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Education—Fall 2012

The Education Division continues to be active on a number of fronts, initiating activities and responding to needs expressed by the profession. Here is a summary of activities since the Annual Meeting in January 2012.

The APA publication, Careers for Classicists, which had not been revised for about a decade, has been updated by its author Ken Kitchell, with assistance from the Education Committee, under the title Careers for Classicists in Today’s World. I would like to thank Prof. Kitchell for his excellent work as well as the members of the Education Committee for their fine suggestions for revision and comments on drafts. Prof. Tony Tuck of University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Dr. Katherine Brooks, Director of Liberal Arts Career Services at The University of Texas at Austin, were helpful to Prof. Kitchell during his revising. In addition, thanks to Maria Americo, Jessica Anderson, and Georgia Tsouvala, who were willing to read and comment on the penultimate draft from the perspective of recent college graduate in classics, young secondary school Latin teacher, and junior faculty member teaching at the university level. Finally, thanks to Sam Huskey, APA Information Architect, for making the online document so user-friendly, and to Adam Blistein for help at all stages. The booklet answers many of the questions students, parents, teachers at all levels, and administrators have about the value of a classics education in the marketplace and includes useful information for those thinking of attending graduate school. One of the best features of this revision is its availability online at no cost. A small print run will be done as well so that a more formal looking version can be purchased at minimal cost. Please read the booklet and share it with others, especially those considering an undergraduate major in classics or already pursuing one.

The following now appears on the Education page of the APA website. Its appearance was also announced by Adam Blistein on the APA blog:

Careers for Classicists in Today’s World by Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr. with the assistance of the APA Education Committee.  Careers is copyright 2012 by the American Philological Association (APA) and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.  You can download a pdf version of this pamphlet here.

You are free to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt the work provided that you attribute the work to the American Philological Association but not in a way that suggests that the APA endorses you or your use of the work and provided that you do not use this work for commercial purposes.  For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

We are very grateful to Prof. Kitchell for his hard work in updating this important pamphlet.  The APA will soon produce a limited number of printed copies of this document for sale at a price of $3 per copy.  Use this form to order copies.  The pamphlet contains the URLs of many online resources.  Please report any problems with these links to Adam Blistein, APA’s Executive Director.

We are awaiting publication of the next APA Guide to Graduate Programs. This publication will appear for the first time online and that has required additional work and preparation. This version will have a small print run as well. The Guide will now include information about Post-Baccalaureate programs as well as PhD and MA programs. In the future, we hope to encourage departments to include even more information. This might include number of degrees awarded, job placement records/information, teaching experience available, time to degree etc. The APA Education Committee is very strongly in favor of having departments provide as much material as is necessary for graduate school applicants to make informed choices about where to apply and what program to attend, if admitted. There has been some discussion about devising a statement for APA Board consideration and possible adoption about what it would recommend departments include in the future. Discussion about future information to be included in the Guide, if desirable, could begin any time after the publication of the forthcoming Guide.

As is clear already from the mention of these two publications, the Education Division is very eager to have a strong web presence. This desire is in keeping with the organization-wide priorities set at the APA Board retreat last spring. The exact form this will take for APA, in general, and the ways in which the Education Division will participate remain to be determined. We have already tried to increase the amount of material available for viewing on the Education page in hopes that the page will be a useful resource for the profession.

Making awards to teachers continues to be an important part of the Education Division’s work. The 2011 pre-collegiate teaching awards and the 2011 awards for teaching at the college level were announced in my last report. We continue to spread the word about these important competitions. It is particularly important to get word to those who might be in the best position to nominate people for the pre-collegiate teaching awards, since they may not be members of APA. As always, we continue to encourage APA members to keep both awards in mind as they think about the teachers they know at both levels. These awards are a significant way to recognize excellence in teaching. Such recognition honors not only the individual teacher, but his or her institution as well.

The 2012 David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship for Travel in Classical Lands was awarded to Catherine Venturini, who teaches Latin at Ridgewood High School in New Jersey. The citation appears under 2012 at the following link: https://classicalstudies.org/david-d-and-rosemary-h-coffin-fellowship-travel-classical-lands  Ms. Venturini’s participation in the Vergilian Society’s summer program (The Italy of Caesar and Vergil: A Workshop for Teachers) will not only help prepare her for the new AP syllabus but for leading a student trip to Italy in spring 2013. Thanks to the Coffin Committee chair, Greta Ham, and additional committee members, Nigel Nicholson and Bronwen Wickkiser, for their work.

Funding from the Capital Campaign will allow for some “Next Generation” grants starting in fiscal year 2012 to be given for professional development in line with recommendations from the Education Committee as reported in the APA Board minutes for Jan. 9, 2011, if approved at the Jan. 3, 2013 APA Board Meeting. In addition to the monetary increase in the teaching awards, which has already taken effect, the Committee suggested a new award category of funding be set up for pedagogy development, open to both college and pre-collegiate teachers. Funding would ideally be a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $2500, depending on the nature of the project to be funded.  A second new award category proposed would be used for Latin teacher training leading towards certification.  A possible funding level of up to $1500 was discussed. Necessary funding would have to be in place for these awards to be initiated and amounts for awards would depend upon specific monies available. These new grants were discussed at the September 2012 Board meeting, as was the possibility that some of this new funding could be devoted to IT-related enhancement of pedagogy, in keeping with the Board’s commitment to advancing the Information Technology features of APA.

For the first time, APA in 2012 offered continuing education units (CEUs) for attendance at the Annual Meeting. We hope to do this again at the 2013 Meeting in Seattle and have made preliminary contacts with those in the region to help make this possible. While the response to this new opportunity was small in its first year, the Education Division considers this a valuable way of encouraging pre-collegiate teachers to attend the Annual Meeting, while providing a concrete reward for such attendance that is recognized by their school districts.

ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) continues work on its development of a Latin reading proficiency exam that can be given to individuals at various levels of competence. This will be an exciting new assessment tool for our field. It likely will be used in some cases to test those wishing to get certified to teach Latin, but it will have many other uses as well. Sherwin Little, who is part of the group working on the exam development, recently asked me, as APA Vice President for Education, for the names of some individuals who might give some feedback on a professional development piece for the new exam. I was happy to comply with that request and was very pleased that APA was being involved in such an effort. The exam is being developed by individuals from ACTFL and ACL (American Classical League).

The Minority Scholarship Committee is completing its first year of transition from being a joint committee with AIA to being an APA-only committee. Mira Seo is committee chair. We are very grateful to the APA members who were willing to be appointed, in one case just for a year, and in another for an extended appointment to smooth the transition and maintain the committee member numbers. As usual, the Minority Scholarship Committee will be receiving applications by its December deadline and will be making decisions about applications at their committee meeting at the Annual Meeting. The Fund-raising Raffle for the Scholarship will take place at the Annual Meeting directly before the opening of the Exhibit Hall on Sunday, January 6. Tickets may be purchased ahead of time on the Annual Meeting Registration form or on site at the Committee booth in the Exhibition Hall. 

The APA Education Committee typically sponsors a panel at the APA Annual Meeting. This year’s panel for Seattle, organized by Nigel Nicholson, is on Literary Theory in Graduate and Undergraduate Classics Curricula. Speakers and topics are as follows: Leslie Kurke, “A Dedicated Theory Class for Graduate Students”; Matthew Roller, “Teaching ‘Theory’ in Topical Graduate Seminars”; Nigel Nicholson, “Literary Theory Survey Classes for Classics Undergraduates”; Christopher van den Berg; “Using Team-Teaching to make Theory Central to the Undergraduate Curriculum.” The papers from last year’s panel will be appearing shortly in Classical World. The topic was Teaching about Classics Pedagogy in the 21st Century. Authors include Ronnie Ancona, Michael Goyette, Andrew Reinhard, William Batstone, Anna McCullough, Eric Dugdale, and Laurie Haight Keenan. The panel was organized by Ronnie Ancona and Eric Dugdale.

Georgia Tsouvala, chair of the Ancient History Committee, has reached out to the new American Historical Association (AHA) president, Ken Pomeranz, and hopes to begin some discussion about contact between AHA and her committee.  She would like to thank Gil Renberg and Celia Schultz for their invaluable assistance in this area. The Ancient History Committee will be sponsoring a panel at the 2013 APA Annual Meeting in Seattle, organized by Georgia Tsouvala, on the topic of Teaching History and Classics with Inscriptions. Speakers and topics are as follows: John Bodel, “Teaching (with) epigraphy in the digital age”; Glenn Bugh, “Hellenistic Inscriptions:  When History Fails Us”; Joseph Day, “The Lithic Muse:  Inscribed Greek Poetry in the Classroom”; Tom Elliott, “Digital Epigraphic Resources for Research and Teaching”; with Respondent, Robert Pitt, Assistant Director of the British School in Athens. In addition, the committee will be sponsoring a workshop, organized by committee member, Saundra Schwartz, Reacting to Athens, 403 BC:  Historical Simulation in the Classroom.

While attendance at the ACL’s Annual Institute is not required of the APA VP for Education, in my opinion and that of my predecessor, it is advantageous, when possible. APA has as the majority of its membership those teaching at the college level; ACL has the majority of its membership teaching at the pre-collegiate level. Attendance at both the APA Annual Meeting and the ACL Institute (their equivalent of the Annual Meeting) gives a balanced perspective on the state of classics in North American education and beyond. I attended the Institute this summer for the third time in a row since becoming VP. I expect to attend next year, in my final year as VP, as well.

The Joint Committee on Classics in American Education (JCCAE), co-chaired by the APA Education VP and the ACL President, now meets at the ACL Institute as well as at the APA Annual meeting. The membership of this joint committee consists of the APA Education Committee plus the ACL President and four ACL-appointed members. JCCAE met at the ACL Institute, at University of Las Vegas, Nevada, on Friday, June 29, from 9:00-10:30.  In attendance were Ronnie Ancona and Peter Howard (co-chairs) and Mary English (from APA) and Mark Pearsall (from ACL). The committee discussed possible candidates for appointments to fill the ACL slots on the committee and Peter Howard decided to appoint Keely Lake and Robert Cape. They have since accepted those appointments. The ACTFL Latin proficiency exam (already mentioned above) was discussed. The exam can be used for NCATE (The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) to show that teachers have achieved a level of content area mastery. JCCAE continues to be quite interested in the issue of assessment. A tool like the ACTFL exam allows for increased attention to linking different levels of language study and building expectations and assessments throughout a program. The committee continues its interest in developing a list of schools that are training Latin teachers. The new Next Generation funds from the APA were discussed. There was interest in defining professional development (for purposes of applying for funding) as broadly as possible. For example, a teacher might apply for funds to take a group of students to compete in a certamen. This would fall in the important category of program building. Costs could include materials, teacher preparation time, travel funds for teacher and students etc.  There was some discussion of whether there was anything more that APA could be doing for teachers and for ACL members. The high cost of APA membership was mentioned as a barrier to some for joining.

While not acting in my capacity as VP, I did take the opportunity of attending the ACL Institute to organize a panel on the recent rise of Latin in New York City’s public and charter schools. It was very well attended and received. The panel, with slight variation, will be repeated at the fall Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States in New York City. Program growth and change of this sort in our profession seems like an important phenomenon for us to recognize, both in terms of what we can learn from it and how we can support it. If APA Education VPs continue to try to attend the ACL Institute, it can be beneficial for them to contribute to the program, where appropriate.  

The issue of classics programs defining and justifying themselves continues to attract attention. More and more, departments and institutions at all levels of instruction are interested in (and sometimes pushed to determine) ways of defining their students’ progress through various assessments. We fielded one inquiry from a college asking for help in this area and think it is likely that more such requests may come in the future. Sunoikisis, at the Center for Hellenic Studies, is working towards posting some examples of assessment plans. We hope to link with that project and are considering adding some material of this sort to our own website.

Finally, there is a new website for beginning teachers that the Joint Committee on Classics in American Education (JCCAE) is co-sponsoring, along with the Committee for the Promotion of Latin and the National Committee for Latin and Greek (NCLG). It is called Tirones ("Newbies"). This from Mary Pendergraft, NCLG president: “To enroll in Tirones, go to Romae.org. You'll find a beautifully designed site, with several useful options, but first, choose the link to Amicitia--a good, classical version of Facebook. Once you've enrolled here, you can use it in some of the ways you use Facebook, and you can sign up for the group Tirones.” Feel free to join or to pass the word about the site to others.

As always, I would like to thank for their valued assistance all those who perform service for the Education Division. Committee members and committee chairs work very hard to carry out our Division’s goals. I very much appreciate the time and good thinking these volunteers provide for our Division’s many projects. Those retiring from service or starting service will be recognized by name in my next (post-Annual Meeting) report. Adam Blistein, Executive Director, and Sam Huskey, Information Architect, continue to be helpful in countless ways.  

Respectfully submitted,

Ronnie Ancona

APA VP for Education 2010-14
Division 
Year 

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