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History, Classics and Archaeology

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Experience of an HCA SSLC

Mon 19 Dec 2016

The School of History, Classics & Archaeology held their school-wide Student-Staff Liaison Committee on 15 November 2016. I attended the meeting as the sole class representative for Archaeology Honours Years 3 and 4.


The Undergraduate Director provided an update about what’s new for HCA 2016/2017. Of particular note was the modified 100-point scale marking scheme adopted for the entire school, and the new automatic (formerly manual) sign-up for tutorials at sub-honours level.


Then, the EUSA School Convenor and Vice Convenor proposed autonomous learning groups as a new model of peer learning moving forward; the staff seemed enthused by the idea. The premise is to have primary readings mandatory for all students and then assign secondary readings for small groups to engage with - and summarise for the rest of the class, if needs be. More to follow on this in future meetings.


Other representatives raised concerns about a lack of appropriate space for tutors to give one-to-one, face-to-face feedback; while the Undergraduate Common Room is ideal for informal, casual conversation, feedback about one's assignments should be delivered confidentially in a more private setting. The staff acknowledged the point, but stressed that tutors already have the option to book a small teaching room/seminar room for this purpose. Tutors will be reminded of this.


The respective societies for History, Classics, and Archaeology gave a brief update about how their year is unfolding so far. They mentioned upcoming events, planned trips, etc. And here is where I contributed to the committee. The students I represent, if they want a successful career in archaeology, require a certain number of fieldwork hours. The Archaeology department, however, directs students toward sponsored field schools, which are expensive and require flights, luggage, visas, etc.


I proposed that the students would benefit from more contact hours with HCA professionals (eg archaeologists, archivists, curators, classicists); moreover, fieldwork opportunities need to be better advertised and more budget-friendly. The ArchSoc Secretary collaborated with me on this point. A representative of the Archaeology department at this committee, acknowledged the point and agreed.


Talks will be arranged to discuss the fieldwork issue further, with the ArchSoc acting as an intermediary of sorts. In the meantime, ArchSoc will continue to advertise more local fieldwork opportunities and internships for the students at this school - available to view on their website and in their regular newsletters. I will remind the students I represent that if official channels fail them, turn to ArchSoc for more affordable alternatives to fieldwork abroad. The meeting ended shortly after.


I will communicate the proceedings of this committee to my fellow students in-class and indicate to them that they will be able to access the minutes of the meeting, if they so wish.

Experience of an Archaeology SSLC

Mon 19 Dec 2016

The Archaeology department held their Student-Staff Liaison Committee on 2 November 2016. I attended the meeting as the combined class representative for Archaeology Honours Years 3 and 4.


The newer staff members introduced themselves before the meeting started in earnest … They hope to organise new Honours-level courses on the basis of their particular specialties.


The modified 100-point scale marking scheme was the most hotly debated topic of the meeting. Honours-level archaeology students, fourth years especially, were concerned about how the change would affect their final degree certifications. The staff assured us that there will be checks in place for borderline marks (eg 58, 59, 68, 69) in order to minimise the number of people that could 'miss out' on a higher degree certification.


I raised the point that staff need to continue to be as transparent as possible about: (1) how the modified marking scheme will be applied; and (2) to what extent the degree certification board are able to make executive decisions about borderline cases. The staff agreed to these two points and will look into improving the visibility of the new changes on our school intranet pages.


I will communicate the proceedings of this committee to my fellow students in-class and indicate to them that they will be able to access the minutes of the meeting, if they so wish.


Welcome to the School of History, Classics and Archaeology Representation page.

Here you will find useful information about your School’s student representation system.

First of all, let us introduce you to your School Representatives. Each School has two School Reps whose role is to listen to you and bring any issues you raise to the relevant staff and committee meetings, such as the Student-Staff Liaison Committee or your School Council. In HCA, the Undergraduate School Representative is Lauren Porter and the Postgraduate School Representative is Ian Boyd. Feel free to get in touch with them if you feel that you have something important to say to the School! Your School also contains Class Representatives who work very closely with the School Representatives, EUSA and the staff to ensure you make the most out of your courses. Potential areas Class Reps may engage with are issues with feedback, course content, and suitability of assessment.


There is also a Peer Support scheme running in the school where new students can get support from each other and higher year students. Find out more here:


In addition to Peer Support opportunities, you can make use of School-specific societies. Whether you are looking for support in your studies, meeting like-minded students, networking or keeping up-to-date with your field of study’s latest news, they are the place to be! In the School of History, Classics and Archaeology you can find ArchSoc which is for anyone with an interest in Archaeology. They run pub nights, visits to local archaeological sites, and guest lectures. The Classics Society runs film nights, pub quizzes and even has an annual trip abroad in February to a place of classical interest. The History Society is one of the largest societies at Edinburgh - it runs historical trips and academic lectures alongside a whole host of socials. All three academic societies get like-minded people together and foster communities based on shared interests. Also on offer is Retrospect, the journal of the School of HCA. It is published once a semester and students are able to get involved in writing, editing or designing for the publication.



The School of History, Classics and Archaeology organises a busy and varied programme of seminars, workshops and stand-alone events across the academic year, covering all its subject areas:

Forthcoming School events


Each of the School’s societies organises a fantastic range of social and academic events:

Forthcoming Society events


If you believe something is missing from this page, please contact


Undergraduate School Representative