SPEC: Students Promoting Equity in Classics was formed by a group of Bryn Mawr undergraduate and graduate students from the departments of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies and Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology in late June. This summer we’ve completed a number of projects, and we’re excited to continue working this fall! Here’s what we’ve been up to:
Recruitment and the First-Year Experience
- We updated the Classics department’s recruitment strategy. Previously, flyers distributed at the Academic Fairs and Majors’ Teas assumed that the reader already knew they wanted to major in Classics, making them useless and intimidating to students new to Classics. We fixed this problem by creating a new “What is Classics?” pamphlet aimed directly at students without backgrounds in Latin or Classics from high school. This pamphlet contained:
- Answers from current students to questions new students frequently ask, such as “Why do you study classics?” “What is the department community like?”and “What can I do after studying classics at Bryn Mawr?”
- Approachable course descriptions for all classical culture courses written for the curious student, not the registrar.
- Which distribution requirements each classical culture course can fill.
- Introductions from the Elementary Greek and Latin TA’s, who provide essential support and guidance for students encountering a language for the first time.
- Introductions from and contact info for all the Major Representatives
- An introduction from and contact info for the FGLI Classicists Mentor
- We created the new position of “FGLI Classicists Mentor,” currently held by Olivia Hopewell, to be an additional source of support for all First Generation/Low Income students, both new and returning.
Diversifying Classics Colloquium
- We delivered a list of scholars of color to invite as colloquium speakers to Professor Edmonds. This semester’s digital format eliminates the need to consider transportation costs, enabling us to invite a group of diverse scholars from all over the globe.
- We are working with Professor Edmonds to develop a permanent “Speaker Selection Panel” made up of undergraduates and graduate students from the Classics and Archaeology departments to ensure that student input remains an important part of future colloquia. SPEC will also write guidelines for considering speakers to make sure that the push for diverse speakers does not end when we graduate.
- We developed a list of practices to implement in both digital colloquia and future in-person colloquia, including:
- Reminding speakers to prepare their talks for an audience comprised of first-years, undergraduate majors, graduate students, and faculty, rather than just the one or two specialists in the room.
- Shortening presentation time and lengthening discussion time to better adjust to the new digital format.
- Encouraging speakers to share abstracts of their talks a week before their presentations to allow attendees time to look up any unfamiliar concepts and be prepared for an active discussion period.
- Encouraging speakers to use clear handouts or powerpoints.
- Requiring that all non-English text on handouts or powerpoints be accompanied by a translation.
This fall we hope to continue updating our website, organize a digital conference for the spring, host some fun community gatherings for Bryn Mawr students, and welcome new members to our group!
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Emily Aguilar ’22 (she/her)