Executive Council Responds to Sessions’s Letter to the NEH

The MLA Executive Council has issued a response to Senator Jeff Sessions, who, in a recent letter to the National Endowment for the Humanities, challenged the NEH for funding programs that address “indefinite” questions or that “seemingly use Federal funds on behalf of just one religion.” The council statement affirms the association’s “trust in the NEH’s rigorous peer-review process and in the agency’s creative promotion of cultural dialogue.” The programs targeted by Sessions, the statement asserts, promote dialogue and the values of education in a democracy. Read the full statement and learn more about other Executive Council actions on the MLA Web site.

Winter Newsletter Published

The Winter 2013 MLA Newsletter, now online, features a joint column from President Marianne Hirsch and First Vice President Margaret Ferguson about the discussion of MLA group structure, Rosemary G. Feal’s editor’s column about her alt-ac experience, a report on the 2012–13 MLA Job Information List, a profile of the incoming director of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, and a tribute to the MLA benefactor Aldo Scaglione. Visit the From the President and From the Executive Director blogs to comment on the two columns.

Report on the 2012–13 Job Information List

A report on the jobs advertised in the 2012–13 MLA Job Information List (JIL) is now available on the MLA Web site. After inching higher each of the past two years, the number of jobs advertised in the JIL fell by 93 (7.5%) in the English edition and by 26 (2.3%) in foreign language edition in 2012–13. For the fourth year in a row, and the fourth time in the thirty-eight-year history of the JIL counts, more jobs were advertised in the February, April, and Summer issues than in the October and December issues. Read the full report for more information, including figures charting trends in the data since 1975–76 and breakdowns by tenure status and rank.

2013 Presidential Forum Published on New Profession Site

Presentations that were part of the 2013 MLA Annual Convention’s Presidential Forum “Avenues of Access: Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members and American Higher Education,” the first Presidential Forum panel consisting entirely of faculty members off the tenure track, have now been published on the new Profession site at MLA Commons. Introduced by the 2012–13 MLA president, Michael Bérubé, the forum features presentations by Joshua Boldt, Beth Landers, Maria Maisto, and Robert Samuels. Additional pieces will be added to the site later this fall and will be available in an e-book format. Starting in 2014, Profession will accept submissions on a rolling basis, and accepted articles will be published in the open-access journal throughout the year.

New Member Benefit from JSTOR

MLA members can now subscribe to JPASS, a new JSTOR access plan for individuals, for $99 a year (a 50% discount on the listed rate). JPASS, for scholars who work outside the academy or whose institution does not subscribe to JSTOR, provides access to more than 1,500 humanities, social science, and science journals in the JSTOR archival collections. A one-year subscription includes unlimited reading and 120 article downloads. To take advantage of this offer, please log in to the MLA Web site.

2013 Ratification Vote Now Under Way

The 2013 Delegate Assembly approved one constitutional amendment and two resolutions. The assembly’s actions are not final, however, since the MLA constitution requires a ratification vote in each instance. Members are therefore encouraged to review this year’s ballot and to exercise their right to vote, especially since final approval of each resolution depends on a favorable vote from at least ten percent of the membership. All members in good standing for the 2013 membership year 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 Friday, 15 November. The deadline for receipt of ratification ballots is midnight (EST) on 10 December.

Invitation to Online Forum on Literacy Competency Standards

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) invites MLA members to attend one of three open online forums on revising its Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. An ACRL task force is now working on a new approach that underscores the need for faculty members and librarians to collaborate on information-literacy education that aligns with disciplinary content. Participants in the one-hour forums will learn about the direction the task force is taking with the revisions, the composition of the group, and opportunities to provide feedback. Forums will be held on 17 October, 29 October, and 4 November. For more information, please visit the ACRL Web site.

31 October Deadline for Child Care

If you are attending the 2014 MLA convention in Chicago and would like to have child care during the meeting, you may preregister for a possible on-site child care service through KiddieCorp. If a sufficient number of children are registered for child care by 31 October, a daytime child care center will operate in the Fairmont. If a sufficient number of children are not registered for the service by that date, the MLA will have funds available to reimburse up to $300 to each member who uses child care services provided by one of the convention hotels or another service during convention hours. More information and a preregistration form are available on the MLA Web site.

Reminder to Comment on MLA Groups Discussion

The draft proposal for a new MLA group structure has already received over four hundred comments, which have provided important feedback for the working group that created the draft, for the Program Committee, and for the Executive Council. Many groups, however, have received few comments. If you haven’t already weighed in on the draft, we encourage you to log in to the Commons and join the conversation. The draft proposal for a revised group structure will be available for comment until 20 November.  A revised version of the proposal will be presented for further debate at the Open Hearing on the Future of the MLA Divisions and Discussion Groups and the meeting of the MLA Delegate Assembly at the MLA convention.