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Message from Aleydis Van de Moortel

Aleydis Van de MoortelThe 2017-2018 academic year was another excellent year for our department. Upon her retirement, Distinguished Professor Susan Martin was honored with the prestigious Lorayne Lester Prize of the College of Arts and Sciences, named for a celebrated former dean of the college. Robert Sklenář was promoted to full professor and Jessica Westerhold to senior lecturer. Assistant Professor Justin Arft spent the year on research leave with a Fellowship from the UT Humanities Center and was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University. Senior Lecturer Theodora Kopestonsky spent an educational leave in Greece during spring 2018, funded by a prestigious national Kress fellowship. Lecturer Thomas Rose created our first-ever study-abroad program in Greece in summer 2018. He and his wife, Adrienne Rose, took 11 UT students on a three-week tour of travel and study. Students raved about the experience. We certainly want to continue this program in the future. Our two archaeological field projects in Morocco and Greece attracted several students this summer. Both projects received generous funding from outside sources and UT. In 2019, Professor Collins-Elliott will start a five-year program of excavations in Morocco.

We are blessed with faculty who are highly dedicated teachers as well as productive researchers. This fall, we saw enrollments increase by 11 percent. Lower division Latin is especially in demand – enrollments increased 20 percent last year, and again 41 percent this fall. We are overjoyed to see this renewed appreciation among UT students of the benefits of studying these ancient languages and classics in general. Professor Westerhold continued to offer her summer course in Koinè Greek (the Greek of the New Testament), and Professor Collins-Elliott taught his new course on Pompeii.

At the graduate level, our Mediterranean Archaeology program, housed within the UT Department of Anthropology, is doing well. We were able to recruit a bright new graduate student, Jonathan Miller, who will work on Etruscan archaeology with Professor Collins-Elliott. PhD student Kaitlyn Stiles gave a well-received paper at the national conference of the Archaeological Institute of America at Boston on her research of a Mycenaean cemetery in Greece. We continue to encourage undergraduate research in our department as well. In February 2018, John Friend and Susan Martin together with our student committee organized the Seventh Tennessee Undergraduate Classics Research Conference, which attracted a record 32 student speakers from UT and across North America.

We again have been very active spreading the good word about the Department of Classics at UT. In October 2017, Professor Chris Craig organized a successful Latin Day XXXVI, which drew 431 middle and high school students from East and Middle Tennessee. Our faculty and students also participated in various recruitment events on and off campus. Our collection of high-quality Roman armor, donated by Lynn Rogers, continues to be a big draw at these events. We are expanding our online outreach this fall, as Professor Arft welcomes classics majors Alanna Heatherly and Aimée Lafon as our new social media ambassadors. They invite you all to like us on Facebook so you can follow us for news and announcements.

Last spring we said goodbye to two lecturers. Thomas Rose accepted a tenure-track position at Randolph Macon College in Virginia. Taylor Coughlan took a position at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to be with his future wife. We thank them for their excellent work in our department. Their successors are Reema Habib and Dylan Bloy, two scholars who bring expertise in Classical languages and archaeology. In closing, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who have made the past year a great success.

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