Further update – March 2012

Posted 22/03/2012 by supportclassicsatrhul
Categories: Uncategorized

I am very pleased to report that the threat of redundancies in Classics at Royal Holloway has now been lifted.  Since November, one member of staff has accepted a post elsewhere, one has decided to go part-time for personal reasons and one has accepted a secondment to a position in Athens for at least two years from January 2013.  Student applications remain strong at all levels, both undergraduate and postgraduate.  The Department is set to continue as an independent Department, not part of a School with History.

With renewed thanks to all our supporters,

Anne Sheppard

22 March 2012

Good news – important update on discussions with the College!

Posted 03/11/2011 by supportclassicsatrhul
Categories: Uncategorized

It has now been decided that no reduction in staff numbers will take place until the end of the academic year 2013-14.  The latest proposal from the College is for 2 posts to be lost at the end of that year and 2 more at the end of 2014-15.  If we recruit good numbers of students with AAB or above at A level for 2012 and our plans to increase our numbers of Master’s students, both for our MA programmes and for our new MRes programmes, are successful, the proposal for a reduction in staff numbers is likely to be reviewed.  Validation of our two MRes degrees, one in Rhetoric and one in Classical Reception, is in train.

We have been asked to embark on discussions with the History Department about moving towards the formation of a School of History and Classics and the Academic Board has approved a move of the 1.5 modern Philosophy staff to the Department of Politics and International Relations, but discussion continues over the placing of the member of staff who teaches Ancient Philosophy.  A move of our Research Professor to the Department of English remains part of the overall ‘restructuring’ plan.

We are delighted that we have been given the opportunity to deliver on our plans for strong undergraduate and postgraduate recruitment and very grateful to all our supporters who have helped us reach this point.

Anne Sheppard

Head of Department

3 November 2011

Update on progress – revised College proposals

Posted 03/10/2011 by supportclassicsatrhul
Categories: Uncategorized

In response to the campaign to save Classics at Royal Holloway, and to the proposals put forward by the Department, the College has made some revisions to its proposals for the future of Classics.  In particular the BA Classics is to be retained and the importance of advanced teaching in classical languages has been explicitly recognised.  A reduction of staff numbers is still proposed, but it would be a loss of 4 posts rather than 6.   The revised proposal for staff numbers is based on an assumption that we will be admitting 50 undergraduates for our classical degree programmes.  The merger with History is also still proposed but the suggestion now is that there would be a ‘School of History and Classics’ with a ‘subject leader’ for Classics.  The proposal to move the Philosophy staff, including the Ancient Philosophy post, to the Department of Politics and International Relations has not been changed, nor has the proposal to move our Research Professor entirely to the Department of English.

Discussions within the College continue, and we hope for further progress.  We are very pleased that we can continue to welcome applications through UCAS for 2012 for ALL our current degree programmes.

Anne Sheppard

Head of Department

3 October 2011

Latest update on 2011 Admissions

Posted 22/08/2011 by supportclassicsatrhul
Categories: Uncategorized

Following the publication of A-level results on 18 August, the Department has exceeded its target for HEU (Home and EU) undergraduates in Classical subjects. Our overall target of 85 was supposed to be made up of 67 FTE undergraduates in Classical subjects and 18 in Philosophy. On current figures (as of Tuesday 30 August) we are expecting 75.5 FTE undergraduates in Classical subjects (including 11 for BA Classics) and 19.5 FTE in Philosophy. We are also above target for overseas undergraduate numbers. We are currently the only Department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to have exceeded our targets for both HEU and overseas undergraduates. The only other Department in the College which is in this position is the School of Management.

Updated outline of the Department’s response to issues raised by the College

Posted 22/08/2011 by supportclassicsatrhul
Categories: departmental responses

1.  Departmental finance.  The Department currently has high salary costs because 7 out of 13 Classics staff are Professors.  We believe that the right way forward is not to make cuts in staff costs but to increase income. We have plans to increase our numbers of MA students from Greece and other Mediterranean countries and to set up two MRes degrees, one in Rhetoric and one in Reception, which will appeal to new markets both at home and overseas.  More generally, we are working to raise our international profile still higher so as to attract more overseas students.  We also plan to develop a programme of Continuing Professional Development for school teachers which will not only bring us some further income but also secure our future undergraduate recruitment.

 2.  Admissions.  The College’s proposal that we reduce Home and EU undergraduate student numbers by approximately half appears to be based on two things:  our tendency in recent years to admit students through Clearing, and a belief that if students have to pay fees of £9000 per year they are unlikely to apply to a Classics Department.  However there are good grounds for believing that Classics will continue to recruit very strongly in the new world of HE funding.  This year our applications have surged by 35% (compared to a national rise of 1.3%) and we have recruited comfortably above target.

3.  The National Student Survey.  The College has noted that last year we were in the third quartile of Classics Departments for overall student satisfaction, with a score of 87%.   All this shows is that Classics Departments as a group have very high levels of student satisfaction.  Our overall score in 2010 was in fact the highest in the Arts Faculty at Royal Holloway, and we had an ‘upper quartile’ score of 94% for ‘the teaching on my course’.  In 2011 our score for overall student satisfaction was 90%, the median score for Classics Departments and above the score for the College overall (87%).

4.  Research quality.  We recognise that we performed less well than we had hoped to do in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.  This was largely due to the fact that during the assessment period staff were required by the College to spend a great deal of time writing courses for the University of London External Degree in Classical Studies.  The College has acknowledged that we are on track to do much better in the Research Excellence Framework in 2013-14.

Anne Sheppard

Head of Department

30 August 2011


Posted 17/08/2011 by edithhall
Categories: Uncategorized

‘I believe that a training in classics is one of the best, if not the best, that a young mind can have. It is a universal spanner for so many other languages, but it also gives young people access not just to London’s Roman history, but to an understanding of world history.

I want London to stay at the forefront of teaching and research in this area and I trust the University of London will continue to offer courses in this field.’


Posted 15/08/2011 by edithhall
Categories: Uncategorized

Actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club, Stephen Fry writes in support of the Campaign:

“It grieves me beyond measure to think that Royal Holloway believes it can dispense with its Classics and Philosophy departments and still claim status as a significant institution of higher learning. If it wants to change from education to vocation, then fine. But let no one be surprised when generation after generation emerge like robots, dedicated and adapted to one set of tools, while the liberating power of an educated mind, able to turn itself to any enquiry and master any discipline is denied them. You might as well tell the world that the Dorchester has decided against cooking and will be dispensing vitamin tablets to all its guests from now on. Fatuous, tragic, the falsest of false economies. I can hear the Houyhnhnms’ dying shivers as the Yahoos surge forward, knuckles grazing the ground.”


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