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Professional Matters - Winter 2014

This report was presented to the Board of Directors at its meeting on January 5, 2014

1.  Data-gathering initiative. Various constituencies within the Association have been contacted for their feedback on what should ideally be included in the revised Census. The talk by Robert Connor at the Presidential Panel also offered much food for thought. Most practical will probably be a streamlined Census form—also with a few additional questions,—that we can expect chairs of departments and programs to report on without too much difficulty.

2.  The Subcommittee on Professional Ethics met during the convention. I will report any recommendations to the Board if and when the Committee makes any.

3.  A member requested that the Committee for Professional Matters consider adding a clause regarding spousal hiring to APA’s Statement of Professional Ethics. Because of widely varying policies among institutions, both the Committee and the Board thought that it was not necessary to include reference to spousal hiring at this time.

4.  Classics Advisory Service (Jeffrey Henderson).

A.  Since its last report the CAS has acted in response to requests from two college departments in the US, each with two tenure-track lines threatened with reduction to one.  In one case the administration followed the recommendation of a faculty curriculum committee; the CAS Director wrote to the dean in support of the department’s (and many students’) appeal to restore the line or at least approve a full-time visiting professor pending further consideration, but the president decided to approve only part-time coverage for next year.  In the other case, the administration rejected the recommendation of a faculty curriculum committee to replace a vacated position; we await the advice of the remaining faculty member about how to support a renewed position request.

B.  In response to a request from a university department in the UK that was threatened with closure and a disadvantageous institutional relocation of its faculty, President Feeney and the CAS Director wrote joint letters to the President; the administration subsequently withdrew these proposals.

C.  The APA approved posting on its website petitions from the Coordination nationale des associations régionales des enseignants de langues anciennes (France), alerting the academic community to policy trends that threaten to reduce the teaching of Greek and Latin at all levels; from the Schweizerische Vereinigung für Altertumswissenschaft (Switzerland), protesting the proposed elimination of Latin and Greek from secondary schools in the canton of Bern; and from the Free University of Brussels, to preserve a Latin professorship.

D.  The CAS also advised on the selection of visitors for four external reviews (one college, three university), and on handling assessment criteria for a college department that seemed unsuited to the discipline of classics.

5.  The Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups (Alex Purves).

A.  The Committee plans to organize another  “Authors Meet Critics” panel for the 2015 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, possibly on Sarah Pomeroy’s Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves. The purpose of these panels is to highlight work that, in one way or another, extends the scope of our discipline and contributes to our mission. The committee also hopes, through these panels, to supplement its information-gathering and monitoring functions with intellectual contributions.

B.  As for the collection and examination of information, the Committee offered various suggestions and expressed come concerns, i.e., be sure to find ways to capture scholars working in subfields, such as ancient history, or outside traditional Classics departments; salary information if possible; getting the data by the time of CSWMG’s next meeting in 2015 (and this is more important than having the survey be perfect in the first instance.

6.  Placement Committee (David Potter). The Committee’s full detailed report is attached on the first year of the new APA Placement Committee (now that the AIA has withdrawn its participation). Particular attention is drawn to the results of the recent survey.

7.  Journal editors (Craig Gibson). At their annual gathering during the convention, the editors discussed a member’s suggestion passed along to them by the Committee of Professional Matters about “creating a site that would bring together information about journals” with “an annually updated database of journals in classics with timelines including average time from submission to decision and acceptance to print, as well as information like number of reviewers and R&R policy” and information on “length limits, languages, and restrictions on field” with “moderated comments.” The editors felt that such a database would not be practical and has the potential to be misinterpreted or misused. 

Respectfully submitted, John F. Miller


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