It is no secret that classics PhDs do not feel that we are a part of our department. Aside from the occasional meeting with our supervisors, many of us have never met or had a conversation with the majority of the professors in the department, and, even more worrisome, we have never met the majority of our fellow classics PhDs. Undergrad activities, on the other hand, are wildly successful with great numbers attending all sorts of academic and social gatherings. There are many changes, however, that might help Classics PhDs feel like they have a place within the department.
First, there will be a space within the department that is for classics PhDs only. Our own room where we can work, commiserate, and socialise. Second, the founding of a classics PhD society that will be funded by both the KCLSU and the Classics department. They will give us money with which we can plan events that will be only for classics PhDs. I know that we are all busy doing our own thing; it's what we have come to expect doing a PhD in London. But a huge part of doing a PhD is collaborating with your fellow PhDs. The opportunities for doing so have been absent, until now. I would like to change things so that we have a chance to be a permanent part of our department and to work together. This will not be for everyone, I understand that, many of you are probably very happy working at the ICS, or the Maughan, or even on your own at your home. But I implore you give these ideas a chance because nothing like it has ever been tried before within this department at this university.
Finally, the communication between the department and PhDs has not be adequate in its role of making sure that we are properly informed about what is going on within the department. This is another thing I attribute to our lack of community. By attempting to change the departmental environment, I hope that we can become better informed about what is going on within the department, whether that is departmental seminars or the politics of academia itself. At this level of our academic education, there should be more engagement, not less; there should be more opportunities for collaboration, not less, and there should be a warm and welcoming environment available for anyone who feels like a stranger within their own department.
And even if we who are not within the department do not reap the fruits of these benefits, I would be happy to say that I helped change the classics department environment so that future PhDs feel a higher level of academic satisfaction.