Classics Faculty to Join Department of History

Beginning in fall 2019, Duquesne will merge the University’s classics faculty and offerings with the Department of History. The addition of classics faculty—whose purview includes Greek, Roman, early-Christian and medieval studies—to the history department expands the breadth of options and enriches potential collaborations for faculty and students alike. 

The merger will eliminate the Department of Classics as it exists. Many universities have adopted a similar approach to preserve opportunities in a climate of wavering student interest and the necessity for mindful stewardship of resources. Fortunately, Duquesne’s classics faculty members have embraced creative thinking with their colleagues across the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts and others at the University to help develop this plan.

“The strength of our classics curriculum, and its possible growth within history in particular, made this merger attractive,” said Dr. Sarah Alison Miller, associate professor and chair of classics at Duquesne. “Inasmuch as classics is an inherently interdisciplinary field of study, we look forward to working with multiple departments and programs including history, theology, philosophy, modern languages, and women’s and gender studies.

Classes in both Latin and Greek will remain available to undergraduate and graduate students. Students will have the option to major in classical civilizations in place of majors in Greek and Latin, neither of which will be offered anymore. For graduate students, classics faculty will continue to provide assistance in Latin or Greek as their research and doctoral dissertations require.

“That this restructuring will mean the loss a free-standing, founding department and a reduction in Greek and Latin offerings at Duquesne is unfortunate,” Miller said. “We are certainly, however, committed to utilizing these changes to benefit our students.”

“Across the campus, Duquesne must be both creative and flexible as we adapt in the face of opportunities and challenges,” added University Provost Dr. David Dausey. “We are fortunate to have strong scholars with whom to think broadly as we cultivate ways to deliver a deep and vital education to students, balancing ideals and priorities with the ongoing operation of the University and the best interests of our students.”

History Chair Dr. Jay Dwyer said that the department was the logical home for relocating the classics department since it cross-listed more of its undergraduate courses with history than any other department at Duquesne.

“In addition to keeping the undergraduate major in classical civilization at Duquesne, we are excited about the new opportunity of offering graduate-level courses in classics within the history department’s MA program,” Dwyer said. “Each year the history department receives a small number of applications from students interested in studying ancient history at the graduate level. Since the department lacks specialists in ancient history, and because the classics department only offered a B.A. degree, most of those applicants matriculated to other institutions. Now, however, with the addition of classics faculty to the history department, our graduate program will soon provide graduate courses in classical civilization, which in the future will enable Duquesne to add those graduate students to one of its leading M.A. programs.”