Overview and History
Sunoikisis is a national consortium of Classics programs. Since 1999, Sunoikisis has yielded new collaborative and interdisciplinary paradigms of learning in the liberal arts for the 21st century.
“Sunoikisis” comes from Thucydides (3.3.1) in reference to the alliance formed by the cities of Lesbos (Methymna excluded) in their revolt against the Athenian empire in 428 B.C.E. Likewise, this collaborative program seeks to develop a set of common goals and achieve a degree of success and prominence that goes beyond the capacity of a single program.
Sunoikisis enables students and faculty at participating institutions to benefit from opportunities normally available only at large research institutions, while maintaining the advantages of a small liberal arts learning environment. The curricular elements within Sunoikisis include inter-institutional collaborative courses, excavations, internships, travel study, undergraduate research symposia, and faculty development seminars.
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.
For more information about how Sunoikisis is impacting education in classical studies, read papers by current Sunoikisis faculty such as:
- “Moving toward a (Responsible) Hybrid/Online Greek Major” (2014 APA Panel)
- “Adapting Content from a Massive Open Online Course to a Liberal Arts Setting” (The Academic Commons 2014)
- “Assessing Learning Outcomes Online: A longitudinal, collaborative, inter-institutional case study” (2015 SCS Panel, “Demystifying Assessment”)
Additional resources include “Collaborative Classics: Technology and the Small Liberal Arts College” by Rebecca Frost Davis (2004); “Chaos and in the New Academy” by Susan Frost and Aimee Pozorski (2006); and a short video of Kenny Morrell talking about experimentation and innovation in Sunoikisis courses (2014).
In April of 1995, faculty members from the institutions of the Associated Colleges of the South met at Rhodes College to discuss a range of challenges facing small classics programs at liberal arts colleges. These initial conversations led to a series of proposals to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which enabled us to create an alliance, Sunoikisis, with the primary goals of enhancing the range and quality of academic opportunities for students and supporting the scholarly development of the faculty members.
Early projects included the formation of a partnership with Bilkent University in Ankara to excavate the mound of Hacımusalar and survey adjoining sections of the Elmalı plane in southwestern Turkey. Beginning in 1998 and operating through 2005, this arrangement gave our students an opportunity to develop first-hand experience in archaeological methodologies and helped our faculty members expand the range of their research. Archaeological work continues to be a priority for Sunoikisis, which currently sponsors an excavation at Kenchreai, Greece.
Sunoikisis also developed a series of inter-institutional collaborative courses (ICC’s) for advanced students of ancient Greek and Latin, which began in the fall of 2000 and have continued since. In 2003, Sunoikisis initiated its annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.
In January of 2006, Sunoikisis left the confines of the Associated Colleges of the South and became a program of the National Institute of Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), which opened opportunities to participate in Sunoikisis to approximately 90 colleges in the United States.
Beginning in 2009 the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. became the primary sponsor for Sunoikisis and has enabled engagement with faculty members and students at an even wider range of colleges and other institutions of higher education in the United States and abroad.
160 faculty from 100 institutions have participated in Sunoikisis programs. Since 2000, more than 500 students have enrolled in the inter-institutional advanced Greek and Latin courses and more than 300 students have enrolled in the reading in translation courses.