Inclusive Values

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access and Belonging in the Ancient Studies Community at UMBC

Our Commitment: The Department of Ancient Studies at UMBC strives to be a welcoming home to anybody interested in learning about the ancient world. This is what brings us together: a shared curiosity about ancient peoples and cultures and what they continue to mean to us today. This desire to connect to the past and to each other is the beating heart at the center of our community. We affirm that exploration, learning, and growth thrive in an environment that values human dignity first and that respect and compassion are the emotional foundations of dignity. We believe that public universities are obligated to help end inequity and to promote social justice.

The Department of Ancient Studies strives to be this kind of community both for its own sake and in fulfillment of UMBC’s vision of “redefin[ing] excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We will advance knowledge, economic prosperity, and social justice by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.”

What follows are our core values and a summary of the measures available to keep us accountable to the people in our community.

We include. Honoring accommodations and using correct name and pronouns is our standard practice. We want you to bring your lived experience into our classrooms. We support your religious and ethical life choices and will help you fit them into your schedule.  We ask that you extend this welcoming acceptance to others. We will support you if a situation arises that makes you unsafe. We will continue our professional training proactively so that when issues arise, we are prepared. When we fall short, we will learn from our errors and do our best to mitigate the harm done.

When we make hiring decisions or invite speakers to campus, we look for those who share our community values. We also commit to making a special effort to diversify our faculty; we realize that our current demographic profile falls well short of inclusion. Moreover, the academic fields we come from (Classics, Museum Studies, Archaeology) have a history that often runs counter to our values as humans and scholars. We categorically repudiate the role many of our intellectual forbearers had in promoting colonialism and white supremacy. We acknowledge that there is still much work to do in untangling ourselves from this legacy, and strive to keep abreast of current best practices. Much of the groundwork for this approach has been laid by scholars of color. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues who are doing this important work by supporting them, engaging with their ideas, and recommending their work to our students. It is in everyone’s interest that our students see those like themselves succeeding in Ancient Studies.

When we plan our courses, we resist the imperialist and white-washed lenses that distort our view of the diverse world of the ancient Mediterranean. This is not revisionism; this is an accurate reflection of the state of the field. As we plan future course offerings, we commit to a curriculum that will expose you to a range of materials and methods, topics and traditions. Although much of what we study is violent and difficult material, we will approach it with objectivity, sensitivity, and compassion.

We consider and plan for the needs of the vulnerable. UMBC is proud to be an institution that serves first generation, immigrant, and BIPOC students, and so are we. Additionally, LGBTQIA+ folks, neurodivergent people, and people with disabilities are all currently part of our community, and we consider their access and comfort when planning activities, classes, and events. We want you to be present for your families, to balance work with academics, to access affordable course materials, and to have viable options when circumstances outside of the classroom impact your ability to complete coursework. We consider these factors in our course planning and costs, and we welcome discussions of these topics as we help you to progress through your coursework.

We are approachable. Every faculty member in ANCS has committed to do right by the students in their charge. We do not think this is at odds with high standards; rather, high standards come out of healthy communication and mutual trust. Part of our responsibility to our students is a commitment to holding them accountable for their own learning and academic progress. If we do not do this, we do our students a great disservice.

We believe that our students are capable of excellence. We know that everyone who applies consistent effort can improve, given support, guidance, and access. We believe that our students deserve the same opportunities for success in Ancient Studies as do students in more exclusive programs, and the success of our alumni after graduation bears this out. We commit to letting our students know how they are progressing clearly and kindly and giving them honest, helpful advice in planning for their future after college.

We are accountable. We recognize that as instructors and mentors, we hold power over our students while they are with us. This is a power we commit to using in good faith. We view university policy as our starting point rather than our end point; we strive to lead the way in best practices and continue to learn to do better. Please hold us accountable. If you are not comfortable approaching us directly, you may reach out to various campus services who can advocate for you on your behalf.


Click on the following links for access to campus services: