Undergraduate Program Goals & Assessment

The Department of Classical Studies at Duke studies the languages, literatures, material culture, and histories of the Greek, Roman, and late antique pasts. Students develop broad knowledge of these classical pasts while cultivating cross-cultural fluency and the intellectual skills and methodological strategies of critical inquiry central to this inherently inter-disciplinary field. Classical Studies encourages serious engagement with the complexity of the past and evaluation of its place in the present. The requirements of the two majors convey the disciplinary coherence of the field, yet are flexible enough to allow students to develop their own interests as they progress through their course of study.

The requirements of the two majors convey the disciplinary coherence of the field, yet are flexible enough to allow students to develop their own interests as they progress through their course of study.

Classical Studies majors are designed to:

  • (a) cultivate cross-cultural fluency by study of the languages, literatures, material culture, and history of Greco-Roman antiquity, from the Bronze Age through the Middle Ages, seeking to understand them in their Mediterranean, European, and Near Eastern contexts;
  • (b) engage students in close reading and detailed, contextual analysis of the texts and the material and visual culture of classical antiquity, skills that are not only essential to the field, but prepare students for a wide range of vocations (law, medicine, finance, and others), including graduate study and careers in academic research and teaching;
  • (c) foster serious engagement with the complexity of the classical pasts and, by extension, of other times and places, by familiarizing students with the history, methodologies, theory, and practice of the discipline. By studying the legacy of ancient ideas, ethics, and ideologies, the CLST majors promote an appreciation of their impact on contemporary society and stimulate critical reflection on the present.

The Department of Classical Studies offers two majors: Classical Languages (CLLA), which stresses the languages and literatures of Greece and Rome, and Classical Civilization (CLCIV), which focuses on their history and material culture. Both are designed to develop and hone the skills necessary for reading the remains and evaluating the legacy of Greco-Roman antiquity and for thinking and writing about it with clarity and independence of mind. The learning objectives for the department’s majors are consonant with the general philosophy of Trinity College, with the departmental goals outlined above, and with the more specific Statement of Purpose on Education in Classics set forth by the American Philological Association.

Goal 1: Classical Studies majors develop a comprehensive knowledge of disciplinary fundamentals through study of:

  • CLLA: Greek and Latin through the fourth semester and at least one course on Greek and/or Roman history / archaeology / culture
  • CLCIV: required courses in both Greek and Roman history, and at least 1 course in three of the four following categories (total of 3 courses): literature (in translation or in the original at the 100 level or above), art and archaeology, history, philosophy.

Goal 2: Majors will develop advanced-level proficiency in at least one ancient language, Latin or Greek (CLLA), or in at least one domain of classical civilization, Greek or Roman history, archaeology, etc. (CLCIV) through

  • (CLLA) advanced and concentrated study of one of the two ancient languages, taking (a) at least one graduate-level course and (b) at least three reading courses at or above the 100 level in their chosen language of focus (Latin or Greek), toward which the graduate-level course may count.
  • (CLCIV): advanced and concentrated study in one particular domain of Classical Studies, taking (a) at least one graduate-level course and (b) at least three CLST courses at or above the 100 level in their chosen area of focus (e.g. Literature, History, Archaeology, Philosophy), toward which the graduate-level course may count.

Goal 3: All majors in both CLLA and CLCIV will gain proficiency in writing in the discipline of Classical Studies.

  • Students will have opportunities in both CLLA and CLCIV courses to write research papers and shorter analytical pieces.
  • All majors wil take the Capstone course, which is coded W. 

Goal 4: Students will conduct research through required and encouraged course opportunities

  • Capstone (mandatory): All majors will take the Capstone, CLST 196, which offers the opportunity to gain a general, synoptic view of Classical Studies and its continuing influence.
  • A second R course: All majors will take either (a) a second R(esearch) course or else (b) a graduate course whose assignments include a research paper.
  • The Senior thesis is encouraged for all majors, and R Independent Studies are especially appropriate when a student is writing a Senior thesis.

Goal 5: Majors will be encouraged to pursue learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom ('Outside Experience')

  • Study abroad: Majors will be encouraged to participate in semester-long study-abroad programs, such as those offered by the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, ICCS in Sicily, the College Year in Athens, or a similar Duke-approved program, where they will encounter and study the remains of the Classical world first-hand in intensive settings.
  • Excavation experience: Majors will be encouraged to work on archaeological excavations during summers, a process facilitated by Duke's participation in the Consortium for Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology and the Teasley Fund.
  • Summer abroad: Majors who cannot spend a regular semester away from Duke, or who cannot attend an archaeological excavation, should participate in one of Duke's shorter summer programs, such as Duke in Rome and Duke in Greece, or else take specialized summer courses away from Duke in a subject related to their major (Latin, Greek, archaeology, digital humanities, etc.).
  • Hands-on work: Majors will be encouraged to make use of the University's considerable collections of special ancient materials , e.g. from the Nasher or the RBMSCL.
  • Majors will be encouraged to pursue other experiential learning opportunities, e.g. Museum Internships, Research Assistantships, or Peer Tutoring in ancient languages.

 

Classical Studies Dossier

Beginning in AY 08/09 all majors will be required to create and maintain a Classical Studies Portfolio in which they archive documents from their course of study--to be evaluated annually by a rotating committee. The Portfolio may include assigned papers and projects; extended, polished translations of Greek or Latin literature, or extended translation exercises into Latin or Greek; catalog entries about artifacts; annotated scholarly description of a "new" epigraphic or papyrological text; description of an early manuscript; labeled documentary photographs or drawings of material objects and archaeological sites; or the like. 

At the minimum, it must include the following.

Classical Languages - to be evaluated for command of grammar, coherence, attention to social, cultural, historical context, nuance

  • Translation from a class (goals 1, 2); majors will be required to submit at least one written translation--may derive from coursework--of a short selection (ca. 20 lines) of Latin or Greek, which should demonstrate advanced knowledge of the grammatical structure and rhetorical conventions of the Latin/Greek and the ways in which the Greek/Latin language and literature shaped and was shaped by social, cultural, and historical contexts.
  • Sight Translation Competition (goal 1); majors will undertake a brief sight-translation in their language of chosen focus, which should allow them to demonstrate basic command of grammar, morphology, and vocabulary. This competition will provide a prize for the best translation.
  • Capstone research paper (goals 2, 3, 4); all majors will be required to write a research paper as part of the Capstone experience, which should allow them to show broad, synthetic, evidence-based, command of ancient material within the scope of the course's focus.
  • Other research paper (goals 2, 3, 4); all majors will be required to write at least one other research paper, which should allow them to show in-depth, evidence-based command of a specialized subject of their own framing.
  • Written report of at least one Outside Experience (goals 3, 5); upon completion, students will be required to write a brief (two-page) essay assessing the program's impact on their development as classicists, specifically attending to the stated Mission and Goals of the department (to be submitted along with Questionnaire);
  • Senior Thesis, if applicable (goals 2, 3, 4); all majors will be encouraged to write a senior thesis, which will allow them to show in-depth knowledge of a particular subject within the displine, mastery of disciplinary methods of critical analysis, synthesis, evidence-based written argumentation.

Classical Civilizations - to be evaluated for command of historial, cultural, institutional, geographic, etc. context

  • Short Essay / Descriptive catalogue entry vel sim. (goals 1, 2); majors will be required to submit at least one brief essay--may derive from coursework--on a subject in the area of their chosen focus, which should allow them to demonstrate nuanced knowledge of the full richness of the material, social, literary, and cultural experience of the ancient world and the ways in which these cultural indices shaped and were shaped by their contexts.
  • Classical Knowledge Contest (goal 1); majors will enter a brief competition testing for general knowledge in their chosen area of focus, which should allow them to demonstrate basic command of important persons, events, trends, and phenomena. This contest will provide a prize for the widest and most accurate general knowledge.
  • Capstone Research Paper (goals 2, 3, 4); all majors will be required to write a research paper as part of the Capstone experience, which should allow them to show broad, synthetic, evidence-based, command of ancient material within the scope of the course's focus.
  • Other Research Paper (goals 2, 3, 4); all majors will be required to write at least one other research paper, which should allow them to show in-depth, evidence-based command of a specialized subject of their own framing.
  • Written report of at least one Outside Experience (goals 3, 5); upon completion, students will be required to write a brief (two-page) essay assessing the program's impact on their development as classicists, specifically attending to the stated Mission and Goals of the department (to be submitted along with Questionnaire);
  • Senior Thesis, if applicable (goals 2, 3, 4); all majors will be encouraged to write a senior thesis, which will allow them to show in-depth knowledge of a particular subject within the displine, mastery of disciplinary methods of critical analysis, synthesis, evidence-based written argumentation.

Assessing the Classical Studies Dossier

Classical Languages, Translations:
  • Prepared: To be evaluated on established departmental guidelines for an acceptable (i.e. middle of the road) in-class translation by a first-semester graduate student in CLST.
  • Sight Translation Competition: To be evaluated on established departmental guidelines for an acceptable (i.e. middle of the road) diagnostic exam of an incoming first-year graduate student in CLST.
Classical Civilizations, Short essay and quiz:
  • Short Essay: To be evaluated on established departmental guidelines for attention to evidence and cogency of argument typical of a writing sample submitted as part of the application to the graduate program.
  • Classical Knowledge Contest: To be evaluated on established departmental guidelines for first-semester graduate students' command of general information.
  • Research Papers (Capstone, Other Research Paper, Senior Thesis); To be evaluated on established departmental guidelines for undergraduate research papers: (a) Fluency of grammar and style; (b) coherence of argument, with sound structure and development of thought; (c) cogency of argument, with close critical attention to primary evidence, solid grasp of secondary scholarship, and engaged participation in critical dialogue with and argumentation from both.
  • Outside Experience: In consultation with the Study Abroad office we shall draft and circulate a questionnaire, to be submitted with Report on Outside Experience, which will prompt students to reflect on specific ways in which the outside experience contributed to their education with regard to departmental goals.
Findings and Feedback

All evaluations of dossiers, which are reviewed in the Spring semester, will be discussed at the Department's annual late summer retreat so as to help shape content and approaches of courses.

Timeline
  • All graduating majors will be required to submit the following to their dossiers
  • CLLA: prepared translation
  • CLLA: Translation Competition
  • CLCIV: Short Essay
  • CLCIV: Classical Knowledge Contest
  • Capstone Research Paper
  • Other Research Paper
  • 'Outside experience' report, if relevant
  • Senior Thesis, if relevant 
Benchmarks

We hope to meet the following benchmarks by S12.

  • Translations: 20% in highest category, Excellent; 50% Good; 20% Poor; 10% Marginal
  • Quizzes: 20% in highest category, Excellent; 50% Good; 20% Poor; 10% Marginal
  • Essays: 20% in highest category, Excellent; 50% Good; 20% Poor; 10% Marginal
  • Capstone Paper, Other Research Paper, Senior Thesis: 20% in highest category, Excellent; 50% Good; 20% Poor; 10% Marginal
  • 'Outside' Experience: 30% of students participating in class of 09, 60% by class of 12
  • Senior Thesis: 10% of students participating in class of 09, 50% by class of 12
Feedback
  • Languages: Annual report by Dossier Review Committee to department on state of Sight and Prepared translations; other feedback to be given by judges of the Sight Translation Competition. Action where necessary to be discussed and formulated by department in conjunction with Curriculum Committee and Latin and Greek instructors.
  • Essay / Basic info: Annual report by Dossier Review Committee to department on state of Short Essays and Brief Quizzes, with supplemental information provided by judges of Classical Knowledge Contest. Action where necessary to be discussed and formulated by department in conjunction with Curriculum Committee and CLST survey instructors.
  • Research: Annual report by Dossier Review Committee to department on state of capstone paper and other research papers. Action where necessary to be discussed and formulated by department in conjunction with Curriculum Committee and Capstone instructor(s), and fed into design of Senior Thesis Course, which we aim to have sufficient critical mass to roll out in 2012.
  • Outside Experience: Annual report by Dossier Review Committee to department on state of Outside Experiences. DUS and Asst to create web page highlighting students' 'outside experiences', to foster increased participation; students' input encouraged as much as possible. Student accomplishments will also be listed in the departmental newsletter Pheme.