Only three weeks remain for MLA members to cast their votes on the constitutional amendments approved by the Delegate Assembly at its January 2015 meeting. Final adoption of the amendments depends on the vote of the membership via the online ballot that is now available in the members-only area of the MLA Web site. The deadline for voting is midnight (EDT) on Friday, 15 May. All members in good standing as of 7 April are strongly encouraged to vote.
MLA members are invited to suggest candidates to serve as editor of PMLA. The term of the current editor, Simon Gikandi, ends in June 2016. The Executive Council subcommittee leading the search is seeking candidates who possess
- A wide range of intellectual interests, including a commitment to a variety of scholarly approaches and an understanding of more than one language
- An awareness of contemporary literary scholarship and critical methods and an openness to new technologies and methodologies
- An ability to work within the structure of the MLA and PMLA, including a commitment to the principles guiding current editorial policy and a recognition of the journal as the organ of a large membership organization reflecting diverse scholarly and critical views
- Past experience with PMLA (as author, referee, Advisory Committee member, or Editorial Board member) or substantial editorial experience with another scholarly journal in the field
To suggest a candidate to the subcommittee, please write to Judy Goulding by 15 July 2015.
In December the MLA sent a letter to Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, to express concern about an executive order requiring certain faculty members at state universities to make public detailed statements of their economic interests. The MLA Executive Council affirmed the importance of public disclosure for “employees with independent budgetary and policy-making authority” but asserted that those who chair academic departments or direct programs “have little discretion over decisions that could lead to the practices the new requirements are designed to prevent” and that they should therefore be exempt from the disclosure requirements. The MLA is gratified that a new Virginia General Assembly ethics bill, which will go into effect in July, exempts chairs from having to file these disclosure forms.
The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Miguel de Unamuno, edited by Luis Alvarez-Castro, is now in development in the MLA Approaches to Teaching World Literature series. Instructors who have taught these works are encouraged to contribute to the volume by completing a survey about their experiences. Information about proposing an essay is available at the end of the survey.
The 2015 Nominating Committee has nominated Michael F. Bernard-Donals, Anne Ruggles Gere, and Keith Gilyard for second vice president of the MLA and Lenora Hanson, Steffen Kaupp, Amanda Licastro, John B. Lyon, David Pan, Daniel Powell, and Rafael A. Ramirez Mendoza for the MLA Executive Council. The 2015 Elections Committee has arranged contests to fill seventeen special-interest and thirty-five regional seats in the Delegate Assembly. Background information on the candidates for second vice president and the Executive Council and the names and affiliations of the Delegate Assembly candidates are now available online. If you’d like to propose an additional candidate for any of these positions, please see the procedures for filing petitions described in articles 6.E, 8.A.2, and 10.E of the MLA constitution. Petitions must reach the executive director before 1 July 2015.
Members can now read the Summer issue of the MLA Newsletter online. In addition to a president’s column about the future of the association and an editor’s column featuring guest commentaries about the #Ferguson2MLA action in Vancouver, the issue includes the nominees for 2015 elections and an invitation to suggest PMLA editor candidates.
The 2015 Delegate Assembly approved seven amendments to the MLA constitution. The assembly’s actions are not final, however, since they are subject to ratification by the MLA membership. Members are therefore encouraged to review this year’s ballot and to exercise their right to vote. All members in good standing as of 7 April are eligible to vote. The online ballot is now available in the members-only area of the MLA Web site; requests for paper ballots must reach the coordinator of governance by Monday, 27 April. The deadline for receipt of ratification ballots is midnight (EDT) on 15 May.
The Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights and Responsibilities has just updated its Tool Kit on Academic Freedom. A resource for educators, the tool kit defines academic freedom, explores why it matters and what faculty members can do to protect it, and provides a reading list for those who want to learn more. The updated document provides additional guidance on extramural speech, including the distinction between representing one’s own views and speaking on behalf of one’s institution, and asserts that “incidents of extramural speech ought not to be considered as demonstrable evidence for how a candidate or faculty member functions in the classroom.” The tool kit also affirms that the participation of faculty members in university governance is critical to protecting academic freedom.
The Committee on Honors and Awards makes appointments to the prize selection committees every spring. Members who would like to suggest themselves or other members for appointment to particular prize committees may do so by 15 April by sending a message to email@example.com. The following information should be included: name of the committee, name of the member suggested, affiliation, department, rank, field(s) of specialization, a short listing of professional activities and of books and major articles published, and a brief statement of the person’s qualifications. Members should consult the list of publication prize committees to determine expected vacancies. Please note that suggestions for appointments are not carried forward from year to year; they are compiled anew for each appointment cycle.
In response to recent murders and disappearances of students and teachers in Mexico, the MLA Executive Council has issued a statement condemning the violence. These actions, the statement declares, “have created an environment in which learning and critical thinking are deemed dangerous activities.” The MLA is committed to supporting academic freedom and denounces these threats to the pursuit of knowledge.