6 June 2013

University of Queensland students are taking part in a teaching and learning initiative designed to offer a unique and challenging education in the classics.

Classics Advanced Research Programme (CARPE) coordinator Dr Caillan Davenport from UQ’s School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics said the initiative would prepare students for Honours and inspire them to undertake research in topics ranging from ancient literature to archaeology and history.

“I created a rigorous undergraduate research program that has a small-group tutorial style to challenge and push students out of their comfort zone,” Dr Davenport said.

“Through the program, the students have become sharper thinkers, asking more probing questions about the evidence.

“The program mirrors the life of a modern-day academic: designing projects, researching, writing up results, and undergoing intensive peer-reviews to test the validity of your conclusions.”

As part of the course ANCH2230: The Age of Imperial Rome, four selected students were asked to study the topic Roman Emperors: Public and Private and over the course of the semester, participate in special fortnightly tutorials and write a 2,000 word essay in the style of an academic journal article.

Dustin McKenzie, Charlotte Mann, Nicola Linton, and Johanna Qualmann are the four students selected to take part, and they have researched the following topics:

• Imperial Rivalries: Senatorial Resentment of Freedmen at the Imperial Court
• The Deified Claudius at Rome and Abroad
• Nero’s Trip to Greece from the Perspective of the Greeks
• Finding Faustina: Representations of an Empress

The students will also give a public presentation of their results at 11am on Friday 7th June in Room E302 Forgan Smith in the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics.

Dustin said he was excited to take up this research opportunity.

“The constant feedback from working in such a small group was fantastic - from both an academic and a social perspective,” Dustin said.

“Just when you think there is nothing more to say about an idea, a suggestion is made and you go back down the rabbit hole in search of answers.

“The opportunity to get my name out there as a young researcher is definitely one of the most valuable parts of the program.

“I enjoy being challenged by intelligent students. It’s a really fun part of teaching,” Dr Davenport said

Dr Davenport said the program was inspired by small-group tutorial teaching at Oxford.

“It was really successful, so I considered offering my students something different to what they would experience in most Australian universities.

Media: Dania Lawrence, 07 33659163 or d.lawrence@uq.edu.au.