Seminar | Common Day

Seminar | Common Day

Between the planning seminars for the Latin Literature of the Neronian Period and 4th Century Greek Literature courses, the participants all gathered on Wednesday, June 10 to discuss other aspects of the Sunoikisis program.Rather than focusing on specific subject matter, this day was reserved to explore innovations in technology and pedagogy in order to benefit future Sunoikisis courses.

This common day was led by Prof. Ryan Fowler (CHS Sunoikisis Fellow in Curricular Development, CHS) and Prof. Kenneth Morrell (Director of Fellowships and Curricular Development, CHS).

As this year marks the 20th anniversary of Sunoiksis, Prof. Morrell began the common day by reflecting on the history and development of the CHS and Sunoiksis program.The current initiatives of the Sunoikisis program were discussed, including the undergraduate research symposium, the Kenchreai archaeological school in Greece, the “J-term” where students spend the month of January abroad in Greece, past courses offered, and the Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Journal.

The next session was led by Dr. Monica Berti (University of Leipzig) who joined us via webcam. She discussed how the rise of digital technologies is an opportunity to re-assess and re-establish how the humanities can advance the understanding of the past and support a dialogue among civilizations. Dr. Berti walked the group through her extensive Digital Humanities work. Continuing this discussion of open-access education, she introduced the group to Sunoikisis Digital Classics Programs, which attempts to extend Sunoikisis to a global audience.

After a break, the participants were introduced to plans for a new model for CHS internships and seminars. Future internships will be seminar specific, rather than a general program. Next, Allie Marbry (CHS) explained the technology for upcoming Sunoikisis courses. These included WordPress, Sakai, and Google Hangouts. She emphasized the importance of accessibility and student collaboration on online forums.  The discussion continued with Prof. Amy Singer (Franklin & Marshall) talking about her assessment of the Sunoikisis courses and the importance of having clear goals and learning outcomes when constructing these courses

The most heated discussion revolved around the current state of Classical Studies. Referencing the May 2015 article “Bad News for Latin in the US, worse for Greek” by Gregory Crane, the group analyzed the potential reasons for the declining numbers of students studying ancient languages. A few of the reasons included the current emphasis on STEM subjects at both primary and secondary education levels, higher education’s focus on preparing students for the job market, and budget cuts at programs small and large. Additionally, the participants questioned the future of Classics Departments at colleges and universities. One speculation of where Classical education may be heading was the idea of integrating Classics professors into other departments, for example, having a resident Classical Historian in a History Department.

The following faculty were in attendance: Ronnie Ancona (Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center), Rebecca Benefiel (Washington and Lee University), Patrick Burns (Fordham University), Ben DeSmidt (Carthage College), Ryan Fowler (Franklin & Marshall College), Heather Gruber (Concordia College), Adria Haluszka (Eckerd College), Hal Haskell (Southwestern University), James Ker (University of Pennsylvania), Polyvia Parara (University of Maryland- College Park), Molly Pasco-Pranger (University of Mississippi), Danilo Piana (John Hopkins University), Chuck Platter (University of Georgia), Joe Romero (University of Mary Washington), Luis Salas (University of Texas-Austin), Amy Singer (Franklin & Marshall College), Holly Sypniewski (Millsaps College), Håkan Tell (Dartmouth College), and Bryce Walker (Sweet Briar College).

Video Higlights


Session 1 (1:34:09)

Session 2 (1:33:21)

Session 3 (1:25:04)

Session 4 (1:31:44)

Post authored by Emily Kohut and Giuliana Savini