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.”
If you’re planning to attend the 2015 MLA Annual Convention in Vancouver, register by 8 December to avoid paying higher late or on-site registration fees. By registering now, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the best selection of hotels. For more information about the 2015 convention, including the presidential theme, cultural excursions in Vancouver, and travel tips, please visit the convention area of the MLA Web site.
Essays from the 2014 convention session “Public Humanities,” linked to the Presidential Forum, have now been published in Profession. The six essays—by Matti Bunzl, James Chandler, Julie Ellison, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Jean Howard, and Laura Wexler—ask what public humanities means and consider how scholars can create a public face for the humanities in vulnerable times. Also new on the site is Per Urlaub’s “A New Brecht for LA: Public Scholarship through Technology in Project-Based Graduate Education,” which looks at how project-based education and public scholarship can broaden graduate students’ skills and open the door to careers beyond the academy. Essays in Profession may be read for free by all; to comment, please log in to MLA Commons with your member credentials.
When the Executive Council meets in February 2015, it will make appointments to seventeen standing committees of the association. Through 4 February, these committees and the outgoing committee members will be listed on the committee suggestion page. To suggest yourself or another member of the association, respond to the three prompts on the suggestion page and then complete the short information form. Please note that suggestions for appointments are not carried forward from year to year; they are compiled anew for each appointment cycle.
The deadline for voting in this year’s elections for second vice president, the Executive Council, the Delegate Assembly, and the division and discussion group executive committees is only two weeks away. All 2014 members are eligible to vote. The online ballot (member log-in required) will be available until 12:00 midnight (EST) on Wednesday, 10 December. If you wish to exit the ballot system while voting, your votes will be saved until your next session. Please don’t delay—vote online now.
On 14 November 2014, the Committee on Scholarly Editions (CSE) awarded the CSE seal to An Outcast of the Islands, by Joseph Conrad, edited by Allan H. Simmons. The volume will be published by Cambridge University Press.
The CSE serves as a clearinghouse for information about scholarly editing and editorial projects, offers advice and consultation to editors on request, honors excellence in editing by awarding emblems to qualified volumes, and promotes dissemination of reliable texts for classroom use and among general readers. Editors or publishers who wish to submit their editions (preferably before or at the copyediting stage) for consideration for the CSE seal should write to the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A report on the jobs advertised in the 2013–14 MLA Job Information List (JIL) is now available on the MLA Web site. In 2013–14, the number of jobs advertised in the MLA Job Information List (JIL) fell by 96 (8.4%) in the English edition and by 75 (6.8%) in the foreign language edition. This past year marks the fifth consecutive year the number of jobs advertised in the JIL has remained at a level just above 1,000 jobs in each edition. Read the full report for more information, including figures charting trends in the data since 1975–76, breakdowns by tenure status and rank, and analyses of the ads by region.
Basic information about the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the Delegate Assembly, to be held on Saturday, 10 January, during the 2015 MLA Annual Convention in Vancouver (session 530), has been posted at the Web site. So that association members may engage with the issues to be discussed at the Delegate Assembly meeting, meeting documents will be posted in the members-only area of the site as they become available. MLA members who wish to address the assembly on a particular issue should consult the relevant document(s) in advance.
Want to learn more about Negotiating Sites of Memory, the presidential theme for the 2015 MLA Annual Convention? In a new blog post Margaret Ferguson, president of the MLA, introduces a series of three videos about the theme, now available on the MLA Web site. In the videos Ferguson discusses what sites of memory are and why she chose Negotiating Sites of Memory as her theme. Visitors may also browse a list of the more than two hundred sessions related to the theme and read a brochure about the Presidential Forum and its two linked sessions.