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SCS Newsletter - February 2021 (Professional Matters and Program Committee Report)

Professional Matters Report

Annual Meeting, Jan. 5-10, 2021

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

Reports from Committees in this Division

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

Jeanne Neumann, Chair, Jason Nethercut, Co-Chair

Members in Attendance

Jeanne Neumann (2018-2021), Chair

Jason Nethercut (2018-2022), co-chair, Chair for 2021-22

Caroline Bishop (2019-2023), co-chair for 2021

Sarah Nooter (2018-2021)

Anna Peterson (2020-2023)

Aaron Seider (2020-2023)  

Christopher Chinn (2020-2023)

Zoe Stamatopoulou (2021-2024)

Morgan Palmer (2021-2024)

Barbara Gold, ex officio

Ruth Scodel, ex officio

Serena Witzke ex officio (WCC)

COGSIP ex officio committees

  • Professional Matters Committee: Jan. 3:  Jeanne and Jason attending
  • CODIP (Diversity in the Profession): Dec 16: Jason attending
  • CCPD (Committee on Career Planning and Development): Dec. 16: Jason attended
  • LCC (Lambda Classical Caucus): TBA: Jeanne attending
  • WCC (Women’s Classical Caucus): TBA: Jeanne attending

Overview of COGSIP activities for 2020

Jeanne reported on the status of COGSIP’s involvement with the SCS departmental census (scheduled to occur every three years, postponed in 2019).  Helen Cullyer wants the SCS to postpone the census survey until (at least) 2022, when we might expect a level of normalcy to return that would encourage people to answer a survey. 

Jeanne led a brief discussion of some of the issues with the new guidelines. Barbara pointed out CCPD has become bigger because of representation from both SCS and AIA, making agreement more complex.  She reminded us that the Placement Guidelines can be adjusted over time but have been implemented since the SCS believe we needed guidelines in place. Questions and/or concerns can be emailed to Barbara Gold or Ruth Scodel, Helen Cullyer or chair of CCPD (Katharine von Stackelberg). After the COGSIP meeting, Jason attended CCPD (ex officio), at which there was a long discussion on the Placement Service (numbers down the year; new guidelines; how to file complaints). COGSIP offered to share the data from the childcare survey, so that CCPD could use this according to their own charge going forward.

Jeanne & Jason provided update on all initiatives currently active, including a potential survey on racial discrimination in the field and baseline demographic information.  This survey grows out of COGSIP’s previous harassment survey. Barbara suggested, as a further new initiative, that COGSIP partner with the Contingent Faculty Committee to gather data on contingency in our field.

The bulk of the meeting was devoted to our January 7, 2021 panel, Classics and Childcare, with the focus on details and execution.  The three-part panel will be followed by a question-and-answer period (the details of which we discussed at great length and on which Chris, Aaron and Jeanne continue to work).  Bridget Murnaghan (University of Pennsylvania) will talk about “The Past,” that is, the former experiences of classicists trying to also raise children; Jason Nethercut (University of South Florida) will summarize responses gleaned from our survey of the membership; finally, Liv Leader (Director of Dual Careers and Faculty Relocation, University of Chicago) offered to talk about the resources at Chicago or whatever else we want (of course, within her expertise).  The committee discussed various options, and at a subsequent meeting, Liz and Jeanne decided she will talk about the resources not specifically at Chicago, but generally, especially those that people don’t seem to know about, and how to access resources. 

We also discussed subsequent dispersal of the recorded panel. Because the nature of topic and information discussed are sensitive, we agreed that Jeanne would consult the panelists after the meeting.  Those later discussions decided that the panel will be available during the first (open to SCS members) phase, but not the second (YouTube) phase.

Jason led a discussion of the survey results. The committee had jointly worked on questions based in a Google form and dispersed through a combination of social media and an email from the SCS.  There were over 160 respondents. The respondents generally agreed balancing a career in classics while trying to raise children presents formidable obstacles, perhaps especially for untenured and contingent faculty. It is, however, unclear what impact the SCS can have on a situation which results from institutional policies and state/federal laws.  While that is true, we note that restrictive policies thrive on lack of transparency; showing what happens in other places can be quite effective at changing institutional policies. Just having this conversation as a move toward normalizing being a classicist and a parent moves us in a better direction.  Jason also reported on some trolling from bad faith respondents, which we plan to highlight in the context of legitimate grievances.

After the meeting: The COGSIP panel was a big success.  Jeanne, Chris, and Aaron practiced the technical issues ahead of time; Bridget, Jason, and Liv all did a great job, and the discussion was fruitful. 

Looking Forward

COGSIP may schedule a second meeting to be held at some point after the meetings to discuss future plans.  The committee would like to see our field be seen as a good discipline for marginalized voices. The Racial Discrimination Survey (COGSIP in conjunction with CODIP) may lead to another panel for 2022.  We will also be involved in a demographic survey. COGSIP also plans to explore partnering with the Contingent Faculty Committee for work on mentoring, gender mentoring and intersectional mentoring as well as gender imbalances as related to contingency. We especially want to make sure this work involves allyship, that is, how to ways to find help with institutional problems, not just advice about research and teaching.

After the meeting

Jeanne met with the WCC and encourages COGSIP to work with the WCC in their efforts to offer public support for victims of harassment. The WCC would also like to be kept apprised of our work with demographics. The WCC has already been doing mentoring work and COGSIP should partner with them as well as with CCPD in discussions/actions regarding mentoring. LCC would also like to be a part of the demographics discussion and the mentoring discussions.

                                                                       

2. Committee on Contingent Faculty

Elizabeth LaFray, Chair; Co-Chair, Chiara Sulprizio; Incoming Co-Chair, Rob Groves

Committee Members:

Elizabeth LaFray, Chair (outgoing, 2021)

Chiara Sulprizio (Co-Chair)

Salvador Bartera (2021)

Kristina Chew (2023)

Taylor Coughlan (2024)

Rob Groves (2023)

Theo Kopestonsky (2024)

K. Sara Myers (2022)

Joshua Nudell (2024)

Andrew Scott (2021)

Barbara Gold, ex officio (2021) (Ruth Scodel, incoming VP)

            The Committee for Contingent Faculty aimed to complete several goals during 2020.  Despite COVID-19 and the challenges it brought about within higher education and our personal lives, the committee accomplished a number of its goals. These included:

  1. Outreach: The creation of SCS Blogposts devoted to the achievements made and challenges faced by SCS contingent faculty members was spearheaded by Salvador Bartera and Andrew Scott.  Several members agreed to share personal stories, their academic and professional achievements, and the challenges they’ve faced as scholars without permanent positions in classics. Our goal was to share six blog posts, which turned out to be more than was possible this year.

  1. Networking: The 2021 Coffee Hour, an idea that came out of our 2020 Annual Meeting, aims to bring together mentors and mentees in a low-stakes environment where fellowship and ideation might take place.  Contingent faculty can serve both as mentees and mentors.  All members of the SCS have been invited to attend.  While we intended for the Coffee Hour to be in-person, the SCS CFC will act as facilitators in enabling virtual engagement. Chiara Sulprizio led this effort. Sign-ups were completed December 7, 2020 and we consider this part of the process a success so far. 

  1. Funding: Our committee was unable to achieve the goal of obtaining grants for contingent faculty attending the annual meeting this year. This was due to constraints resulting from the pandemic and the necessity of making 2021’s annual meeting virtual.  However, this goal, as well as the creation of other grants for contingent faculty is an active agenda item going forward.

  1. Collaboration: The SCS CFC established a relationship with the Graduate Student Committee during the first quarter of 2020.  We look forward to continuing this in 2021.  During the last half of 2020, Chiara worked with Erik Shell and former SCS CFC Chair Chris Caterine to bring an informational session on alt-ac careers to members subscribed to the Placement Service. 

  1. Committee Structure and Membership: Outreach and networking have led to the successful recruitment of new volunteers to join our committee.  Active and diverse membership will continue to be important to the success of this committee. The co-chair structure has been successful in maintaining institutional memory and continuity from one year to the next. Elizabeth LaFray is the outgoing chair and will be replaced by Chiara Sulprizio.  Rob Groves has agreed to serve as junior chair during Chiara’s year of service. 

  1. Directory of Contingent Faculty. We continue to look for ways to create a list of Contingent Faculty around the US.

        

3.  Committee on Diversity in the Profession (= CODIP)

Sanjaya Thakur, Chair; Co-Chair: Christina Clark

Other Committee Members:

Aileen Das (outgoing)

Dan Leon (outgoing)

Dominic Machado

Jackie Murray

Barbara Gold, ex officio (outgoing)

Suzanne Lye (incoming)

Young Kim (incoming)

Ruth Scodel, ex officio (incoming)

Item 1: Snowden Fellowships

Prior to the 2021 Annual Meeting, the committee met remotely and reviewed 10 applications for the Snowden Scholarships; 4 were awarded. Results have been conveyed to Helen Cullyer.

Greater clarification in the wording of the application is needed. The committee chose to adopt a broad definition of “undergraduate” this cycle, in part, because of the impact of COVID, but also because the application wording is so indefinite. The co-chairs will consult with the Executive Director after the annual meeting and report back to the committee at large about any proposed changes to the application form and description.

Item 2: SCS Demographic Data Collection

Though all members agreed that data collection is important and imperative, it was the general consensus that the SCS must first be very clear about what the data will be used for before determining what should be collected and how. The committee was likewise in agreement that the SCS should make a public statement on how the data will be used and for what purposes. In the committee minutes numerous suggestions for the types of data to be collected and the format to do so were offered.

Item 3: SCS committee representation

In 2020 this committee proposed “that the SCS Nominating, Program, and Goodwin Committees have a voting member who is a BIPOC.”  Dr. Thakur summarized discussions that had occurred over the summer with the Executive Director and Equity Advisor, Victoria Pagán. It was noted that the SCS committees had diversified and the executive board now includes a contingent faculty rep and a graduate student rep. Nonetheless this committee stresses the importance of rethinking overall committee structures and how members are chosen to serve or are elected to committees. For even though, anecdotally, greater diversity is being achieved, whether such developments are sustainable and will be sustainable remains a question, and the original issue of diversifying committees within the organization remains until structural changes are made.

Item 4: Impacts of changing job interview timelines on BIPOC candidates

The CCPD spent the summer revising policies regarding remote interviews and the CODIP chair was present at those meetings. There are concerns about impacts of a job cycle that is now, basically, detached from the annual meeting, with announcements and offers that can come at any time during the year. The chairs will communicate with Erik Shell to see if he can share data on search timelines and outcomes with the committee in the future.

Item 5: Mellon funds

The Executive Director had mentioned that some monies remained that had originally been earmarked for conference subvention for minority scholars. With the shift to a virtual conference, some of those funds remained. The committee chairs will continue to work with the Executive Director on options to use those funds.

Item 6: Prize document

Committee members’ comments and feedback from the ad hoc committee’s document were compiled by the CODIP co-chairs and were sent directly to the Executive Director.

We would like to thank outgoing members Aileen Das and Dan Leon. They will be replaced by new members Suzanne Lye and Young Kim. Paul Properzio resigned from his position on the committee and will need to be replaced for the two years remaining on his term. Current co-chairs, Sanjaya Thakur and Christina Clark, will remain in their roles for another year, with Dr. Thakur serving as primary chair for 2021, Dr. Clark for 2022.

4.  Committee on Career Planning and Development (= CCPD)

Katharine von Stackelberg, Chair;

John Dillery, Co-Chair

The CCPD met on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 via Zoom to review the committee’s 2020 activities and discuss outstanding items.

Present were:

Katharine T. von Stackelberg (Chair)

John Dillery (Co-chair; Chair in 2022-23)

Ginna Closs

Barbara Gold (Outgoing SCS VP, Professional Matters)

Brandon Jones (outgoing)

Andrew Koh (AIA) (incoming)

Sarah Lepinski (AIA) (incoming)

Christopher Nappa

Jason Nethercut (COGSIP) (incoming)

John Paulas (outgoing)

Betsey Robinson (AIA)

Ariane Schwartz

Ruth Scodel (Incoming SCS VP, Professional Matters)

Julia Shear (incoming)

Sanjaya Thakur (CODIP)

Goda Thangada (incoming)

and by Special Invitation:

Elizabeth S. Greene (AIA First VP)

Kevin Mullen (AIA Director of Marketing and Professional Services)

Erik Shell (SCS Communications and Services Coordinator)

1) Summary of 2020 activities to date

In Spring of 2020 the CCPD agreed that the original 3-year timeline of transitioning the majority of first-round interviews at the Annual Meeting to Distance Interviews was no longer tenable due to the effects of COVID-19. Accordingly, the CCPD worked over the summer to assist Placement Services in implementing an immediate transition to 100% Distance Interviews for the 2021 Annual Meeting.  The main outcomes were 1) Revision and reorganisation of Placement Service Guidelines (PSG) to reflect the change; 2) creation of Interview Guidelines to assist both job candidates and hiring institutions.

The CCPD also consulted with Placement Services to provide greater value to job candidates with a series of training and mentoring Career Development Seminars (CDS) with more emphasis on and inclusion of alt-academic path resources.

Since these changes are far-reaching it was agreed that more voices from a wider range was needed. The CCPD therefore adopted a “big-tent’ approach and increased the AIA presence on the committee from 2 reps to 3 reps + AIA First VP ex officio.

2) Placement Service Update (Erik Shell)

Erik Shell reported that there was an expected drop in institutions advertising through the PS (usually 80-100 in December. This year 35.) However, the PS may see a last-minute rush of VAPs in spring depending on vaccine rollout. ES was cautiously positive that some of the shortfall might be mitigated by existing fellowships (e.g., TLL) and creation of new fellowships with non-profits, diversity post-docs and ASCSA, plus there has been some uptake from community colleges, which to date have not usually chosen to advertise with the PS. However, the long-term prognosis is that advertising with the PS is expected to decline in future years; therefore, the PS is pivoting to provide value to job candidates with the development of Career Development Seminars and more emphasis on networking opportunities and alt-academic options. Currently a CDS series is scheduled to April 2021. Current attendant numbers are stable, with each seminar drawing attendance in the mid-teens. To improve and expand the service Erik will adapt the Annual Meeting questionnaire to include Qs about how much PS members were helped by Career Development Seminars and the SCS networking event (now scheduled for its second year).

Discussion: It was suggested that attendance numbers at Career Development Seminars could be increased by wider dissemination of CDS information (such as topic and dates of seminars), including more communication co-ordination with the SCS Graduate Student Committee who have student reps (and an email list) from a fairly large number of graduate programmes, groups such as the Asian & Asian American Classical Caucus, more posting of upcoming seminars via SCS social media [Brandon Jones, Andrew Koh, Ariane Schwartz]. While CDS are currently offered exclusively to members who sign up with Placement Services, future planning should also include wider-invitation events marketed to students are a few years away from graduation who would benefit from these events for planning purposes (perhaps in conjunction with PhD Matters?) [Sarah Lepinski, Ruth Scodel, Goda Thangada, Betsey Robinson, Julia Shear].

1-to-1 mentoring was also raised as something the PS could help co-ordinate. The Contingent Faculty Committee ran a 1:1 mentoring coffee hour at the SCS meeting, and there are combined mentoring initiatives with WCC/LCC/Mountaintop/CSJ providing mentors to younger scholars or first -time attendees at the annual meeting [Barbara Gold, Sanjaya Thakur].

3) Items Concerning Placement Service Guidelines

Placement Service Guidelines                                            

https://classicalstudies.org/placement/placement-service-guidelines

ITEM 1. Recording Candidates

During the revision of the PSGs it was noted that Item D5 conflicts with increasing tendency to record job talks and teaching demonstrations at the “on campus” level of the search.

Discussion: Focus was on confidentiality of process (who will view recordings and how long will they be available on an institution’s intranet) and need for clear documentation of consent provided IN ADVANCE of event [Ruth Scodel, Liz Greene, Julia Shear, Barbara Gold]. Employers should check that they are in compliance with local regulations and FERPA guidelines [Erik Shell].

Action: PSG D5 to be amended to reflect discussion above.

ITEM 2. Complaints Process

Does Item F need to include further information to make it more transparent and easier for SCS and AIA members to file a complaint?

Discussion: It was agreed that ITEM F could be improved by adding an email link (e.g., “complaint@PS.com) that would be regularly checked by whoever reviews PS emails (currently Erik Shell but this task can be delegated). Email would then be sent up the chain as follows:

  • Complaints concerning Placement and Hiring should go to CCPD Chair
  • Complaints concerning harassment and professional ethics should go to the SCS VP for Professional Matters
  • Complaints concerning AIA members issues should to the AIA VP for Research and Academic Affairs

Action: Create email inbox for complaint@PS.com

ITEM 3. Age Discrimination

Does the PSG adequately address age discrimination?

Discussion: Warning against discrimination on basis of age is mentioned 3 times in the PSG and once in the Interview Guidelines, the same number of times as other prohibited criteria for discrimination. There is no clear basis why age discrimination would receive special attention in the PSG.  A better place to raise awareness of age discrimination would be to schedule a special joint AIA/SCS panel on the subject [Liz Greene].

Action: To schedule a special joint AIA/SCS panel on the subject of age discrimination for 2023 (or 2022 if anyone can be found to take the immediate lead on this).

4. AOB

Liz Greene asked Erik Shell if he could create a visible clearing house of anything happening at the 2021 Annual Meeting for networking/job related events (e.g., listserv). Erik Shell agreed to set something up.

KvS noted that 2021 Annual Meeting has 2 scheduled sessions related to CCPD concerns and asked that anyone attending these sessions report back on key points:

  • Thursday Jan 7: SCS-37 Classics and Childcare [Jason Nethercut, COGSIP to attend and report]
  • Friday Jan 8: AIA 8D: Entering the Field: Insights into the Interview Process (Workshop) [no volunteers to date].

5. Committee on Professional Ethics

Barbara Gold, Chair

This committee did not meet (virtually) this year because there were no pressing issues to discuss.  For the second time this year, there was an ombudsperson at the meeting and a joint (with AIA) rapid response team to address any urgent situations that might arise.  A number of issues have arisen informally throughout the year ; these were handled on an informal basis by the Vice President for Professional Matters and either did not rise to the level of formal complaints or were being investigated, or suitable for investigation by other institutions and organizations.

6.  Classics Advisory Service

Jeffrey Henderson, Director

The Classics Advisory Service (CAS) advises threatened classics and archaeology programs in universities, colleges, and secondary schools in North America and abroad, and works (sometimes in coordination with regional associations) with their faculty, students, alumni/ae, or parents as needed in order to reduce or eliminate the threats. The CAS does not mediate or otherwise involve itself in internal disputes but rather presents to higher administrators the perspective of an international professional organization. In addition to assisting threatened programs, the CAS also advises 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.

In 2020 the main CAS activity was responding to fresh threats in five universities, including one in Germany and one in New Zealand; the whole secondary education system in New Zealand; and a secondary school system in the US. The threats included the elimination of concentrations or whole programs; staff reductions, including termination; refusal to fill lines that become vacant; cancelled searches. Not all threats were carried out, at least for now: coordinated action by stakeholders internal and external clearly can make a difference, and CAS continues to monitor developments from year to year.

That the number of threats this year did not exceed the norm of the past few years may be attributed to the pandemic combined with the resulting budgetary uncertainty. Going forward, the threats can be expected to grow in both number and severity: the fiscal consequences of the pandemic are still unclear but will certainly be significant, and recent administrative trends unfavorable to the arts and humanities will continue. Proactively, the CAS section of the SCS website has been updated, its information has been expanded and made current, and its place in the SCS website has been made more prominent. While CAS works confidentially with affected programs, the SCS has been posting more announcements and alarms about threatened programs. The AIA has been invited to alert the SCS about its own announcements and alarms for posting on the SCS website as appropriate.

The arts and humanities, especially classics and other language programs, will doubtless be high on the list of targets at many places, with budget concerns figuring prominently, whether they are genuine or opportunistic. Either way, CAS has found that in most cases, administrative rationales for cuts or elimination that invoke budget constraints are false or mistaken: classics programs are in fact both inexpensive and profitable for institutions. Also at work are various academic or ideological prejudices of long standing; the belief that STEM fields are more “practical” and thus more marketable to anxious parents and students; and the desire to bolster STEM fields so as to attract (more) external funding. In the institutions on the CAS radar are signs of greater administrative aggressiveness: counting concentrators and not overall enrollments; large courses no longer allowed to pay for small courses; counting registrations in cross-listed courses as separate courses, so that e.g. an elective drama course with forty students from various units becomes five courses of eight students; imposing higher enrollment minimums; reducing caps on large humanities courses, so that enrollments can be claimed to be dropping and their students diverted to other courses; allowing or demanding unpaid over-base teaching to cover courses that must be staffed.

A bright spot that may point the way to a brighter future is an arrangement proposed by five smaller departments to pool their resources in classical Greek via Zoom or whatever technology comes next, so as to offer – at no additional cost to their schools – a much fuller concentration to students at each of the schools by sharing the language duties among faculty on a rotation and thus freeing them to offer other courses.

CAS has found that students can be effective allies when threats descend, and they also can play a role in making programs less inviting targets. Humanists need to assert and demonstrate anew the value of classical studies and the humanities generally, by enlisting not only faculty but also students to tell their stories via media old and new (i.e., video and social media); document their career outcomes; stress the importance of classics for all fields of study, not least the STEM fields and including the professional and vocational. Though perhaps needless to say, these times call for solidarity: faculty should do their best to manage internal differences of opinion so as not to weaken their program or put it in administrative crosshairs.

Finally, CAS wishes to emphasize the importance of every sort of data about classical and archaeological studies programs nationally, both for programs creating self-studies and preparing for external reviews, and for CAS in working with threatened programs and their higher administrations. We urge every program to respond in full to requests for data from SCS and other national organizations whose advocacy of the humanities includes classical studies, and to let us know what sorts of data would be useful to add.

7.  Professional Matters Committee

Barbara Gold, Chair

The Professional Matters Committee is comprised of Chairs of the other committees in the Professional Matters division and also Jeffrey Henderson, Director of the Classics Advisory Service. 

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.  All these committees have developing and important items on their agendas.

As we did last year, the SCS hired an ombudsperson to be present at the annual meeting to handle any urgent complaints. We also formed a joint rapid response team comprised of SCS and AIA members. 

The Professional Ethics Statement, which is always evolving, is posted on the website. There is also a statement on Harassment for the meeting that was drawn up in conjunction with COGSIP and WCC and is now part of the SCS Meeting Program.  There is a box to check on the registration form indicating that each registrant has read and agreed to the conditions in the Harassment Statement.

The committees in the division have been very active this year.  Career Planning and Development, working with Erik Shell, held meetings with Classicists who have PhD’s and are working outside of academia and graduate students (the Career Networking Event) and have sponsored a series of Career Development Seminars.  The Liberal Arts Chairs group and the Chairs of PhD departments have coordinated to discuss topics important to all, including preparing graduate students for careers outside of Classics and also for teaching at Liberal Arts colleges. 

The Contingent Faculty Committee has roundtables and events at regional meetings (CAMWS and CAMWS-SS, CAAS), are doing a bi-monthly blog about successes and challenges among contingent faculty and are working on ways of mentoring and supporting contingent faculty (along with many other committees who are working on mentoring).  Contingent faculty are now taking on more and more responsibilities.  The committee continues to seek ways to try to collect better demographic data on contingent faculty.

The Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Profession (COGSIP) sponsored a successful panel on Classics and Childcare; preparatory to the panel they administered a survey, the results of which were incorporated into the panel. The committee will sponsor a Racial Discrimination Survey this year.

The Committee on Diversity in the Profession (CODIP) reports that there were a good number of applications for the Snowden Scholarship awards (10); 4 were awarded.  The committee advocated for having voting representatives from historically underrepresented minority groups on some SCS committees; and for collecting more data on such things as membership, hiring practices, representation on SCS governance, and student demographics (with a clear idea of what data should be collected and to what purpose). They are interested in looking closely at the SCS committee structure and are keeping a close eye on how the new placement practices and changing interview timelines will affect especially BIPOC candidates.

The Committee on Career Planning and Development (CCPD) now has three new members from AIA plus the AIA first VP ex officio.  The committee has worked very hard this year on developing (with Erik Shell) a phasing out of onsite job interviews at the SCS meeting, which was necessary because SCS had to suddenly switch to a virtual format.  They revised and reorganized the Placement Service Guidelines (PSG) and created Interview Guidelines to assist both job candidates and hiring institutions. The CCPD also consulted with Placement Services to provide for job candidates  a series of training and mentoring Career Development Seminars (CDS) with more emphasis on and inclusion of alt-academic path resources.

Jeff Henderson for the Classics Advisory Service has continued his valuable work with colleges and universities and secondary schools as Classics Departments are increasingly threatened; some of his interchanges with schools go on for an extensive period of time.  He urges departments that need help to contact the CAS as early as possible, to keep in mind how valuable department reviews can be, to be aware of the importance of data collection, to use students as valuable spokespeople, and to try to manage internal differences of opinion so that they themselves and not administrators can exert control over their departments.

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 and LCC; CODIP is working with Mountaintop and others on issues around diversity and inclusion.  We also need to work with AIA on many issues. 

All 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.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Gold, Outgoing Vice President for Professional Matters

January 2021

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Program Committee Report

The elected members of the 2020 Program Committee were Barbara Weiden Boyd, Raffaella Cribiore, Johanna Hanink, Timothy Moore, Melissa Mueller, Carlos Noreña, and myself. On 15-16 June 2020 we met via Zoom to consider submissions for the 2021 meeting, to be held in Chicago, 5-8 January 2021. (A subsequent decision by the Board, in conjunction with the AIA, determined that the meeting would be held remotely; a later decision extended the dates to January 5-10, 2021.) Cherane Ali, Erik Shell, and Helen Cullyer provided indispensable support in making our remote meeting possible and our deliberations efficient.

1. Before the meeting, and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we moved the deadlines for program unit and individual submissions to the latest date that would allow time for the reading and assessing of submissions before the June meeting of the Program Committee: 21 April for panel/workshop/seminar/roundtable submissions, 28 April for individual paper and lightning talk submissions, 8 June for affiliated group reports.

2. A substantial portion of the 2021 program was effectively in place when we began our work on the 2021 submissions in April-June 2020. Thus for the 19 panels assembled by affiliated groups and the 3 organizer-refereed panels we simply reviewed the organizers’ reports. In these sessions a total of 101 papers will be presented. On the 2020 meeting program there were 21 panels organized by affiliated groups and 2 organizer-refereed panels, for a total of 113 papers.

3. Complete program unit submissions: We received 18 proposals for at-large panels, 2 for seminars, 3 for SCS committee panels, 2 for future organizer-refereed panels, 7 for workshops, and 4 for roundtable discussions. (Numbers from 2020 were as follows: 22 proposals for at-large panels, 4 for seminars, 3 for SCS committee panels, 7 for organizer-refereed panels, 10 for workshops, and 8 for roundtable discussions.) In general the numbers were lower than in previous years, but not as drastically lower as the pandemic conditions prevailing in early spring 2020 might have led one to expect. The 2021 submissions were reviewed in three phases. Before the meeting all abstracts were read and rated by 4 committee members chosen by the Program Committee chair. Abstracts that received a mixed rating (neither wholly positive nor wholly negative) were then read and rated by the full committee. All of the abstracts in the second group were discussed at the June meeting. There were no predetermined quotas for the number of sessions that could be accepted, and each submission was considered on its own merits and in accordance with the guidelines published on the ‘Types of Sessions’ webpage.

4. Individual submissions: We received 258 abstracts for papers and 8 abstracts for lightning talks. The former number was substantially lower than the numbers in previous years: 405 paper abstracts were submitted for the 2017 meeting (Toronto, acceptance rate 32.6%), 366 abstracts for the 2018 meeting (Boston, acceptance rate 42.3%), 382 for the 2019 sesquicentennial meeting in San Diego (acceptance rate 42.4%), 316 abstracts for papers for the 2020 meeting (Washington, D.C., acceptance rate 47.1%). For the new category of lightning talks the number was also lower (14 for 2019, 16 for 2020). The submissions were reviewed in three phases. Before the meeting all paper abstracts were read and rated (‘reject’ or ‘move to second-round vote’) by TWO readers chosen by the Program Committee chair from the Program Committee and the six Directors at Large (Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Anthony Corbeill, John Gruber-Miller, Christina Kraus, Mary Jaeger, Jennifer Sheridan Moss); lightning talk abstracts were read by two members of the Program Committee; in previous years the first-round rejections were based on a single reading. The 224 paper abstracts that received a ‘move to second-round vote’ were read and rated by all Program Committee members before the meeting; 34 were rejected before this stage; last year the numbers were 209 and 107. Abstracts that received a mixed rating in the second round of reading (neither wholly positive nor wholly negative) were discussed individually at the June meeting. Each abstract was discussed until a consensus was reached. There were no predetermined quotas for the number of papers that could be accepted, and each abstract was considered on its own merits and in accordance with the published guidelines.

The elements of the process that were new in 2020 (500-word abstracts, 2 readers for paper submissions in round 1) seem to have worked well. The committee did not feel that the abstracts were too short, or that the additional workload (more abstracts to read in both round 1 and round 2) was too much. I thank my Board colleagues for accepting a heavier workload than usual. If the number of submissions goes back to its historic levels we may need to revisit the question of the first-round readers.

5. The program:

a) We accepted 14 (of 18) at-large panels, 2 (of 2) seminars, 3 (of 3) SCS Committee panels, 7 (of 10) workshops, 3 (of 4) roundtable discussions, and 2 (of 2) future organizer-refereed panels. As was mentioned above, there will also be 19 panels organized by affiliated groups and 3 panels refereed by their organizers. In the individual submission category we accepted 171 (of 256) papers and 10 (of 10) lightning talks.[1] The overall acceptance rate for individual submissions was 66.8%, significantly higher than in past years (see above), and in keeping with the VP’s message to the membership back in early April, which aimed to encourage members to contribute to the 2021 program: “The Program Committee recognizes that scholarly work and all other aspects of life have been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and that the abstracts we read may have been prepared with less time and fewer scholarly resources than usual.” The accepted papers were organized into sessions in July by the VP for Program, who also identified potential presiders; this is normally done by the whole committee on the final afternoon of the June committee meeting. The initial draft of the program for the 2021 meeting was drawn up by Cherane, Helen, and the VP in August.

b) The statistics for submission and acceptance by gender of author are as follows. Please note that these are approximations, as we do not ask submitters for demographic information at this time For the 2021 meeting there were approximately 148 (57.1%) individual paper submissions by men, 106 (41.1%) by women, 4 by non-binary authors of authors of unknown identification (1.5%); of these, approximately 102 accepted papers had men authors (58.9%), approximately 68 had women authors (39.3%), and approximately 3 had authors who were non-binary or of unknown identification (1.7%). Or to put it another way, the respective acceptance/rejection rates for women are 64.1/35.8% (68 of 106 accepted), for men 68.9/31.1% (102 of 148 accepted). The acceptance rate for men is thus higher than the acceptance rate for women, which brings the gender ratio of the authors of individual submissions on the program closer to that of the roughly 60/40 gender ratio in the membership. Taking into account the gender of those included in pre-arranged program units (i.e., in units whose composition was settled before the date for the submission of individual abstracts) raises the percentage of presentations by women on the program significantly. Affiliated group, SCS committee, and organizer-refereed panels contributed 55 papers by men and 69 by women; at-large panels, seminars, and workshops contributed 46 presentations by men, 61 by women. Overall, there are 404 individual presentations (not counting introductions and responses) on the program, 203 by men (50.2%), 198 by women (49%), and 3 by authors who were non-binary or of unknown identification (1%). Despite the fact that in organizing the papers into sessions the VP made a concerted effort to avoid paper sessions in which all presenters are men, there are five such paper sessions on the 2021 program. All have women as presiders.

c) The current President and President-elect plan high-profile events on social justice and the history of the field for the 2021 and 2022 meetings, and in 2021 the program units related to these broad themes include the following:

  • Race, Classics, and the Latin Classroom,” a panel sponsored by the ACL
  • “‘The Hydra-headed Monster of Race-prejudice’: Classics and the Chicago Race Riots,”

a paper in a panel on reception

  • “Classics In/Out of Asia,” a panel organized by the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus
  • “Ancient Theater in ChicagoLand,” a panel organized by CAMP
  • “Difficult Topics in the Classroom,” a panel organized by the K-12 Education Committee
  • “Legalize It: Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Law,” a panel organized by the Lambda Classical Caucus
  • “Indigenous Voices and Classical Literature,” an at-large panel
  • “Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy,” an at-large panel
  • “Think of the Children!: The Reception of the Ancient World in Children's Literature,” a panel organized by the WCC
  • “Believing Ancient Women: A Feminist Epistemology for Greece and Rome,” a seminar
  • Subverting the Classics in Early Modern America,” an organizer-refereed panel
  • “Eos READS: Toni Morrison ‘Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature,’” a workshop
  • “Classics and Childcare,” a workshop
  • “Imposter Syndrome In the Field of Classics,” a lightning talk

d) Overall the academic part of the program is smaller than usual by about 10%; that is a ballpark figure based on the number of sessions (83 this year, last year it was over 90, and the year before that a 10th time-block was added to the traditional nine). By agreement with the AIA the sessions will be held over a six-day period (5-10 January 2021, Tuesday-Sunday), with two sessions per day rather than the traditional three days with three daily sessions. A preliminary draft of the program was posted online in August. Reduced registration fees were agreed on with the AIA, and registration subsidies were approved by the Board. A new presider’s memo was drafted to explain the presider’s role in the virtual format and the technical support available to presiders. 

6. Other business:

a) Streamlined the ‘Types of Sessions’ webpage, which was full of redundancy and confusing to use, as was indicated by the fact that submissions were being made in inappropriate categories. There was less of that this year.

b) At the recommdation of the CAMP chair Krishni Burns I asked Rob Groves, director of the 2020 CAMP production, to fill a vacancy on the CAMP committee, and he graciously agreed. There will be three vacancies to fill next year. 

7. Future business:

a) Rethink the format for lightning talks, e.g., by suggesting some themes to give coherence to these sessions and encourage discussion. The pedagogy-focused session in 2019 was very successful, but on the 2020 and 2021 programs we assembled somewhat random collections of narrow topics under broad headings—‘Greek and Latin Literature,’ ‘Greek Literature,’ ‘History and Literature,’ ‘Crossing Boundaries’—in which it may be difficult to take advantage of the format’s 14 minutes of discussion per six-minute paper. The session proposed by the Education Committee for 2021 will include a thematically focused lightning-talk component, from which we hope to learn.

b) Revise the instructions and room layout for seminars so that they are open to late-comers but prioritize participation by those who preregistered and read the pre-circulated papers.

c) Remove the program submission system requirement that one choose a salutation (“Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.”).

d) Replace the drop-down menu of abstract categories with user-generated key words.

e) Update the program unit submission guidelines to emphasize the importance of the anonymity of all participants.

f) Update the program unit submission guidelines to encourage the use of content warnings where appropriate.

g) Clarify the expectations relating to bibliographies: abstracts should include in-text citations and a list of works cited.   

8. On the Committee’s behalf I warmly thank all those who submitted abstracts, organized panels, and agreed to chair sessions for the virtual 2021 meeting; my colleagues on the Board who provided substantial and timely assistance in the first-round vetting for individual submissions despite the fact that both the new process and the pandemic were asking more of them; and Cherane Ali, Erik Shell, and Helen Cullyer for their help in all aspects of preparing the program, a task that has been and will continue to be more complex and more challenging than usual this year. Speaking for myself, and I am sure the membership at large, I also warmly thank my colleagues on the Program Committee, whose service demands weeks of their time each year, and in particular the colleagues whose term is now ending, Barbara Weiden Boyd, Raffaella Cribiore, and Timothy Moore, whose learning, wit, and collegiality typify what is best in the Society.

9. Addendum, January 2021

The elected members of the 2021 Program Committee are Emily Baragwanath, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, Johanna Hanink, Melissa Mueller, Carlos Noreña, Sarah Stroup, and myself. We met via Zoom on 20 January 2021 to reflect on the 2021 meeting and its virtual format, discuss priorities for the 2022 meeting, review Program Division procedures and policies, and discuss divisional business. Cherane Ali reported that the number of withdrawals from the 2021 program was small, under 10. Among the topics discussed were a redesign of the program’s lightning talk sessions, an expansion of the types of program units available to Affiliated Groups, and supplements to the Guidelines for Authors of Abstracts. We also discussed the question of whether and how to annotate an online abstract archived on the SCS website in order to alert readers that it may contain serious misrepresentations. Some items from our list of future business (see above) were deferred until we have more information about the nature of the 2022 meeting. 

Report from the Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (summarized): CAMP held its annual Business Meeting via Zoom on 13 January 2021, with the Program Division VP and one member of the public in attendance. Agenda items included the 2021 play (Euripides’ Helen, performed via Zoom on 7 January and co-directed by John Franklin and Mary-Kay Gamel), the 2021 committee panel (Ancient Theater in Chicagoland, organized by Krishi Burns), and the play and committee-sponsored panel for the 2022 meeting. The committee also discussed list-serv problems and potential solutions and the need to recruit new members to start in 2022. The initiative to enhance CAMP’s visibility on the SCS website (with, e.g., a digital archive of CAMP materials, a CAMP blog, and an updated database of performance scholars) is in abeyance until the planned SCS website update is complete; the initiative to define and promote the scholarship-equivalence of performance is in abeyance until the conditions of scholarly life return to something like their pre-pandemic state.    

Respectfully submitted,

Cynthia Damon

 

[1] We accepted two paper submission as lightning talks owing to their topics, which seemed to us to be better suited to the longer discussion period allocated to lightning talks (6-minute presentation, 14-minute discussion, vs. 20-minute presentation, 5-10 minutes of discussion). Both authors are women. One of these submissions arrived late and is not reflected in the gender statistics given below.  

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