The department of classics is under threat, as the smallest department in the university. In 2018, the department has 20 majors and 21 minors.
The department teaches Greek and Latin languages, along with courses about classical civilization. The university has considered dismantling the department and sending its faculty to teach in other programs.
Deborah Lyons, associate professor of Greek, says the university has become more stringent on its minimums for small classes.
“There is no question that they would be happier if we increased engagement or quit teaching Greek altogether,” Lyons said.
Lyons recognizes the importance of a strong classics department, especially on the curriculum at a public ivy like Miami.
Miami has fewer faculty in their classics department than any other original public ivy, besides the University of Vermont. The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill has over twice the amount of faculty members in its program than Miami does.
“Every ivy league school has a classics department,” Lyons said. “Many of which are populated and well-funded.”
The program has implemented a few techniques to try and increase their numbers. They encourage students to consider thematic sequences and second-majors in the classics, especially if those students are interested in attending graduate school.
The department has increased the sizes of their Miami Plan classes, such as Classical Mythology to offset the smaller number of students studying classical languages. In 2018, the number of students enrolled in one of their foundation courses is 452.
In addition, the department often shares the teaching of advanced Greek and Latin with students and faculty from Ohio University. They connect online through video chat and conduct class jointly.
Last year, a faculty member who taught beginner-level Greek left the university. The department was not allowed to fill the empty position due to budget restraints
Students who began taking Greek last semester were able to continue their studies in the language, but beginner-level Greek language courses were not offered this semester. The department hopes to begin offering the entry-level courses again in Fall 2019.