Message from the President - May 2012

As our capital campaign draws to a close (we still need everyone to help: be sure you are counted!), the APA is in a better position both to survive the challenges of our times and to seize the opportunities.  But we must continue to use our human and financial capital wisely as we do our best to assure that the Association knows and seeks to provide what members actually need and want, and promotes our field as effectively as possible within and without.  Now is the time to take stock, review priorities, and plan for the future.  And so in late March the Board of Directors, as planned (see the Executive Director’s Report for 2011), conducted a weekend retreat facilitated by Laura Lewis Mandeles, our development advisor.  Attending were the Executive Director; the Financial Trustees; the President, President-Elect, and two past Presidents; the divisional Vice Presidents; three Directors at large; a former President of the American Classical League; and to advise about issues affecting “adcons” (adjunct or contingent faculty), a non-classicist from the New Faculty Majority. The retreat was productive and promising, and this letter is a good opportunity to fulfill one of its next steps: to communicate to membership about the results of the retreat.

We came away with a strategic-planning framework whose essence is a clear definition of the Association’s mission and purpose – to sustain and advance the field of Classics and the people involved in it – and an organizational visionthat encourages a more collaborative approach among the Divisions and the membership, and with external constituencies.  We identified priorities and promising initiatives for further study, and in order to get moving we established, for a trial period of two years, a “Cabinet” that will spearhead and serve as a regular forum for refining and advancing the plan.  The Cabinet consists of the President and President-Elect, the divisional Vice Presidents, and the Executive Director, and has scheduled its first meeting (by conference-call) for mid-May.

The title “Cabinet” does not imply a one-way or top-down process: the APA has always relied on its members for initiatives and guidance, and for the volunteer effort needed to achieve results otherwise impossible for an organization of our size.  The planning framework calls for greater responsiveness to the membership and for enhanced communications, especially online and digital, to connect members and other constituencies on an ongoing, year-round basis and through the full spectrum of media: to build the Gateway that inspired our capital campaign.  As planning goes forward, members can expect to be consulted for feedback and advice, and polled for information.

The main roles of the Association should be along the following broad guidelines.  We should support and develop the people who will enliven teaching, learning, and scholarship now and in years to come.  Through our meetings and programs we should facilitate multiple opportunities for connection within the field, especially around research and teaching, that strengthen intellectual exchange, encourage collaboration, and provide mutual support.  We should build information paths that connect professionals in the field and the lay public to data and information about the state and value of Classics, to 21st century resources for research, and about materials for pedagogical development.  Our communications infrastructure should create an environment of support for Classics through outreach to and collaboration with educators, students, parents and the general public, articulate the case for the Classics, and advocate pro-actively for Classics among educational decision makers.

Strategic initiatives include: (1) A sophisticated program of data collection, analysis, and dissemination.  (2) A “year-round”, more inclusive and engaging annual meeting that features a variety of formats for presentation and discussion of scholarship and issues in the field; includes a significant component focused on pedagogy; and offers a well-publicized set of public engagement opportunities in the host city.  The meeting should be preceded and followed by continuing engagement with those who will or who have participated.  In addition, we should explore the potential for convening – virtually or in-person – field meetings that would reach membership unable to attend the annual meeting as well as those who do generally attend.  The Chicago 2014 annual meeting should be the target for significant retooling along these lines.  (3) Developing information-technology to increase accessible research tools and materials, capture and share data about the field, and offer learning opportunities for a variety of constituents.  Our website should become the “go-to place” for people involved in or interested in Classics and should make full use of social media on all media platforms, so that users can find information, follow developments in the field, enjoy presentations and other learning opportunities, and connect with colleagues.  (4) Developing the field’s “talent pipeline” through collaborations and other mechanisms that create a continuum of connection, support, and advocacy for K-12 to undergraduate, graduate studies and career development.

These initiatives may well require that the Board consider by-law and structural changes, e.g. mechanisms for broadening and diversifying our organizational leadership in terms of age, professional status (e.g. adjunct, tenure track), and type of institution.  And of course the Board, Financial Trustees, and staff will explore the potential for new revenue streams both earned and contributed; reallocation of resources in light of new priorities; and efficiencies through technology to reduce expenses.

As these initiatives are pursued, members can expect to be more frequently consulted or polled for needs, opinions, suggestions, and expertise – and also to be surveyed: at a time when we cannot have too much information about the field of Classics and the people involved in it, we have too little.  For professionals and lay people alike, the APA should be the go-to source for data and information about the state and value of Classics.  We will be exploring how to create and maintain a sophisticated program of data collection, analysis, and dissemination.  So please respond when survey instruments come your or your department’s way.  Something that you can do right now is to supply information about your own field(s) of expertise on the APA Membership Form, so that we can complete our online directory.

Among the first issues that members will be asked to consider is whether it is time to change the Association’s name.  The consensus of the retreat was that “philological” no longer defines all that our Association is about and is so obscure to all but practitioners as to impede our efforts to gain broader public visibility.  We need to be found when people search online for information about classics and the classical world.  American Classical Association and (preferred) Classical Association of North America were suggestions.

The enhancement of our Association along these lines is an exciting prospect.  So stay tuned and stay engaged!

Jeff Henderson

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"Empty Theatre (almost)"by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Joan and Mason Brock Theatre, Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, 5817 Wesleyan Drive, Virginia Beach, VA

Fri 2/7/20 7:30pm to 9:30pm

View full article. | Posted in Performances on Thu, 01/09/2020 - 8:30am by Erik Shell.

The SCS Board of Directors has endorsed the following statement developed by the American Anthroplogical Association in collaboration with a number of other societies and associations:

Targeting Cultural Sites is a War Crime

On behalf of more than 50,000 scholars and researchers in the humanities and social sciences, our scholarly and professional societies call upon people throughout the US and, indeed, around the world to remind the President of the United States that targeting cultural sites for military activity is a war crime except under the narrowest of circumstances, and cannot be justified under any circumstances.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Tue, 01/07/2020 - 10:21am by Helen Cullyer.

Graduate Student Caucus Meeting

Hosted by the SCS Graduate Student Committee

Friday, January 3, 5:00pm-6:00pm, Independence Ballroom Salon C

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Come hear about the Graduate Student Committee’s plans for 2020 and offer your feedback on how best the SCS can serve graduate students.

We hope this meeting can be the springboard for a new level of collective action of North American Classics graduate students.

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This event will be followed by a Social Hour, also hosted by the Graduate Student Committee, which will take place Friday, January 3, 7:00pm-8:00pm on the Mezzanine Level of the Marriott Marquis. Come get your drink ticket while they last!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/31/2019 - 4:16pm by Helen Cullyer.

That contingent faculty members make up a significant portion of those teaching on college campuses today is a well-known fact. This fact also holds true in our own fields of study (e.g. Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Art History), and over the years much attention has (rightfully) been paid to the many challenges and problems that stem from this reliance on contingent labor. At the same time, and despite these challenges and problems, contingent faculty members have been making important contributions to our fields in the areas of service, teaching, outreach and research, and these contributions have only grown in their significance as the number of scholars working in these positions has grown. As members of the Committee on Contingent Faculty, we believe it is time to acknowledge these contributions and celebrate the accomplishments of faculty who are working off the tenure track in our related fields. While we continue to search for solutions to the problems of contingency and advocate for those in precarious positions, we think it is equally important to bring visibility to some of these exceptional members of our scholarly community. To that end we seek to publish a series of individual profiles/interviews on the SCS blog over the course of the next year featuring some of our NTT colleagues at various stages in their careers, who are making a difference and making their mark in our discipline.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 12/31/2019 - 1:50pm by Chiara Sulprizio.
 
The SCS Board is delighted to announce a new prize, which will be awarded for the first time in 2020. The Gruen Prize honors Erich S. Gruen, Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and Classics Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.  It will be an essay prize for the best graduate student research on multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean, and submissions about any aspect of race, ethnicity, or cultural exchange will be considered. 
View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 12/31/2019 - 11:04am by Helen Cullyer.

The SCS is pleased to announce the appointment of Patrice Rankine and Sasha-Mae Eccleston as guest editors of a future issue of TAPA with the theme of race, racism, and Classics. A detailed call for papers will be issued in early 2020, and a timetable for submissions will be provided. This themed issue is likely to appear as TAPA 153:1 in spring 2023.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Sun, 12/29/2019 - 7:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

SCS is pleased to be able to offer professional learning units (PLUs) to K-12 teachers in the District of Columbia who attend the AIA-SCS Annual Meeting from January 2-5 at the Marriott Marquis, Washington DC. Forms for PLUs will be available at the SCS booth in the exhibit hall.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 12/29/2019 - 7:12pm by Helen Cullyer.

It might seem that Plato and Xenophon have little in common with heavy metal bands; however, they do share an admiration for those warlords of Laconia: the Spartans. In a word, each expressed a degree of laconophilia. What drew ancient philosophers and heavy metal bands alike to Sparta may be a feeling of disenchantment with their respective mainstreams. Socrates’ pupils were no doubt disillusioned with Athenian democracy following his execution in 399 BCE, and the Spartan alternative arguably inspired in Plato’s Republic and Xenophon’s Constitution of the Spartans was a type of escapist fantasy.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/27/2019 - 5:55am by Jeremy J. Swist.

The SCS Board is delighted to announce a new prize, which will be awarded for the first time in 2020. The Gruen Prize honors Erich S. Gruen, Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and Classics Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.  It will be an essay prize for the best graduate student research on multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean, and submissions about any aspect of race, ethnicity, or cultural exchange will be considered. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 12/23/2019 - 9:53am by Helen Cullyer.

The 2020 Annual Meeting is less than two weeks away.  Registration numbers continue to be strong, but we are still lagging behind with the reservations at the Renaissance hotel.  We understand that some attendees will opt to stay with local friends or find a less-expensive accommodation, but we rely on hotel reservations to secure the meeting space each year.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sat, 12/21/2019 - 7:03am by Helen Cullyer.

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Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A.

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