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Teaching Classics in Community College

Kyle Jazwa

Monmouth College

Paper 4    394 words

Teaching Classics in Community Colleges

In this paper, I will explore the role of Classics in the two-year community college education system. I will describe my personal experiences with Classics at a two-year institution, and the shared experiences of other Classicists employed at community colleges elsewhere in the country. I will also discuss the potential for instructor-based and cross-institutional outreach for enhancing the visibility of Classics at all levels of education.

Community colleges in the US typically offer a diversity of educational training options, including remedial education, GEDs, technical degrees, professional training, and preparation for transferring to a B.A. program. Because of this, curriculum design inherently differs from four-year programs and the liberal arts education. Courses that are not part of the professional or technical programs, often serve to fulfill specific requirements in global/multicultural awareness or simply provide introductory preparation for four-year majors. Classics, in particular, is rarely offered as a dedicated department or major-track, and any ancient language or Greek/Roman culture courses are distributed among Humanities, History, and Language programs. At many community colleges, in fact, Classics makes its only institution-wide appearance as part of a broader survey course in Western Humanities.

Despite an institutional lack of emphasis on Classics, community college hiring committees consider Classicists attractive candidates as instructors. State hiring regulations have become stricter, and a Masters or Ph.D. in Classics is a qualification that offers great flexibility for teaching. In Iowa, for instance, a Ph.D. in Classics is one of only a few degrees that provides the qualifications necessary to teach any Humanities course. Because of this, instructors trained in Classics will hold increasingly greater power to enact change at the curricular level. More importantly, these instructors stand “at the front lines” and can demonstrate the value of Greek and Roman culture as a topic of study to many students who are unfamiliar to the topic.

In other words, the potential benefits of future outreach from the professional organizations and four-year institutions to community colleges are great. By promoting the study of Classics at the community college level, for instance, four-year institutions can attract transfer students to their Classics programs and increase and diversify the major populations. Organizational outreach can also help to spread and maintain an affinity for Greek and Roman culture to a broader lay audience and help to make Classics more relatable to the public.

Session/Panel Title:

Classical Advocacy: The National Committee for Latin and Greek

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