The Outreach Program in Classics at the University of Cincinnati began with a pilot season in 2008 and is now entering its tenth year with a wide and impactful reach throughout the Cincinnati community.
Our program annually organizes around 10-15 high quality, interactive, student-centered educational modules on various aspects of antiquity from Gladiators to Pompeii, the Roman Army to Pot Sherds. Each lesson is developed by one of our talented PhD students in close connection with faculty mentors on the departmental Outreach Committee who assist in selection of materials and the creation of interactive presentations. We then advertise this annually changing menu of programming to local and regional school districts and other organizations who use a central portal to request whichever topic best suits their curricular needs and or members’ interest. Each individual lesson is then further tailored to the specific needs of the requester, taking into account age, class-size, previous knowledge of antiquity, and any other factors that the requester feels is important to ensure an engaging and productive interaction.
Our programs, moreover, are entirely free to the requesting school or organization. This means – and this is crucial – that there is no barrier to entry for school systems or organizations with less robust funding for enrichment activities; in fact, we view our programming as helping such school systems or organizations diversify their curricular offerings and enrich their programming. Our commitment to continuing to sponsor (and expand!) this free programming reflects our wider commitment to being an active partner with the diverse Cincinnati community and to open up important dialogues about Classics and the ancient world with community members at all ages and from all backgrounds.
Over the course of our 10 years running this Outreach Program, we have conducted over 700 presentations and reached over 16,000 members of the Cincinnati community. And we are only getting started.
We are therefore delighted to be the recipient of the 2018 Outreach Award from the national organization the Society for Classical Studies. Their recognition of our home-grown program will help its visibility and ensure its growth for the next ten years.
FROM THE SCS AWARDS COMMITTEE:
The Classics Outreach Program of the University of Cincinnati
The Outreach Prize Committee is very happy to award the 2018 SCS Outreach Prize to the University of Cincinnati’s Classics Outreach Program.
For a decade now, the Classics Outreach Program has been taking the “Classics for All” mission to heart. In close consultation with faculty members who serve as mentors, Cincinnati Classics graduate students have been meeting with a wide variety of local audiences and sharing with them the wonders of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Ancient Mediterranean more broadly.
Driven by their love of teaching and passion for the material, the members of the Outreach Program have devoted their time and energy to bringing the classical world in all its complexity to many who would not otherwise have such a chance to explore them: students in elementary, middle, and high schools (private and public; suburban and inner-city); community and youth centers; and the elderly in retirement communities and nursing homes. UC’s Outreach Program has thus helped cultivate interest in classical culture amongst a broad range of constituents.
A typical year in the program involves upward of 75 presentations to an average of 2,000 members of the community on topics ranging from gladiators, Pompeii, the Roman army, pot sherds, women in the Odyssey, to the classical roots of the city of Cincinnati. Topics are chosen in close consultation with requesters from the community to make sure that particular desiderata are met.
We are deeply impressed by UC Classics’ Outreach Program and their continued dedication, not just to sharing their passion for the classical world, but to using it as a vehicle for developing relationships with audiences outside of the Ivory Tower. The sheer diversity of those audiences commends the program to us especially, as do its reach, the effort and time involved in maintaining the program, and the continued fostering of an ethos of service in the profession. Its community-mindedness and warm engagement with non-elite and non-traditional audiences offers a noteworthy model for academe’s interaction with the public.
The Cincinnati Program adopts an energetic and personalized approach to creating dialogue with the local community at large. Highlighting the intrinsic value of studying antiquity is fundamental in their initiatives. Of equal importance are the exchanges and connections that the program makes possible. They take care to make every interaction dialogic, thereby recognizing that this is a two-way exchange, and enriching for all involved.
For these reasons and more we are, once again, very pleased to award the 2018 SCS Outreach Prize to the University of Cincinnati’s Classics Outreach Program.
Daniel Harris-McCoy, Chair