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Classics Advisory Service - 1998-99

9/1/98 - 10/31/99

Report to the Board of Directors, American Philological Association
Michael Gagarin, Director
November 10, 1999

My fourth year as Director of the CAS has been relatively quiet in terms of crises. During the year I was alerted to possible problems at five institutions. Only one of these came to me directly from the department or program involved; the rest were brought to my attention by general announcements on the internet or appeals by others. In all cases the role of the CAS was relatively small, because either the damage was a fait accompli, or the Classicists involved had already taken the necessary action, or (in one case) there was no Classicist interested in responding to my email message. In general, where the Classicists are active and committed, they responded effectively; where they are not, the response (if any) is ineffective. The posting of information on the CAS Web Site seems to have helped in some cases and made it less necessary to call on the Director directly. In this regard I made a number of revisions to the Web Site with the help of APA Webmaster Mitchell-Boyask.

Various other sorts of inquiries and requests for assistance came from seven institutions or organizations. Some of these requested help in starting or expanding a Classics program, other sought advice on general trends or issues. In addition, I continued to give advice on Program Reviews (nine requests), primarily in the form of suggestions for possible outside reviewers. This service is clearly a help to many APA member institutions. In the future it would be good to expand the list of people I recommend, since most people are happy to do one or perhaps two external reviews in a year but not more.

During the past year I also finished drafting a set of guidelines for undergraduate programs in Classics. If the Board approves, these should be posted on the Web Site. The final version should also be published in the Newsletter.

Perhaps the matter most in need of attention at this point is the Database of information about undergraduate programs in Classics. This was begun by Bill Ziobro, but with the changes in the APA administration, and the consequent changes in types of computer programs, to my knowledge there currently exists no useful database. Many requests I receive include specific questions about, e.g., numbers of majors or Latin enrollments at comparable institutions; others ask about broad trends in Classics. Moreover, general claims about the death of Classics or the vitality of Classics tend to be based largely on anecdotal evidence. There is a serious lack of solid statistical data that could be used for both specific requests and more general discussion. It should be one of the main tasks of the CAS and the APA in the coming year to reestablish and update this Database.

Michael Gagarin
Director, Classics Advisory Service
gagarin@mail.utexas.edu

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