Though it’s only a few short weeks since the 2019 conference, GSIC is already hard at work planning our programming for the next conference. Part of this is inspiration from the amazing papers and panels at the last conference, but another part is inspired by some of the lacunae noted in the field by other graduate students.
Inclusivity and accessibility have been a focus of GSIC, but we want to double down on our efforts in response to the anonymous graduate student letter published with SCS in March. This letter has received significant pushback, much of which is based on goal #7 listed near the end of the letter, “Encourage a reasonable retirement age for professors (i.e., 65).” While arguments against this point are extraordinarily important and valid, we are worried that the furor caused by this one goal has distracted from many of the other important points. However, as graduate students ourselves, we’re not in positions where we can enact many of the policy changes requested. What we can do is help to address some of the issues noted early on in the letter: inclusivity, especially in syllabus design and as participants who are not often empowered to spearhead changes, and exploring non-academic/alt-ac career options.
We want our panel to address “How to Be a Scholar in Public,” a broad sentence that touches on aspects of public humanities and alt-ac careers. Many of our previous panels (and workshops) and much of the other material made available by CAMWS are centered on academic careers and an academic audience. We want our 2020 panel to focus on working outside of academia, either with a non-academic audience or in a non-academic career. We’re hopeful that this will provide information on opportunities that many CAMWS grad students haven’t been previously exposed to and provide a fuller picture of life after classics grad school. This panel will be organized by me (E.L. Meszaros).
Our workshop will be a pedagogy workshop that focuses on accessibility as it relates to course/syllabus design as well as the principles of Universal Design. Since this is a graduate student-centered workshop, we’re hoping to address how grad students can interact with syllabus design and accessibility, especially given our sometimes limited ability to modify syllabi or to “express political positions in an environment that has never offered [us] institutional protection to do so.” The workshop will be organized by GSIC member and former chair Sarah Keith.
We’d also like to work on some general aspects of our programming. All of the speakers we worked with during our 2019 programming were women, but we think that’s not enough. We’d like to center women of color in our programming for next year (and, like, all years going forward). We have some idea of speakers we’d like to invite, but if you have suggestions (or are interested yourself) please let us know!
We are also interested in increasing accessibility to our events. Our first priority is ensuring that the physical space for our programming is accessible — both the individual rooms but also the institution itself. Part of this will be working with the hosting institution and local individuals to ensure that access to the location is accessible, especially for grad students who may be staying off-site. We are also, however, looking at options for live-streaming our events to allow students who could not afford to attend or who are otherwise unable to be there in person the opportunity to be a part of our events.
We’re looking forward to the 2020 annual meeting and to this programming focused on accessibility and alt-ac options, and we’re hopeful that this will help contribute to a better graduate student environment.