INTERDISCPLINARY CENTER FOR HELLENIC STUDIES
The Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies (ICHS) is the means by which AFGLC carries out its mission to present Hellenic language and culture to the American university student. Two such Centers now exist in the United States: the flagship ICHS at the University of South Florida, a tier-one research university, which has given its ICHS the coveted designation "Center of Excellence"; and the AFGLC-ICHS at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, which is among the five best state liberal arts colleges in the country. Other Centers are under negotiation at distinguished universities throughout the nation.
Each ICHS consists of five named professorships, endowed in perpetuity, in the following areas: Greek Language and Culture; Greek History; Greek Philosophy; Greek Culture (art, archaeology, musicology or any specialization the university may desire); and Byzantine History and Orthodox Religion. The structure of each ICHS is illustrated by the pentagon below:
The entire Center is so structured contractually that neither it nor the individual professorships can ever be terminated, despite budget cuts or changing university priorities. AFGLC will negotiate with the university the cost per professorship and the availability of matching funds.
Once a Center is established, it passes under the control of the academic institution but is presided over by a Board of Directors that include ex officio officers of the AFGLC. Its academic agenda is carried out by a Director, appointed by AFGLC from among the endowed faculty. The ICHS must be operated in accordance with the contract, and neither the Director nor the school administration can alter its mission. AFGLC and its donors continue to provide a minimum of $15,000 annually to enhance the program, as well as supplying specialized books and other teaching aids. For example, the Athenian Academy has pledged to furnish a large number of books for each ICHS that is established.
An ICHS serves as a center of communication with the university administration and the academic world at large, a physical and emotional "home base" for its students, and a link with AFGLC's international network of resources and contacts. The particular services an ICHS provides to its faculty and students include the following:
- To organize and host public lectures, symposia, and conferences. For example, AFGLC has taken full advantage of the lecture series provided by the Onassis Foundation, and has found new venues for these speakers through its network of ICHS;
- To award faculty enhancement grants;
- To award student scholarships;
- To facilitate study-abroad opportunities;
- To help to build at its host institution a collection of publications, reference works and archival materials that pertain to the objectives of the Center;
- To assist in the publishing of scholarly works though small grants;
- To assist in establishing or organizing visiting positions or exchange programs for prominent scholars in various aspects of Hellenic Studies;
- To apply for funding from granting agencies external to the university itself;
- To help to establish interdisciplinary degree programs at the host institution in various aspects of Hellenic Studies, at the undergraduate and graduate levels;
- To advise students wishing to pursue careers in Hellenic Studies;
- To utilize the internet and other distance learning technologies as they relate to its mission;
- Where feasible, to publish an academic journal related to some aspect/aspects of Hellenism.
As an interdisciplinary center, the ICHS makes its grants and scholarships available to faculty and students from many different departments. A Center costs the university very little, yet maximizes its teaching potential and creates bonds between it and the outside community, represented by the local membership of AFGLC. Administrators find it hard to resist; and best of all, it has been proven successful in making Hellenism known to the many students who pass through its courses every year.