Greek Threatened At Wilfrid Laurier U!!! Strange Goings-on?

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I first saw this on the Classicists list … I hope it’s making the rounds of other lists; a letter from Dr. Judith Fletcher:

Dear Friends,
I am writing to you because our new Dean is thinking of eliminating senior Greek courses based on low enrollments. We have a reciprocal agreement with Waterloo that allows our students to take a semester of Greek with them, and then students come down to me. Since I am no longer in the department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, I no longer have any way of intervening in this decision other than pleading with the Dean. It seems that he has been persuaded by arguments that Greek should not continue at the third or fourth year.

I am not sure what constitutes a low enrollment, since last year I taught Homer to 10 students at both the graduate and undergraduate level. This year it looks like I will have 8 students in my Aeschylus course. Next year, given the numbers in second year Greek this year, it looks like a pretty healthy sized course as well.

I am wondering if you would be willing to write to Michael Carroll and advocate for maintaining senior Greek (third and fourth year at Wilfrid Laurier). It would help if you could also copy your letter to the Vice President Academic, Deb MacLatchy.

It doesn’t help that the present chair of Archaeology and Classical Studies is a North American archaeologist and has absolutely no desire to keep senior Greek alive. I don’t know if there is any point in copying him to the letter. I leave that to your discretion.

If I can provide you with any further information, please don’t hesitate to ask. And if you know anyone who could also write on behalf of this issue, please forward this email to them.

The Dean of Arts is Michael Carroll, and his email is mcarroll AT wlu.ca
The Vice President Academic is Deb MacLatchy and her mail is dmaclatchy AT wlu.ca

Professor Alan Sommerstein wrote to the Dean of Arts on the matter and received this reply:

Dear Professor Sommerstein,

I have passed on your comments to John Triggs, Chair of the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, to share with his colleagues.

It would appear, however, that you have been misinformed. I have checked with Professor Triggs and he tells me that no one – and certainly not the Departmental Council in ACS – has suggested that third and fourth year Greek courses be discontinued. And of course, both he and I are mystified over the suggestion that the Dean’s Office has made such a recommendation.

The Department Assembly (note: not the Dean’s Office) has recently recommended that a few courses be taken off the books (mainly because of retirements or because they no longer fit the program), but most of these are archaeology courses. It has also recommended that some low enrollment courses not be offered every year. This is a departmental decision but one that reflects a departmental concern with planning that I would be loath to overrule (and indeed will not be overruling).

… and Dr Fletcher’s gloss on the above:

Thanks Alan. You will get a message from the Dean saying that Greek is not being cut, but that it is just not on offer next year. This is technically speaking not the Dean’s decision, but the decision of the chair of archaeology, John Triggs. The Dean refuses to intervene, and insists that Greek is not being eliminated. My response is “then why is it not being offered?” We have the highest number of junior level students in Greek that we have ever had. We share courses with the university of Waterloo so that if we offer one semester of Greek they offer a corresponding semester.

There is something going on here that has absolutely nothing to do with enrollment, and more to do with politics. This is the first year in my 15 years at Laurier that a senior Greek course has not been offered.

It really is a travesty.

… and, of course, there are all those students who suddenly find themselves without options for senior Greek. What happens to their prospects, especially if they had plans on going to grad school? This goes beyond travesty — it is an incredibly evil strategy because I’m sure as everyone can see, you don’t offer Greek at ‘one end’, so students don’t see it as an option to begin with, don’t take it at all, and essentially the program dies within three years.

The email address which seems to be missing in all this is that of John Triggs: jtriggs AT wlu.ca

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