairfield University’s 2017 Distinguished Faculty/Administrator Award. She and her fellow honorees were recognized for their achievements at the Annual Fairfield Awards Dinner ceremony on March 30, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt Regency in New York City.
“When I was told I would be receiving this award, I was stunned,” Dr. Schwab admitted. “I say this in full recognition of the superb faculty we have at Fairfield – men and women – who are smart, talented and doing extraordinary work in their research and creative accomplishments on a national and international level. This award is very meaningful to me as a recognition of what I have done already, as well as what I am doing now and in the near future.”
When reflecting on her 19 year career at Fairfield, Dr. Schwab finds it rewarding to keep her students engaged. "Courses I teach focus on people and their cultural achievements from a long time ago, usually 2,500 years ago," she explained. "How to make that relevant to students in my classes is an exciting challenge and one that offers shared questions over time and space.”
Dr. Schwab has taught at Fairfield since 1988, after completing her PhD at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. She received her BA from Scripps College and her MA from Southern Methodist University. Her research areas include the Parthenon metopes and ancient Greek hairstyles, and her work on the Parthenon east and north metopes, a component of the large sculptural program facilitated by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, has yielded new information on their original appearance. Results have been presented in the U.S. and internationally, as well as in several book chapter publications. Her Parthenon drawings from a traveling exhibition, An Archaeologist's Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab, is currently touring the U.S., while gray-scale scans of her drawings are permanently installed in the Acropolis Museum. She has curated exhibitions including Photographs of the Caryatid Hairstyling Project (2015), which highlights a video project that has been screened in Greece, Japan, Italy and the U.S. Most recently, she and Marice Rose, PhD, co-curated the exhibition, Hair in the Classical World, at the Bellarmine Hall Galleries (2015).
"In exploring ancient cultures, I endeavor to encourage my students to seek their own creative and intellectual potential," Dr. Schwab said about her teaching style. "My students build a web of knowledge that forges links with a continuum of knowledge through the millennia."
As Curator of the Plaster Cast Collection at Fairfield University, Dr. Schwab oversees a collection of 100 casts from gifts and long-term renewable loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, the Acropolis Museum and individual donors. She previously, served as department chair for two consecutive terms and as Art History program director for several years. An inaugural faculty member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, Dr. Schwab’s areas of expertise and interest encompass Greek and Roman art and archaeology with courses developed in those areas and cross-listed with the Classical Studies program. She also created the first courses in non-western art and Asian art for the curriculum.
Students frequently participate in Dr. Schwab’s research projects (plaster cast collection and ancient hairstyles) and contribute to brochures and other literature for campus and web-based visitors.
“I did not achieve this recognition by myself,” Dr. Schwab said. “Students, colleagues (at the University and in Athens) and family have all played a role in encouraging me to pursue new ideas and hunches at every step of the way.”