Letter on the Annual Meeting from Joseph Farrell

January 15, 2018

Dear Members,

Looking back on the recently concluded Annual Meeting, I’m of two minds. For those who took part, I think it was a big success. Newer-format events, like Career Networking and Ancient Maker Spaces, were really lively and well attended, especially by younger members. Georgia Nugent’s presidential panel on the PhD as a launching pad for careers other than college teaching was really inspiring. And the Program Committee’s special session on “Rhetoric: Then and Now” brought our professional responsibility to be political into the spotlight in a way that I feel was both fruitful and long overdue.

The success of these events is all the more impressive because every one of them underwent major changes at the last minute when key participants simply could not make it to Boston because of the weather. Amazingly few sessions were actually cancelled. But if you couldn’t get to Boston, it wasn’t a good convention for you. I’m very sorry for those whose travel plans were thwarted, and I’m extremely grateful to all those got there in spite of the extra effort, expense, and delay that it cost. Frankly, your success in doing so probably saved the convention from being a total disaster.

(Speaking of expense, Helen Cullyer and her staff are working with those who couldn’t get in to mitigate their financial exposure. Everyone affected has now received instructions on requesting refunds.)

Since this is the second Annual Meeting in four years to suffer the impact of extreme winter weather, many members are asking why we continue to meet in early January and in cities like Boston and Chicago. The question is important, and we have to take it seriously. Two events like this in just four years could be coincidental, but in view of all of the other extreme weather events in recent years, you would have to be a climate-change denier to think that this won’t happen again. So the issue is now top priority for the SCS Board of Directors, and I was happy to learn that Jodi Magness, the President of the AIA, is more than willing to work with us.

That said, just what to do is not obvious. Many members already wonder why we don’t meet more often in warm-weather cities, but even at this time of year we do not have our pick of venues; far from it. Next year, at least, we do have San Diego, and we can look forward to celebrating the Society’s Sesquicentennial in a warm climate. Still, another badly timed storm on the east coast or in the midwest might prevent many of us from arriving in time for the start of the conference. So, in addition to the question of where we meet, we also have to raise the question of when.

We have already signed contracts through 2024, and the time to identify venues for the years beyond that — while they are still available — is now. If we moved to a new time of year in 2025, we would have to avoid conflicts with CAMWS, CAAS, and the other Classical organizations, as well as with CAA, AAR-SBL, and other conventions that our members attend. Holidays and teaching schedules also come into play. It would not be easy. These are the reasons why we meet when we do, in the first place, and it is not impossible that we will continue to do so, although something has to be done to mitigate the risk of another Bomb Cyclone or Polar Vortex. Disruptions like that are bad for our members — especially younger members, those with families, those who have no access to research and travel funds, and so on — and they threaten the Society’s financial health while taxing our professional staff, who worked heroically to keep the most recent convention on track, and who are still dealing with a vastly more complicated aftermath than they expected. Thanks to them, as well as to all of you who made it to Boston in spite of everything, the convention was, against the odds, a success, intellectually and socially. And I promise that we will do everything possible to ensure that future events will be even more successful, and that the risk of weather-related disruption will be as small as possible.

Sincerely,

Joseph Farrell

SCS President, 2018

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(A longer version of the following memoir, by Helen North, Centennial Professor of Classics Emerita, Swarthmore College, was commissioned for a forthcoming volume of the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. This version was lightly edited and abridged by Ralph M. Rosen. Sadly, Professor North herself died on January, 21, 2012. Shortly before her death she had given her permission for this obituary to be abridged and published in the APA Newsletter. Special thanks to Julia Gaisser for facilitating the process, and to the American Philosophical Society for permission to print the text that follows).

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 07/16/2012 - 2:50pm by Adam Blistein.

"It was the last day of school in July 1942 in Niort, a French city occupied by the Germans. Louise Fligelman, then an eighth grader, still remembers the flurry of excitement when students and faculty were unexpectedly called to a special assembly. Her older brother, Richard, 16, was asked to step forward to accept a signal honor from the school’s principal: He had won the first prize in Latin in the prestigious concours général, a nationwide competition among high schools." Read more in The New York Times

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 07/05/2012 - 5:19pm by Information Architect.

In the latest issue of American Educator, Peter Dodington, a longtime Latin teacher, explains why studying the ancient Greek and Roman world and learning Latin achieve one of the central goals of public education: helping students think deeply about how they want to live their lives and what they hope to accomplish. Click here for the pdf.

Thanks to Ronnie Ancona, APA VP for Education, for suggesting that we post this piece on the APA Blog.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/28/2012 - 12:43pm by Information Architect.

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) -- Archaeologists in Greece's second-largest city have uncovered a 70-meter (230-foot) section of an ancient road built by the Romans that was the city's main travel artery nearly 2,000 years ago.

The marble-paved road was unearthed during excavations for Thessaloniki's new subway system, which is due to be completed in four years. The road in the northern port city will be raised to be put on permanent display when the metro opens in 2016. Read more…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/26/2012 - 5:12pm by Information Architect.

The APA is a member of Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW)—a coalition of organizations working to address deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on college and university students in the United States.  CAW has released the results of a recent survey of contingent faculty members. Designed to address the lack of data on contingent academics and their working conditions, the survey received more than 10,000 responses from faculty members who were teaching part-time in fall 2010. These responses provide the basis for a detailed portrait of the work patterns, remuneration, and employment conditions for what is now the largest part of the academic workforce.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 06/20/2012 - 12:29pm by Adam Blistein.

Do you know an outstanding classics teacher at the pre-collegiate level? Consider nominating him or her for the APA Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Pre-Collegiate Level.

Ronnie Ancona
APA Vice President for Education

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 5:01pm by .

I met Gary in 1987 when we were both starting our careers as Visiting Assistant Professors at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  He died on December 31, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer.  The facts of Gary’s life as a classicist are clear: After earning a double Ph.D. in Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale, he went on to teach at some excellent places: Union College, George Washington, Eckerd College—where he held an endowed chair—and finally, Villanova.  His numerous publications include his excellent Euripides and the Poetics of Nostalgia, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. Gary was a conscientious, witty, and imaginative teacher, who earned the loyalty and devotion of many of his students.     

Gary led a rich and noteworthy life. He enjoyed and took pride in his family: his two daughters, Emily and Rebecca Meltzer, their mother and his wife, Jill Ross Meltzer, his sister and her husband, Dale and David Stempler, and his array of cousins. He could not have been more devoted to Emily and Rebecca.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 1:36pm by Adam Blistein.

From the Harvard Gazette:

Before their degrees are formally conferred at Morning Exercises, three Harvard men still have one test left to pass. Each will speak for their class before a crowd of thousands in Tercentenary Theatre, an honor given to three graduating students each year.

Once a series of thesis defenses, often presented in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, Harvard’s Commencement orations have evolved into succinct five-minute speeches. Each spring, the Harvard Commencement Office hosts a competition to select an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and an undergraduate speaking in Latin for the occasion.

Here, the Class of 2012 orators share their stories — and a glimpse at the words of wisdom they plan to offer.

Read more at http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/05/in-full-regalia-and-ready-to-regale/.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:38pm by Information Architect.

From News at Princeton

When Princeton University senior Elizabeth Butterworth was in middle school she immersed herself in the richly imagined world of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." The experience sparked her fascination for stories from other eras, along with an abiding passion for delving into texts.

"I fell in love with that book. It made me interested in mythology and epic stories," she said.

Read more at http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/76/30M58/index.xml?section=topstories.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:35pm by Information Architect.

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