- The Status of Modern Greek Studies in Higher Education in Canada, the United States and the United KingdomPreface
I initially intended this to be a special issue, not just a special section in an issue, but my call for papers did not elicit the flood of proposals which I had anticipated. My great expectations, as well as my call for papers, were prompted by two separate events: (1) the pending (back on July 14, 2004) cessation of the undergraduate program in Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom; and (2) the declining numbers of people attending the joint MLA-MGSA sessions at the annual convention of the Modern Languages Association in recent years. My call for papers read as follows:
I would like to convene a panel on the topic of the status of Modern Greek Studies in higher education in English-speaking countries (mainly U.S.A., U.K., Canada, and Australia) at the MGSA Symposium in Chicago on 3–5 November 2005. I am interested in research papers that 1) will give a concise, accurate historical overview of this field's interdisciplinary development in these countries, and, at the same time, 2) will provide an informed opinion about the present and future of Modern Greek Studies in these countries based on a [statistical] analysis of a wide range of data—from the rising/declining number of students enrolled in classes of Modern Greek offered by major academic institutions to the rising/declining number of B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. candidates in Modern Greek (or in other fields with a strong Modern Greek component) including the job placement record of these graduates. I am not seeking brief opinion papers as a prelude to a roundtable discussion. Brief opinion papers or statements do not yield the data necessary for the writing of substantial papers that could be considered for publication in the Journal of Modern Greek Studies. However, I plan to have some discussion among the panelists and to give the audience time to respond with comments or questions.
My call for papers was forwarded to the subscribers of the MGSA-List electronically—of which 117 were members of the MGSA—and to an additional 50 academics by postal mail and personal email. Eleven people responded to my call for papers. Seven of the eleven people who acknowledged receipt of my call for papers, did not submit a proposal by the designated deadline. They gave me one or more of the following reasons for their inability to participate: Their health or workload prevented them from carrying out a research project on this topic in a timely fashion; their departments would not cover the international travel costs necessary for their participation on this panel; their programs did not offer any graduate degrees in Modern Greek Studies, making it impossible for them to gather statistical data needed for a more comprehensive case study; their training was not in statistics; the responsibility for the gathering of data (like those listed in my postscript) should be placed with the MGSA, not with the independent researchers. One of them warned me that my anticipated panel would not materialize for some of the above reasons, and suggested that it would be pointless for me to convene such a panel in 2005 because of the dearth in the available data.
Only four people submitted specific research projects to me by the requested deadline. These four were Tom Gallant (York University), Martha Klironomos (San Francisco State University), Mary Pittas-Herschback (University of Maryland), and Dimitris Tziovas (University of Birmingham). I proceeded to submit my proposal for a pre-organized panel of four panelists to the MGSA Executive Director on November 27, 2004. My proposal underwent blind peer review by the Symposium Program [End Page 138] Committee and it was approved on February 20, 2005. The panel convened at the MGSA Symposium in Chicago on November 5, 2005, and this session was attended by 86 people. Following the Symposium, the four panelists submitted their papers to me (in my capacity as editor of the Journal of Modern Greek Studies) for peer review and publication consideration. Each of these...