Keep Philology in Patras!
The department of Greek Philology in a major Greek University threatened with relocation
The financial crisis officially enters Greek academia as governmental planning merges Humanities departments of the University of Patras (the 3rd largest university of the country) with the University of Peloponnese (one of the newest universities, founded six years ago and scattered through several towns of Peloponnese).
The first Department to be affected is claimed to be Greek Philology which includes the Divisions of Classics, Byzantine & Modern Greek Literature and Linguistics. What is particularly striking is the fact that there are plans for relocating an already established and internationally recognised department of a well-developed University to a newly founded (2002) department, with no established academic reputation, lacking a coherent center (unlike Patras), and which is based in a geographically remote area, 280 kilometres away from Patras.
The relocation will affect 24 permanent faculty members and 1,300 students, and will be a major blow to the Philology Department as well as the University of Patras itself— a top-tier institution, maintaining a leading role in the last fifteen years in the Humanities and the Sciences, and with demonstrated international acclaim.
The results of the recent External Evaluation in early 2012 are outstanding, ranking the Department of Philology first in the country. The Department hosts unique institutions among Greek academia such as the Centre for the Study of Myth and Religion in Greek and Roman antiquity (managed by Classics), the Laboratory for the Study of Modern Greek Dialects (managed by Linguistics)— and which is the sole research body in the country documenting and studying varieties of Greek from a modern linguistics perspective— and the Laboratory of Paleography (managed by Byzantine and Modern Greek studies). These laboratories are dedicated to documentation and analysis of valuable and, to date, largely undocumented material in all areas of Greek, from antiquity to modern times. Faculty is actively engaged is cutting edge research, and has won numerous national and international awards, and highly competitive grants, such as Thales, Aristeia, etc.
The faculty members maintain research collaborations with Universities across the globe (e.g. Bologna, Cambridge, Harvard, UCL, Leiden, McGill, Sorbonne, Ohio State, Pisa, UQAM, etc.) and, apart from its undergraduate student cohort, it hosts 70 postgraduate students (both MA and PhD) most of which are externally sponsored. The Department is also the only Philology department in the country that promotes interdisciplinary research by securing collaborations with faculty in natural sciences, health sciences and engineering, thus also fostering collegiality and social cohesion within the University.
There is, therefore, no scientific basis for downgrading a top-tier and well-established department. Instead, a rational restructuring must support the department of Philology at the University of Patras— as the external evaluation committee urges—, and use it as the foundation for eventual mergers.
The Greek Ministry of Education will announce their final decisions on December 15th 2012. If you would like to support Greek Philology (Linguists, Byzantine & Modern Greek Literature and Classics) in their struggle against academic deprivation, please sign this petition.