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Professional Matters - Winter-Spring 2013

The Division of Professional Matters includes under its jurisdiction the Subcommittee on Professional Ethics, the Committee on Placement, the Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups, and the Classics Advisory Service. Here follow reports from each of these, highlighting recent developments and activities.

Subcommittee on Professional Ethics and the Professional Matters Committee.  Questions were submitted for consideration to the Subcommittee on Professional Ethics; as always, the its deliberations are confidential.

The Professional Matters Committee, like the whole Division, was preoccupied at the January meeting in Seattle with the AIA’s decision to end its long collaboration in the Joint Placement Committee. We also began to discuss what shape the next APA Survey should take, and how it should be administered, in order to meet current needs of members, our schools, and the field at large. An inventory of desired data is being compiled and we will be consulting a professional on how best to gather such data—what items through a questionnaire of institutions, as in the past, and what items possibly in other ways. On behalf of the Committee, Barbara Gold organized a panel on non-tenure-track faculty for the convention in Chicago.

The editors of Classics journals, through TAPA Editor Katharina Volk, followed up with us on their concern about a revision to the Association’s Statement on Professional Ethics approved by referendum a couple of years ago, which recommends a six-week period for the refereeing of articles. After living with the APA’s new clause for a year, the editors continue to find it unfortunate; even if only a recommendation, a six-week limit does not recognize the flexibility needed by a journal editor and in some cases discourages participation by potential referees. The editors also reported that they perceive more authors to be submitting papers to multiple journals simultaneously. While the editors intend to state clearly and scrupulously enforce their policies on this matter, the Committee will discuss whether to formulate an APA policy on the matter.

Committee on Placement (Chair, David Potter).  At what will have been the final meeting of the Joint Placement Committee in Seattle, we moved with dispatch through the current state of placement and the possible dissemination of material from our panel on alternative employment. Special thanks to Betsey Robinson and Mike Lippman for taking the lead in making the panel a possibility (see I am also grateful to members of the committee for chipping in to craft a new survey for the membership. Adam Blistein reported 547 candidates up from 531 this year, only 31 registered at the higher non-member rate. Exactly the same number of institutions—50—interviewed in Seattle; 46 schedules were complete by December 21 as opposed to 34 schedules complete on December 28 last year; the other major change was the overnight e-mail notification of jobs, which, although not glitch-free, provided necessary information to candidates. Greater familiarity with the system on the part of the staff and institutions is the likely cause of the improvement.

Discussion then turned to the AIA plan to set up its own placement service. Andrew Moore, the incoming president of the AIA, presented their rationale. Salient points were: 1) Most jobs in archaeology have nothing to do with annual meetings; 2) Most placement takes place on-line; if there are interviews it is only with a small list of finalists; 3) The reason that most placement takes place on line is that jobs are outside of academia; 3) The AIA is unwilling to leave academic placement to the current placement service; 4) There is an assumption that training for archaeologists in all areas follows a roughly similar trajectory; 5) The AIA has made extensive study of available software packages used by other associations, including the AHA, MLA, AAA, CAA. The software used by CAA seems to have had the most influence on their thinking.

Some issues that emerged in the course of discussion: 1) The AIA representative was unaware of the way that Classical archaeologists are trained; he assumed that training mirrored that for people looking for positions in cultural heritage preservation and seemed unaware that in many PhD granting institutions the training he was discussing takes place in Museum Studies Programs; 2) The AIA representative, while saying that the AIA had consulted “widely,” also stated that he had not entered into discussions with representative of major PhD granting institutions; 3) They seem unaware of the implication of the fact that the bulk of academic archaeologists are not employed in dedicated archaeology programs rather than in programs such as Art History, Classics and Anthropology, which act as umbrella organizations and each have their own disciplinary expectations of the archaeologists they employ.

At the end of the meeting conversation turned to the need for greater collection of demographic data for the profession. There was a good deal of enthusiasm for the current improvements in the on-line system and discussion of future enhancements. It should also be noted that 15 months ago, when the APA invited the AIA to participate in shaping a new on-line system, the AIA declined to participate. It should also be noted that with one exception all members of the committee were disappointed with the AIA’s decision; it was striking that Professor Moore announced at the end of the meeting that the change was a fait accompli.

Areas of concern as we move forward: anticipated chaos if AIA schedules interviews through their service at the APA/AIA meeting and the importance of proactively urging departments with jobs that have a material culture component to advertise through the APA.

Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups (Chair, Alex Purves).  The Committee has organized (and had approved) its third annual Authors Meet Critics Panel to be held at the 2014 Annual Meeting: “Authors Meet Critics: Gender and Race in Antiquity and its Reception.” The purpose of these panels is to highlight work that, in one way or another, extends the scope of our discipline to include peoples or geographical areas traditionally treated as marginal or overlooked as irrelevant to it. The Committee also hopes, through these panels, to supplement its information-gathering and monitoring functions with intellectual contributions.

At our annual meeting in Seattle we also discussed what we meant by the term “Minority Groups” in our title: we need to make a greater attempt to include LGBT in that category as well as, possibly, those from underprivileged socio-economic backgrounds). We also discussed what was most needed in terms of APA data collection. It was agreed that the questions compiled by the professional researchers should focus on the following:

  • Some basic demographics: women and minorities among faculty, graduate programs; placement rates for women and minorities.
  • Numbers for women and members of minority groups, not just in faculty positions period, but in tenure-line vs. non-tenure-line positions.
  • Promotion rates from Associate to Full Professor among tenured women.
  • Salaries of women and minorities as compared to others in similar positions, even if difficult to get from private institutions.
  • Demographics of Classics majors; some of this data may be available from the college offices that already record it.

Finally, there is a desire to get a webpage up and running on the APA site dedicated to sharing resources and syllabi dedicated to CSWMG’s mission, as well as for sharing information about and promoting discussion around the Authors Meet Critics panels.

Classics Advisory Service (Director, Jeffrey Henderson).  Since last January's meeting in Seattle the CAS has acted in response to calls for advice or assistance from five threatened programs, four of them in the United States (two universities, one private and one public, and two public high schools) and one in Greece (a university). In the US universities, the threats involved eliminating or downgrading positions; in one case the department prevailed, in the other a decision is pending. In Greece, a program consolidation unfavorable to classics (and humanities generally) was submitted to the ministry but rejected. In both of the high schools Latin was slated for elimination. In one case we worked with the lead teacher, the superintendent, and the school board, and coordinated responses with local, regional, and national associations; the board voted to retain Latin and revisit the question in a year's time (the longer term prospects reportedly look good). In the other (trickier) case, driven mainly by a district budget shortfall, we offered advice to an activist parent and the lead teacher, who were successful in eliminating the threat, though sadly some other worthy programs were not as fortunate.

The CAS also advised on the selection of visitors for two external reviews (one college, one university).

The CAS continues to participate in discussions of the Board about how best to respond to advocacy issues and requests to sign petitions, and whether the APA should develop more specific policies regarding advocacy. Currently the Board is inclined to remain as flexible as possible, allowing each case to be evaluated on its own terms and then formulating an appropriate response. The Board is also inclined not to sign petitions on behalf of the APA but instead to evaluate them for posting in a neutral way on the APA blog, so that members can decide for themselves.

Respectfully submitted,
John F. Miller
Vice President for Professional Matters


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