Concerns over missing class
The decision to not offer a fourth-year Greek language class has spurred a letter-writing campaign from concerned faculty members in the classical studies and archaeology department. Greek 491, an independent study course in the language, will not be offered during next year’s winter semester.
“I know it’s important for students who want to go to graduate school,” Judith Fletcher, who encouraged colleagues in classical studies at other universities to write to Laurier’s department and the faculty of arts, explained. “It’s important that they are able to show that they can read the language.” She added that the decision was especially odd since lower-level Greek language courses were at capacity this year.
John Triggs, chair of the archaeology and classical studies department pointed to few students taking the courses and a lack of resources to the decision. “We’re talking about six WLU students in the last two years have enroled in that course each year,” he said. “Because of low staffing and high student enrolment, that course, and only that course, has been canceled.”
“In order to maintain the vitality of the program, and the viability of the program for students, we have to look at the courses we offer,” he added. “Low-enrolment courses unfortunately are sometimes necessary to cancel in order to offer courses that will get more students through the program.” He made clear that the course was not being removed permanently.
The course is run in conjunction with the University of Waterloo (UW), which collaborates with Laurier to offer certain classical studies and language courses. The arrangement between the two universities sees undergraduate and graduate students take one half-credit at Laurier and one at UW for a complete credit course equivalent. Greek 491 is offered to UW students and along with its counterpart course as part of the MA in ancient Mediterranean cultures they offer.
Fletcher said her colleagues at UW were depending on the course offered next year. “They were quite shocked that it wasn’t going to run,” she said, adding that UW was still trying to convince Laurier to offer the course. “It could really throw the spanner into the works in terms of the MA, they need the course for the MA program.”
Third-year near-Eastern, classical studies and archaeology student Jessica Reece has taken the intermediate Greek courses offered between Laurier and UW. “It doesn’t surprise me in the least,” she said of an upper-year Greek course being cut. “I’ve been in the classes – it’s more for your benefit after second year.”
Fletcher said that although she sympathizes with the decisions the department is being forced to make due to resource shortages, cutting this course could have an impact on the university’s reputation. “It’s too bad, but if you are using a dollar-and-cent rationale, then it makes sense. If you’re thinking about the reputation of the institution and the continuance of the humanities then it’s not a sensible solution.”