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SCS Newsletter - February 2019 (Professional Matters Reports)

Professional Matters Division Report

150th Annual Meeting, Boston, Jan. 3-7, 2019

Reporting:  Barbara K. Gold, Vice President, 2017-2021

Reports from Committees in this Division:

1. Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Profession (COGSIP)

Deborah Beck, Chair; James Uden, Incoming Chair, Jeanne Neumann, Co-Chair

5 January, San Diego

Chair: Deborah Beck (2019)

Incoming chair: James Uden (2020)

Junior Co-chair: Jeanne Neumann (2021)

SCS VP for Professional Matters: Barbara Gold

Members in attendance: Jason Nethercut (2021), Sarah Nooter (2021), Caroline Bishop (2022)

Attended via Skype: Anne Duncan (2020), Serena Connolly (2020)

Dates in parentheses after each person’s name are the end of that member’s term.

Also present for discussion of the survey on harassment and discrimination: Deb Kamen (LCC), Nancy Rabinowitz (WCC), Anise Strong (WCC), Victoria Pagán (CODIP).

Discussion of survey on harassment and discrimination

(1) An immediate and pressing question was whether to circulate the report of the survey results, since Helen Cullyer was ready to do so. There was a consensus not to circulate the entirety of the report, and not issue any part of the report without contextualization. Anise observed that many of the written responses were so specific that it would compromise respondents’ anonymity if they were released.

(2) Deborah argued that a goal of the committee should be to do “PR” for the survey. There were certainly negative responses to the survey. Sarah expressed the view that the frequent objection to the language of ‘incidents’ is valid and should be acknowledged. (This language was the product of back-and-forth between the working group and the statisticians, Deborah explained; they insisted on quantifying the experiences of harassment in order to get the sort of data we needed). But the survey did its job: the high response rate and abundant evidence of harassment now makes problems impossible to deny. It can form the first step in future policy-making in the Society.

(3) It was decided that COGSIP should aim to put together a c.3-4 page report that summarizes the results. It would accompany the release of the data section of the survey results. It was suggested that, as well as giving some background to the survey and giving voice to some frequent objections, COGSIP should stress that the survey did not aim to be ‘all things to all people’. Many respondents complained that there was no consideration of discrimination on grounds of class, age, or religion – but they are topics for future potential surveys. Nancy Rabinowitz emphasized that the report should stress what the professional organization can and can’t do. Barbara Gold emphasized that we need to think about next practical steps.

(4) In lieu of a panel for 2020, it was decided that our efforts be dedicated this year to producing a polished report, which would also be archived on the SCS website. Then we would also co-author a number of blog posts focusing on aspects of the report over the course of the year. Since graduate students and contingent faculty are two groups disproportionately affected by harassment and discrimination, COGSIP is particularly keen to get the message out to graduate students about what the SCS can (and unfortunately cannot) do in order to help.

(5) It was decided that the report would be coordinated by Jason Nethercut (COGSIP) and Anise Strong (member of the survey working group), but the entire committee would contribute to its writing. It was agreed that the best way to proceed was for us all to work on dividing the written responses into different categories, and then each analyze a part of them. Jason would follow up with the statistician to get some more fine-grained detail about the results.

[After the meeting, James proposed to Jason a rough timeline: Jason and Anise would ask for rubrics for analysis of the written responses by the end of January and divide up the writing; COGSIP members would write their sections of the report in February; and March would be devoted to putting the report together and editing it, in collaboration with all COGSIP members. This timeline was approved by Anise by email on January 10].

(6) There was discussion of what would happen if anyone emailed Helen and applied pressure to see the survey results. The Chair will formulate standard language that Helen can use to respond to such emails.

(7) Finally, there was discussion of the survey results. Anise emphasized that people who fall into intersectional categories seem to have been particularly badly affected by harassment and discrimination, and gay men were another group who appeared with particular frequency in the comments. Neither of these categories are reflected by the charts and graphs, and so need to be included in our report. A number of people on the committee pointed out how extremely rarely the perpetrator of harassment had been punished. Conferences and digs are particular “danger zones” – we have long known this, but it is important to get confirmation.

(8) This segued into general conversation of what power the SCS has over cases of harassment at the meeting. Barbara explained that we do have power to eject people from the convention. We can report people back to the home institution, but we don’t have a lot of power, and there is a lot of mystery. Nancy cautioned that we need to be clear that we are reporting a complaint, not pre-judging the truth of alleged incidents. Barbara said that she frequently discusses incidents of harassment at home institutions. Ethical complaints can also go to the Professional Ethics Committee.

Reports from meetings of other committees

(1) Report from WCC (Deborah). Nancy Rabinowitz is incoming senior co-chair. She told the committee about a new group called the Mountaintop Coalition, focused on underrepresented groups within classics.

(2) Report from LCC (James). Mark Masterson is incoming Co-chair, with Sarah Levin-Richardson elected co-chair. The website is moving to WordPress. Law and sexuality was agreed upon as a subject of the 2021 panel.

(3) Report from Career Planning and Professional Development (CCPD) (James). The committee revised and then voted to accept the new Statement on Career Diversity. Placement data for the year was reviewed; one striking statistic was a big increase in Skype interviews.

Committee on Diversity in the Profession (CODIP)

(1) Deborah made the point that we need to establish a formal relationship between COGSIP and CODIP. She asked Jeanne, co-chair of COGSIP, to correspond with the CODIP chair (Victoria Pagán) and co-chair (Sanjaya Thakur), and ask to attend their meeting. We should add this to the list of other meetings we attend ex officio in 2020, and also invite a member from CODIP to attend our meeting.

Status of ongoing projects

(1) Deborah reported that there is an ongoing push to make the harassment policy part of the registration process. We need to get the assent of the AIA for this.  Caroline pointed out that there was a panel this year at the AIA on harassment, organized by Maryl Gensheimer (University of Maryland), Catharine Judson (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and Debra Trusty (University of Iowa). The committee agreed that we should reach out to these people to tell them about our efforts in COGSIP, and see if they can apply some pressure on leadership. [After the meeting, Jason also suggested Dmitri Nakassis of the University of Colorado at Boulder as another possible contact].

(2) The revised Statement on Professional Ethics is complete; it just needs to be approved by the members.

(3) Discussion continues about the decision by CAMWS to hold their 2023 meeting at Brigham Young University. It was agreed that COGSIP will engage in ongoing discussions with LCC and WCC about the nature and timing of appropriate next steps, with the goal of presenting a united front among our three groups. The Chair will reach out to both groups in order to make this happen. A total boycott of the meeting is undesirable but certainly possible if no action is taken by CAMWS.

(4) Concerns were raised to Deborah and James throughout the year about childcare at the SCS meeting. It was discussed that the WCC and SCS both have a sum of money to assist with hiring daycare. Childcare facilities on the hotel premises were in place in the past but unused. It was decided that James will correspond with Anne and the SCS member who expressed concern to discuss the matter further. [This SCS member also approached James during the meeting with further suggestions and requests].

(5) It was decided to table discussion of any forthcoming departmental survey. The next survey was scheduled to be held in 2020 (but will possibly be postponed).

(6) New COGSIP members will be a pressing issue this year, since three members will rotate off the committee in 2020. Committee members were invited to submit suggestions to the Chair between now and May. The Chair will then submit a list to the VP for Professional Matters (Barbara). Some members expressed a desire to have people on the committee who are not cisgender. Barbara observed that we should strike a balance between junior and senior members of the field. Volunteers frequently come from among contingent and non-tenure-track faculty, but the burdens of committee work should not fall disproportionately on the least powerful members of our discipline.

Our to-do list for 2019

- Jan-March: coordinated by Jason Nethercut and Anise Strong, COGSIP produces a report to contextualize the results of the survey, which will be released to the members alongside the data portion of the results.

- After that, COGSIP will produce some blog posts and other communications with the members about the survey results. We will explain how SCS can help if a member has experienced harassment, and suggest ways of moving forward.

- COGSIP will work with WCC and the LCC to formulate a response to CAMWS re: holding their meeting at Brigham Young University.

- The Chair will respond to members who have expressed concerns on the issue of childcare at the SCS, and the committee will explore possibilities on that topic.

- Establish a formal link with CODIP, and ensure that there is representation from COGSIP on the annual meeting of that committee.

- Establish contact with members of the AIA to advance the issue of the harassment policy.


2. Committee on Contingent Faculty

Tim Heckenlively, Chair; Elizabeth LaFray, Co-Chair

Our goals for 2018 included:

  • Visibility: making membership aware of professional contributions (broadly defined) by contingent faculty and that our committee exists as a resource.
  • Networking: continue to build a network of connections beyond SCS.
  • Draw attention to language in SCS awards that might unintentionally exclude contingent faculty from eligibility or discourage application.
  • Assist, where possible, efforts within SCS to create openness to a diversity of career outcomes with graduate programs.
  • Develop a network whereby long-term and former NTT faculty can serve as career mentors for new NTT faculty.
  • Develop a means for identifying and surveying the contingent faculty within SCS.
  • Explore with SCS the possibility of developing a summer grant program that could aid contingent faculty in their research or other professional development.

Visibility was our most successful endeavor this past year. In addition to the reception at the Annual Meeting (decently attended despite the weather in Boston), our committee sponsored a roundtable. Members of the committee hosted a similar event at CAMWS in April. We also served as a resource for David White’s presidential address, “Contingent Faculty: Who are they? What are they?” at CAMWS Southern Section in October. Two members of the committee, Andrew Scott and Salvador Bartera, also laid the foundation for a series of posts on the SC blog regarding contingent faculty issues in general and highlighting achievements of particular faculty members. One of our committee members, Mike Lippman, was also named as a recipient of an SCS Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level. Tim Heckenlively also opened an ongoing correspondence with the editorial staff of U.S. News and World’s Report’s college rankings about the value to parents and students of identifying the percentage of undergraduate hours taught by contingent faculty within their ranking system. Andrew Scott also coordinated with CAAS leadership to lay the foundation for carrying our conversations into their events through 2019.

Although we were unable to meet with chairs of similar committees in other professional societies, Tim Heckenlively met at length with one of the key people in AAUP for contingent issues to discuss the ways they might be able to help us, and their changing structure and goals in light of recent supreme court rulings regarding fair-share dues.

Our effort to discuss the eligibility criteria for awards was joyfully hampered this year by the fact that Mike Lippman, who was to lead the initiative, was one of this year’s award winners. We continue to believe, however, that the criteria for this award and perhaps others, preclude eligibility for all but a few contingent faculty. We will carry discussion of this initiative into 2019.

On behalf of the committee, Tim Heckenlively attended the SCS Career Networking event to begin building our relationships with ACLS, Paideia, and PhDMatters.

We made minimal progress this year on a revised survey of contingent faculty within SCS, in partly owing to logistical concerns about the numerous groups within SCS seeking to initiate surveys of various types. We had a good discussion about this matter in San Diego and have, we hope, some practical solutions for the coming year.

Progress on a summer grants initiative took a backseat to visibility in 2018. We plan to explore this in earnest in 2019.

Our goals for 2019 included:

  • Visibility
    1. SCS Blog presence
    2. Develop a mailing list for the committee.
    3. Propose a panel on for the 2020 annual meeting: “‘Contribution’ to the Field?”, the aim of which would be to break down the common identification of professional contribution to merely scholarly articles and monographs (vs. digital humanities, teaching, serving as ambassadors for classics in other work environments, etc.)
    4. We will be hosting a Roundtable at CAMWS and anticipate a similar event at CAAS
    5. Committee members will continue to use our personal affiliations with regional associations to press our conversation into other venues.
  • Networking
    1. Attempt to convene an online meeting with contingent faculty chairs in other professional societies.
    2. Send a representative to the upcoming Forum on Non-Tenure Track Faculty to be held in Philadelphia the first week of April.
  • Mentoring
    1. The committee has decided to participate with ongoing efforts to centralize the various mentoring initiatives within SCS. Chiara Sulprizio has considerable experience on these matters from her time with WCC and will be leading our efforts.
  • Data Collection
    1. We hope to use creation of an email list and data mining from available tags in the membership database to draw a clearer picture of both our constituency and their needs.
  • Advocacy
    1. We plan to continue our conversation with U.S. News, leveraging a recent government report on contingency, and address our concerns to other college guide publishers.
    2. We plan to address eligibility requirements in SCS and other associations that unintentionally exclude contingent faculty.
    3. We plan to explore the possibility of a summer grants initiative with SCS.

Respectfully submitted,

Timothy Heckenlively and Elizabeth LaFray

Chairs, SCS Committee on Contingent Faculty

Committee Members:

Timothy Heckenlively, Chair

Elizabeth LaFray, Co-Chair

Salvador Bartera

Lesley Dean-Jones (outgoing)

Barbara Gold, ex officio

Mike Lippman (outgoing)

Andrew Scott

Bill Tortorelli (outgoing)

Incoming members are: K. Sara Myers, Chiara Sulprizio, and Ben Wolkow


3.  Committee on Diversity in the Profession

Victoria Pagán, Chair; Sanjaya Thakur, Co-Chair


In the summer of 2018, via email, the committee

  1. drafted a document at the request of Joe Farrell to take to the Board of Directors for strategic planning, so that diversity is embedded in the long-term goals of the SCS.
  2. collaborated with colleagues in the creation of the Mountaintop Coalition, which now has affiliate status and held its first general business meeting and social event.

At the 2019 Annual Meeting in San Diego, the committee

  1. organized a panel in response to the book, African Americans and the Classics by Margaret Malamud. The panel was well attended by an audience that stayed for the entire length of the session. Two panelists were non-classicists from other disciplines who shared their expertise and opened our perspectives. The panel has received positive feedback.
  2. reviewed 18 applications for the Minority Scholarship; 3 were awarded unanimously, and 1 runner up was also selected. Results have been conveyed to Helen Cullyer.
  3. hosted a reception; approximately 30 people attended.
  4. held a business meeting; present were Victoria Pagán, Angelo Mercado, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Aileen Das, Sasha-Mae Eccleston, incoming member Sanjaya Thakur, and Barbara Gold, ex officio. Joe Farrell joined the meeting at 9 am. We discussed the following topics:

  • Rotating membership:
    • Sanjaya Thakur agreed to serve as co-chair beginning January 2020 (at the DC meeting); Victoria Pagán agreed to serve one more year as co-chair.
    • The following table demonstrates the composition of the committee at annual meetings until 2021, by which time a rotation will be established.

Boston, 2018

San Diego, 2019

DC, 2020

Chicago, 2021

Victoria Pagán

Victoria Pagán

Victoria Pagán

Member to 2023

Craig Williams

Dan Leon to 2021

Dan Leon to 2021

Dan Leon to 2021

Katherine Hsu

Aileen Das to 2021

Aileen Das to 2021

Aileen Das to 2021

Angelo Mercado

Angelo Mercado

Jackie Murray to 2022

Jackie Murray to 2022

Akira Yatsuhashi

Akira Yatsuhashi

Sanjaya Thakur to 2022

Sanjaya Thakur to 2022

Sasha-Mae Eccleston

Sasha-Mae Eccleston

Sasha-Mae Eccleston

Member to 2023

Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Member to 2023

  • Revisions to the scholarship applications were successfully implemented and no further revisions will be made for the 2020 round of applications.
  • Sasha-Mae Eccleston suggested that previous scholarship award recipients serve on the committee to vet applications. These committee members would not necessarily need to be present at the meeting of the SCS to participate in the scholarship meeting.
  • The committee discussed the document that was provided to Joe Farrell to take to the meetings of the Board of Directors over the summer of 2018.

Because members of the committee had to attend other commitments, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 am, before we were able to discuss any event planning for the 2020 meeting.

The racists acts and speech that occurred at the 2019 annual meeting affirmed the need for all members of the SCS to take ownership of diversity in the profession. This committee cannot solve these problems single-handedly, and we welcome the opportunity to work with members of the SCS to effect meaningful change.


4.  Committee on Career Planning and Development

Cynthia Bannon, Chair; Katharine von Stackelberg, Co-Chair


At the meetings in January 2018, the Committee approved a new section for the Placement guidelines that deals with interviews conducted via teleconferencing platforms such as Skype.

During Spring 2018, the committee implemented three revisions to the Placement Guidelines in order to:

  1. respond to concerns raised by the Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Profession about job advertisements from religious institutions that require a statement of faith or other lifestyle pledge: the guidelines now ask these institutions to include a link to this information in the job advertisement.
  2. address some of the difficulties specific to non-citizen job candidates by requiring institutions to provide more information in their advertisements.
  3. update the language on our endorsement of the AAUP Statements on Discrimination and our support for affirmative action in hiring.

The committee also reorganized the guidelines to remedy their somewhat unruly growth by accretion. We grouped the guidelines under six new headings, presenting together provisions on related topics in the hopes that easier access would improve compliance. The revised Guidelines were submitted to the SCS in May and posted on the Placement Service website in time for this year’s hiring season.

In Fall 2018 the committee drafted a Statement on Career Diversity for those earning the Ph.D. in Classical Studies. The collaboration continued during the meeting on 5 January 2019 when the committee completed revisions and voted on a final draft of the statement. Brandon Jones transmitted the statement to the Committee on Graduate Students for comment. Cynthia Bannon submitted the statement with this report to Barbara Gold and Helen Cullyer for review. Once the statement is approved and posted on the SCS website, the committee recommended announcing it in the SCS newsletter, perhaps with a special notice to Ph.D. granting departments urging them to bring it to the attention of university administration.

During its meeting in San Diego, the committee also identified the following action items for 2019:

  • Revise the guidelines for distance interviews to specify that search committees should interview candidates together at the same time and place except in extraordinary circumstances so that candidates are not required to participate in multiple interviews with individual members of the search committee.
  • Review data from 2018-19 placement service at the end of the hiring season. After discussing preliminary data, the committee was interested especially in counting the number of different kinds of NTT positions (full time, part time, professor of practice or teaching only positions) and in understanding why fewer institutions purchased the complete package (were they using distance interviews or hiring a suite?)
  • Investigate what departments and institutions are doing to prepare graduate students for careers of all kinds and how to promote institutional support for careers outside the professorate. 

In 2019 the committee will also complete revisions of the Careers for Classicists pamphlet. In fall 2018, Helen Cullyer initiated an overhaul of this document assigning revisions of sections on different types of employment to Catherine Connors (professorate), Keely Lake (K-12 education), John Paulus (outside the professorate).


5. Committee on Professional Ethics

Barbara Gold, Chair

This committee met at the SCS because there were several pressing issues to discuss. A number of issues have arisen informally throughout the year relating to hiring practices and plagiarism; these were handled on an informal basis by the Vice President for Professional Matters and did not rise to the level of formal complaints. But other complaints or discussions involving plagiarism, guidelines, anonymous blogs and emails, and several disturbing incidents arising from the annual meeting demanded the attention of the Ethics Committee.  The Ethics Committee has also been involved in revising our Professional Ethics Statement (an on-going procedure), which will  be posted on the website in its latest form this spring. 


6.  Classics Advisory Service

Jeffrey Henderson, Director

Since its last report the Classics Advisory Service (CAS) has acted in response to requests for advice or assistance from threatened classics programs in two US universities, one of them a graduate program; has followed up on actions taken last year; and is in communication with colleagues at several other institutions regarding potential threats. There were no requests from K-12 schools or programs.

            (1) In pursuit of budget cuts, a university task force recommended a steep reduction in FTE faculty positions, 80% of which targeted humanities and the arts, as well as elimination of all individual language majors. The SCS joined with faculty, alumni, and regional classics associations as well as the ACL to persuade the administration, which also heard similarly from other affected programs, to attempt to solve the budget shortfall in other ways. Further language-program consolidation is imminent, however, as is the retirement of a Classics faculty member: given an environment increasingly unsupportive of language learning, this situation prompts continuing concern. (2) Responding to a task force recommendation to eliminate an interdisciplinary graduate program, the Director spoke with the dean, and the SCS and AIA wrote a joint letter to the central administration. The university decided to continue the program.

            In continuing actions: (1) The administration of a European University, following a master plan rushed through without faculty input, moved to reduce the number of academic posts and support staff in the humanities. Although SCS received from its administration only a perfunctory acknowledgement of our President’s letter, Classics was ultimately not among the programs negatively affected. (2) The college faculty voted to restore department status to a Classics department that had been reduced to program status.

            Situations being monitored: (1) A university administration suggested that the classics program would be shut down by attrition, but no action has yet been taken. (2) A university department has seen its FTE faculty reduced by a third by attrition, and the administration appears reluctant to restore them to full strength. (3) A university program has in the past paid for low-enrollment language courses with large civilization courses, but this strategy may no longer be in play; a memo of understanding has been negotiated, promising that courses will be covered and FTE faculty maintained at their current level, but it contains a proviso about enrollments and a retirement is imminent. (4) A university has floated the idea of merging Classics with another department and reducing it to a program. (5) A university in the UK had proposed to eliminate one classical studies module in 2020, but now threatens to do so in 2019.

            In addition to assisting threatened programs, the CAS also advised about various academic and curricular norms and standards; on the selection of visitors for college and university external reviews; and on concerns raised about administratively-devised assessment criteria, both program- and promotion-related, that seem ill suited to the discipline of classical studies. The Professional Matters Committee continues to monitor the increasing prominence of assessment in academia and the appearance of novel assessment tools, and to develop guidelines for appropriate assessment measures in classical studies. Our response may not be wholly reactive: this year, the Director was surprised to be contacted by a university HR manager whose classical studies department was scheduled for its first external review and who wanted to discuss discipline-specific assessment measures.

            The Director has found that self-studies leading to external reviews are usually very helpful for classics programs in maintaining, enhancing, or defending their institutional stature, in no small part because our field is exceptionally solidary and constructive both collegially and in upholding agreed ideals, standards, and practices, nationally as well as internationally. As a rule, administrators take advice from faculty at other schools more seriously than the same advice from their own faculty. Programs should therefore consider requesting an external review if such reviews are not regularly scheduled.

            The CAS wishes to emphasize the importance of every sort of data about classical studies programs nationally, both for programs creating self-studies and preparing for external reviews, and for CAS in working with threatened programs and their central administrations. We urge every program to respond to requests for data from SCS and other national organizations whose advocacy of the humanities includes classical studies.

7.  Professional Matters Committee

Barbara Gold, Chair

This committee met on Sunday, Jan. 6 from 9-10:30 a.m. (which will be our regular meeting time so that Chairs of all the committees in this division can report on their activities and events at the meetings).  The committee is comprised entirely of Chairs of the other committees in the Professional Matters division and also Jeffrey Henderson, Director of the Classics Advisory Service.  Present were Cynthia Bannon, Deborah Beck, Tolly Boatwright (ex officio), Helen Cullyer (ex officio), Joe Farrell (guest), Barbara Gold (Chair), Timothy Heckenlively, Jeffrey Henderson, Sheila Murnaghan (guest), Victoria Pagán.

All reports from the committees in the Professional Matters division are included in my report (see above) so I will not reiterate most of the information found there.  Each of these committees has many developing and exciting items on their agendas.

The main accomplishment of Professional Matters this year was receiving the results of the Department Census, which takes place every three years.  Helen Cullyer and I worked extensively with various committees, especially COGSIP, and revised many of the questions to reflect current concerns (particularly demographics).  There was an excellent return of 62.5% (especially notable since the Census was so long and many chairs mentioned how long it took them to complete it).  Chicago Survey Lab has sent back the results, and we are still analyzing them.  Another major accomplishment was sending out the harassment survey, which was led by the Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Profession (COGSIP), the WCC, along with the LCC and the Committee on Diversity; they worked with the Bureau of Sociological Research at University of Nebraska Lincoln. The results were received just before the annual meeting (in late December), and COGSIP members and members of the survey working group are now analyzing the data received.  They will put out a report on it in March.  This survey also had a very good return.  Some things were not covered in the survey (e.g., class, age, religion), but we feel that it yielded some interesting results nonetheless and that it could not (and was not designed to) cover everything. 

The Professional Ethics Statement was once again revised, and the latest version will be posted in the spring.  A statement on Harassment for the meeting that was drawn up in conjunction with COGSIP and WCC was printed in the SCS Meeting Program.  Next year we hope that there will be a box to check on the registration form indicating that each registrant has read and agreed to the conditions in the Harassment Statement; this needs AIA approval.

The committees in the division have been very active this year.  Two of them again held receptions at the meetings (Diversity, Contingent Faculty).  Career Planning and Development also held a series of meetings with Classicists who have PhD’s and are working outside of academia, graduate students and Directors of Graduate Studies in Classics at universities (the Career Networking Event).   There was a joint meeting of the Liberal Arts Chairs group and the Chairs of PhD departments with a discussion about preparing graduate students not only for careers outside of Classics (an on-going discussion) but also for teaching at Liberal Arts colleges. 

The Contingent Faculty Committee has also been active.  They will have roundtables and events at regional meetings (CAMWS and CAMWS-SS, CAAS), will be doing a blog, and are working on ways of mentoring and supporting contingent faculty (along with many other committees working on mentoring).  They note that now roughly three-quarters of all faculty positions across the US are untenured. Contingent faculty are now taking on more and more responsibilities: for example, the entire executive committee of CAMWS-SS is made up of contingent faculty.  It is notable that Mike Lippman, who is a contingent faculty member, won one of the collegiate teaching awards at SCS this year.  A bibliography tool (Hypothes.is) is being used now which will be a repository for everything the Contingent Faculty Committee is doing and publishing.

The Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Profession (COGSIP) has been working closely with the Women’s Classical Caucus on their two-year initiative on harassment.  They devised and distributed a survey about harassment.  They also worked on revising other portions of the Professional Ethics Statement, in particular the sections on Harassment and Publishing, to update it.  They would also like to do a survey of individual members, but it is not clear on how we could best do this. 

The Committee on Diversity in the Profession (CODIP) reports that there were a very good number of applications for the Minority Scholarship awards (18), and that these were more diverse since we have dropped the requirement that one of the accompanying letters be from an SCS or AIA member; 3 were awarded with 1 runner-up.  There was discussion about how we could keep in touch with the applicants who did not win and could mentor them.  The Mountaintop Coalition is now an affiliate group; they held a reception along with CODIP as well as their own meeting. 

Jeff Henderson for the Classics Advisory Service is working, with Helen Cullyer on creating best practices for assessment.  Jeff reports that he wrote letters on behalf of many departments who were in trouble, and that administrators seemed more willing to listen to him and to reverse course than in previous years.   

Several of the committees in Professional Matters desire more visibility  (Diversity, Contingent Faculty), and we are working on ways to meet this desire.  It remains somewhat difficult to recruit people for these committees and to find people who will provide energetic leadership in these groups and who have the time to do that.  There is much work to be done, but few people who have the time and will to do the work.   For many of the contingent faculty and of people with PhD’s working outside the field there is, or they feel there is, a stigma so we need to work to destigmatize these groups of people.

It is important for all the committees, but especially for COGSIP, CODIP and Contingent Faculty, that they be able to make connections with the many other groups who are working towards the same goals and to use the collective energy to make some real progress.  For example, COGSIP is working closely with WCC on harassment; CODIP is working with Mountaintop and others on issues around diversity and inclusion (this is very important work as incidents at the San Diego meeting made clear). We also need to be able to work with AIA on issues like the harassment statement. 

Most of the committees have now set up a system of senior and junior co-chairs so that there will be a smooth transition from one year to the next and some historical memory.  I am very grateful to the committee chairs, co-chairs and members for all the thoughtful work they have put into our very real concerns this year, and I look forward to working with them over the next years.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Gold, Vice President for Professional Matters

January 25, 2019

More February 2019 Newsletter Content

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Read the Education and Communication & Outreach Reports

Read the Program and Publications & Research Report

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