Learning Classics Together: Sunoikisis

April 7, 2011

I’m at a meeting of GLCA: the Great Lakes Colleges Association, a consortium of thirteen colleges that work together to improve the liberal arts and sciences education we offer. This afternoon, the Deans and Presidents are listening to a presentation by Kenny Morrell, Associate Professor of Greek and Roman Studies at Rhodes College.  Kenny is telling us about Sunoikisis.  Here’s the description from the web:

Sunoikisis is a national consortium of Classics programs. The curricular elements within Sunoikisis include inter-institutional collaborative courses, excavations, undergraduate research symposia, and faculty development seminars. The Center for Hellenic Studies provides the administrative and technological support for Sunoikisis.

Each semester Sunoikisis offers one Greek course and one Latin course, offered in cycles. The Sunoikisis faculty engage in seminars each June to develop these courses.

The cycle of Sunoikisis inter-institutional, team-taught literature courses makes creative use of technology to connect institutions. The use of video conferencing, chat, and online course management software enable the participation of students and faculty from throughout the country.

Each course consists of several elements: readings, online discussion, online common session, and meeting with a campus tutor. Readings and asynchronous online discussion precede and prepare for the weekly online common session. Local faculty and students also arrange meetings on individual campuses. Learn more about Sunoikisis at http://sunoikisis.org.

What is especially fascinating to the Deans and Presidents who are gathered here is the tension between (1) what a good idea this is in principle, and (but) (2) the multiple, practical difficulties that the many individual institutions working together under this umbrella put in the way of realizing the potential — mostly inadvertently.


About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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