The large and diverse national faculty within Sunoikisis permits us to broaden and deepen our Classics curriculum, both in literature and in archaeology.
The curricular elements of Sunoikisis expose our students to a wider range of subject material and faculty than would be possible otherwise. Indeed, the president of an elite northeastern college commented in October 2004 that the Sunoikisis program surpasses programs offered by large institutions in that the collaborative nature unusually enriches it in terms of content and methodological approach. The program, by providing a range and quality of opportunities for majors, prepares students who choose to continue their training in graduate school to compete with graduates from the leading research universities in the country.
The cycle of Sunoikisis inter-institutional, team-taught literature courses, in which students and faculty throughout the country participate, make creative use of technology to connect institutions. The class sessions are synchronous, and student attendance and participation are required. These sessions enable students to be exposed to a range of experts in the field. In addition, students engage in asynchronous discussion with one another outside of “class” time. Finally, students on each campus meet separately with their own professor, to go over textual and other issues.
Sunoikisis faculty gather each June to engage in seminars to develop these courses.
Sunoikisis students may participate in the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. This symposium provides our students the opportunity to present their advanced research at a national professional meeting and to interact with their peers and faculty.
Skills required to successfully negotiate the synchronous and asynchronous sessions have a direct application to various careers outside of Classics, for example in business, medicine, law. As our global environment becomes more and more the norm, effective workers must be able to function within multi-layered virtual offices. A recent Latin major at Southwestern, now an accountant with a leading firm, reports that skills learned during Sunoikisis courses placed him well ahead of his contemporaries in terms of abilities to work with colleagues located in remote offices.
Southwestern’s engagement in Sunoikisis is yielding new collaborative and interdisciplinary paradigms essential for liberal arts learning in the 21st century.
History of Sunoikisis
With generous funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sunoikisis began in 1995 as a program of the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS). Southwestern University was a founding member. The ACS Technology Center, established in 1999 at Southwestern University, provided the administrative infrastructure. Later, under NITLE, the program became national. Since the summer of 2009, the Center for Hellenic Studies has provided administrative, logistical, and financial support.
1999 marked the first season of Sunoikisis student and faculty participation in an excavation in southwestern Turkey. In the fall of 2000, Sunoikisis began offering inter-institutional literature courses, with some 25 students enrolled in “The Literature of the Early Empire.” The following year Sunoikisis phased in Greek literature, beginning with Greek Lyric Poetry. In 2003, Sunoikisis initiated its annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.