President's Letter on Volunteering

Adam Blistein recently sent a message to all members inviting you to volunteer to stand for election to Association offices and to serve on APA committees.  The required form may be accessed here, and you may find full information about what is involved in serving in the various positions here

Why do we send this message every year, and why is it important that we have members respond? 

Things are changing fast in the world of education and research, and it is crucial that the principal professional organization of American Classicists should have the benefit of the wisdom of a broad and deep representation of the membership as we plan our responses to these transformations.  It’s especially important that we can draw upon the insights and the energy of our younger members.  You are the ones who have the best knowledge of the opportunities and the risks coming our way in terms of the electronic revolution, educational change, and career transformation.  You are also the ones who are going to be living your professional lives while swimming in the current of these changes, and serving as an officer or committee member enables you not only to get a national perspective on these issues but also to have some chance of influencing them.

We are well aware that everyone is busy, and younger members in particular will rightly be concerned about the value of spending time doing something for the APA and the profession as a whole when they could be working on their research and teaching.  When I was Chair of my department I spent a good bit of time giving advice to junior colleagues about how to manage their priorities as they came up through the ranks—even if they didn’t always take my advice!  So, by all means talk to your Chairs and senior colleagues and get their opinion.  But the value of this service is very high to the individuals who volunteer as well as to the profession, because you meet a number of colleagues you wouldn’t otherwise meet and you learn a lot about the world of Classics in the broadest sense. 

The APA is very fortunate to have the dedicated services of a professional Executive Director, Adam Blistein, and with his small staff he keeps the organization running throughout the year.  Yet nothing of what we do would be possible without the service of dozens of our members who volunteer or agree to stand for election.  Ever since Robert D. Putnam’s 1995 essay on “Bowling Alone” it’s been something of a cliché in sociology that participation in community activities and in civic groups of all kinds has been steadily declining for decades.  His thesis has attracted a lot of criticism from scholars, and I’m certainly not competent to assess the debate.  What I do know is that every year the APA at least does its bit to prove him wrong.

Have a look at the list of possibilities for service, and see what you might find interesting and rewarding to become involved in.  You’ll do some good for your colleagues and your profession, you’ll meet a lot of interesting people, and you’ll make some new friends.  It’s worth it. 
 

Denis Feeney
President

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The Departments of Classical Studies and Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, are pleased to announce a new two-year M.A. in Ancient Philosophy, now accepting applications for September 2013. This program is aimed primarily at undergraduate students interested in pursuing ancient philosophy at the doctoral level. Western has one of the largest concentrations of faculty in the field, including five specialists in ancient philosophy and an additional four core members with areas of research related to Greek and Roman language and history. This interdisciplinary program is the only M.A. program of its kind in North America and only one of a handful of similar programs in the world.

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:07pm by .

James J. O'Donnell of Georgetown University has been appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) effective January 1, 2013.  Prof. O'Donnell has served the APA in many capacities including terms as President and as Vice President for Publications.  APA was a founding member of the ACLS in 1919.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 8:40pm by Adam Blistein.

Over the last few days we have posted a great deal of new information about the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle.  In addition to information about registering for seminars (posted last week), you can now find abstracts of almost all papers to be presented at the meeting as well as information on special events at the meeting.  In the latter document please note especially that the President’s Reception on Saturday afternoon, January 5, will celebrate the successful conclusion of the Gateway Campaign.  The Board of Directors has therefore approved a larger budget for hors d’oeuvres and snacks at this event than has been the custom in recent years.  The Board urges all APA members to attend this celebration.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 8:25pm by Adam Blistein.

APA Office Hours:  November 2012-January 2013

Following is the schedule for the APA Office through the annual meeting in Seattle.  Our regular hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

November 22-25, 2012                                   Office Closed (Thanksgiving Holiday)
December 22-26, 2012                                   Office Closed
December 27-28, 2012                                   Office Open (see Note A)
December 29-30, 2012                                   Office Closed
December 31, 2012                                        Office Open
January 1-8, 2013                                           Office Closed (see Note B)
January 9-11, 2013                                         Office Open (see Note C)
January 12-13, 2013                                       Office Closed
January 14, 2013                                            Normal Office Operations Resume

Note A:  The building where our offices are located at the University of Pennsylvania (220 S. 40th Street) will be locked, and the University will not be delivering mail during this period.  Courier services may be able to make deliveries, but the best ways of communicating with us will be via telephone and e-mail.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 4:14pm by Adam Blistein.

Four seminars will take place at the annual meeting in Seattle.  Find details of these sessions here along with instructions for requesting seminar papers in advance of the meeting and Program Committee expectations for participants in these sessions.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 3:41pm by Adam Blistein.

Classics programs in two institutions in the Russian Federation are being threatened with closure.  Click here to sign a petition in support of the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow.  Click here to sign a petition in support of the program at St. Petersburg State University.  The latter link opens a page that appears to be completely in Russian, but the English version will appear if you click on an expansion link with a caret pointing down (V)after the first several lines of Russian text.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 1:27pm by Adam Blistein.

The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance invites expressions of interest in directing a staged reading at the 2014 APA meeting in Chicago. CAMP is very proud to sponsor this reading, which has become a tradition. The eleventh annual reading, which will take place at the 2013 APA meeting in Seattle, will be Alcestis, adapted and co-directed by Mark Damen and Mary-Kay Gamel.

Proposals for plays must be accompanied by a firm commitment by a director or a larger creative team who will assume full responsibility for production. Scripts must be complete by the time the statement of interest is submitted, and the proposer must have the legal right to perform the script.

The director is given free rein with regard to the artistic realm of the play, including the scale of the production, though we strongly caution potential directors to be mindful of the extreme limitations imposed by a very short rehearsal period (approximately two days), a short time slot for performance (under two hours), few theatrical resources, and a limited budget. The director is responsible for writing and distributing a call for actors, for planning in advance the type of production to be done, for maintaining contact with a CAMP liaison and the APA regarding performance progress and needs, and of course for directing the show in Chicago.

Statements of interest must address the following issues:

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 11/16/2012 - 7:13pm by Adam Blistein.

"Because it's been a language of scholars and old things, it's got a mystique and romance to it," says Rachel Currie, one of many Australian students breathing new life into the dead language of Latin.

At the University of Western Australia, where Currie is taking a double major in biomedical science, introductory Latin this year has 129 students, an increase of 150 percent. Currie prizes Latin as a kind of master key of language that unlocks scientific terminology and opens up insights into English grammar as well as Romance tongues for travel in Europe.

But sheer fun can't be overlooked, and the textbook Lingua Latina, with its Roman family saga, helps teachers deliver. "Marcus beats up his sister, one of the uncles joins the army -- it's exactly like a Roman soap opera," Currie says.

A new liberal arts-style curriculum at UWA has helped languages generally, says Yasmin Haskell, who holds the Cassamarca Foundation chair in Latin humanism. Students must take "breadth" courses outside their home faculty. As a result, Latin reaches beyond the language nerds. Students from the sciences narrowly outnumber those from the arts.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:30pm by Information Architect.

If you regularly use Facebook or Twitter, you may want to follow the APA (https://www.facebook.com/APAClassics and @apaclassics). All posts to this APA blog are also published on those pages. In addition, those pages highlight features of the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 11/08/2012 - 3:27pm by Adam Blistein.

I want to thank the more than 200 APA members who responded to my recent request for comments about the proposal from the Board of Directors that we consider changing the name of the Association. I am currently preparing a summary of their comments and suggestions and will post it just before or after Thanksgiving. That will initiate a public discussion that the Board wants to be as open and inclusive as possible. Information Architect Sam Huskey has been developing a new blogging mechanism that will permit Board and committee members to post articles and allow members and friends to respond. The Board believes that public discussion of the issue of the name change is a good way to inaugurate this new effort on our part to take advantage of electronic media. This discussion will inform the deliberations of the Board of Directors when it meets, as usual, at the annual meeting in January and determines the next steps we should take in reaching a decision on this important issue.

With best regards,
Jeff Henderson

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 11/08/2012 - 3:19pm by Adam Blistein.

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