This year’s elections may be over, but there is still time for members to make suggestions for the executive committee elections that will be held in 2015. Serving on an executive committee is an excellent way for members to become more involved in association activities, to create exciting programming for the annual convention, and to work on developing MLA Commons as a tool for scholarly and professional collaboration. When arranging their elections, executive committees depend on suggestions received from members. To suggest yourself for executive committee service or to recommend a colleague, please fill out a brief online suggestion form by 22 December.
Balloting in the 2014 elections for second vice president, the Executive Council, the Delegate Assembly, and the division and discussion group executive committees closed on 10 December. Diana Taylor was elected second vice president, and Emily Apter, David Palumbo-Liu, and Vicky Unruh were elected to the Executive Council for four-year terms. Full election results are available on the MLA Web site.
The MLA has received generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to undertake a major project, Connected Academics: Preparing Doctoral Students of Language and Literature for a Variety of Careers. The project will run through August 2019 and will support initiatives aimed at demonstrating how doctoral education can develop students’ capacities to bring the expertise they acquire in advanced humanistic study to a wide range of professional situations. To learn more, please visit the MLA Web site.
The deadline for submitting the online ballot (member log-in required) covering this year’s elections for second vice president, the Executive Council, the Delegate Assembly, and the division and discussion group executive committees is now only hours away. Voting will close at 12:00 midnight (EST). All 2014 members are eligible to vote. Let your voice be heard before the clock runs out.
Are you participating in a session in Vancouver? Visit the MLA convention blog for posts on using the Docs feature to collaborate with colleagues and on uploading your convention materials to the Commons. Posting your presentation is a great way to get attendees involved and to provide resources for those who may be unable to attend your session.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has launched the Public Scholar Program to support well-researched books in the humanities that are aimed at a broad readership. Books supported through the Public Scholar Program might present a narrative history, tell the stories of important individuals, analyze significant texts, provide a synthesis of ideas, revive interest in a neglected subject, or examine the latest thinking on a topic. Open to independent scholars and those affiliated with academic institutions, the program offers a stipend of $4,200 per month for six to twelve months. For more information on the guidelines for the program, please visit the NEH Web site. The application deadline for the first cycle is 3 March 2015.
The MLA is pleased to announce the launch of Graduate Education Reform, an MLA Commons site dedicated to encouraging discussion about the association’s Report of the Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature and about the future of graduate programs in the humanities. The site features the full text of the report with space for commenting on each section as well as an appendix of innovative programs that exemplify the report’s recommendations; reflections on the report; and resources for students, faculty members, administrators, and others. We encourage you to read a From the President blog post by Margaret Ferguson about the site and to take up her call to join the discussion.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 MLA publication prize competitions. The publication prizes will be awarded in a ceremony on 10 January at the 2015 MLA Annual Convention in Vancouver. The ceremony is open to the public and will be followed by a reception.
In an interview with HigherEdJobs, Margaret Ferguson, the president of the MLA, discusses what new attendees of the MLA convention can expect, offers guidance on preparing for interviews, and highlights resources available on the MLA Web site. Read the full interview for more of Ferguson’s strategies for interviewing success and to get a preview of the Presidential Forum at the convention.
According to a study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, much of the discrepancy between time to degree in the humanities and time to degree in other fields can be attributed to course work: PhD candidates in the humanities spend nearly twice as long on predissertation course work than do graduate students in other fields, reports Inside Higher Ed. The article notes that while some efforts to reduce time to degree in the humanities have focused solely on the dissertation, the MLA’s Report of the Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature also calls for reexamining comprehensive coverage requirements. As Russell Berman, the former MLA president, who led the task force, observes, “If humanities departments could reduce the time required to complete the pre-dissertation phase . . . , the recommendation in the MLA report of Ph.D. completion within five years would become attainable.”