The Greek Centre hosted an important guest recently; La Trobe University’s Professor Anthony McGrew who was appointed the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce in early 2015.
Topic of discussion was none other than the continuation and future of La Trobe University’s Modern Greek program, the only Greek Studies program in Victoria at tertiary level. Since Maria Herodotou’s retirement earlier this year after more than three decades of service, the department has been in caretaker mode and a replacement position has yet to be advertised which is causing concern for all stakeholders.
Without a full-time coordinator and supporting staff, many of the department’s support activities and research endeavours may be in jeopardy in 2018 was a key concern echoed by Dr Herodotou.
In attendance at the meeting were Maria Herodotou, Georgia Nicolaidou – education attache from the Greek Consulate in Melbourne, NUGAS representatives Jordan Moshcovitis and George Vasilopoulos, GCM President Bill Papastergiadis and GCM Board and Education Committee members Theo Markos and Nick Dallas.
The attendees emphasised the broad support that the program had in the Greek Community and how all parties were prepared to assist in ensuring its success and continuation.
NUGAS representatives have already been doing road-shows to VCE students and encouraging them to choose Modern Greek as a first year subject taking advantage of cross-institutional agreements. The GCM has offered La Trobe the use of its education facilities should they require a more central location.
Dr Nicolaidou offered assistance in facilitating the placement of seconded teaching staff. Professor McGrew is no stranger to languages; he heads the Confucius Institute at La Trobe University. He is also aware that in today’s humanities-threatened world, language departments must do things differently and must be more innovative in their offerings.
Although he is cautiously optimistic the position will eventually be advertised, he couldn’t commit to a timetable due to funding uncertainties affecting the whole tertiary education sector.
The Coalition’s education reforms are stalled in parliament, leaving universities in a precarious situation where they don’t know what fees they should be charging as they’re uncertain of their federal funding.
This is having further downstream impacts on decision-making regarding subject offerings and staff hiring. Going forward all parties are prepared to work closely together and maintain regular contact to achieve a desirable outcome for Greek language studies in Melbourne.