A new article in Inside Higher Ed spotlights MLA First Vice President Margaret Ferguson’s draft statement on streamlining letters of recommendation and the discussion it has sparked on MLA Commons. Incorporating suggestions from those who have commented on the Commons, Ferguson will ask the Executive Council to consider a revised statement in October. MLA members can comment on the draft by logging in to the Commons.
The MLA is pleased to announce that Dennis Looney, professor in the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh, will join the MLA staff as the director of programs and ADFL when Nelly Furman retires in January 2014. A scholar of Italian language and literature, Looney brings with him a decade of experience as a department chair. He has also served as assistant dean of humanities and as a member and president of the ADFL executive committee. We look forward to welcoming Dennis Looney, who is certain to build on the outstanding work done by Nelly Furman during her nearly ten years at the association.
The MLA Job Information List database will be available for searching on 13 September. Access to the database is free to all users. To search the list, users can log in with their MLA member credentials or create a nonmember log-in. The JIL database is updated weekly to make job listings available in a timely manner. Please visit the MLA Web site for more information about access to the JIL and for tips on searching.
Beginning 30 August, division and discussion group forums on the MLA Web site will be superseded by forums on MLA Commons, the association’s online network and scholarly communication platform for members. If you haven’t already visited your divisions’ or discussion groups’ areas on the Commons, we encourage you to log in and view your profile to see the groups you are already a member of. Click on Forum to start a conversation, respond to a topic, or post a notice about your convention session. If the group forum has been disabled by the group’s admin, please use the Feedback button on the right side of the group page to let us know.
Two new volumes in the Approaches series, one on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and one on the works of Gertrude Stein, are now in development. You are invited to complete one or both surveys about your teaching needs and practices and to submit essay proposals for these volumes here.
More than one hundred volumes in the Approaches to Teaching World Literature series are now available at a special discount. Through 30 September, all volumes in the series are available at a 25% discount (regularly 20% for MLA members). No code is necessary to receive the discount, which is available to MLA members and nonmembers and will be automatically calculated at checkout.
The MLA is pleased to announce the publication of Approaches to Teaching the Works of Italo Calvino, edited by Franco Ricci. The volume is available in paperback at the discounted price of $14.81 (regularly $19.75) and in cloth at $28.13 (regularly $37.50).
The MLA Committee on Honors and Awards invites authors and editors to compete for the inaugural Modern Language Association Prize in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. Established in 2012, the prize is awarded to a member of the association for an outstanding scholarly work in the field of Native American literatures, cultures, and languages. Works published in 2012 or 2013 are eligible for the first prize, to be awarded in 2014. Detailed information is available online or can be requested by contacting the office of programs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In response to the recently released e-mail messages of the former Indiana governor Mitchell E. Daniels, the MLA’s Executive Council has approved a statement condemning the interference of state officials in college curricula. The statement affirms the importance of teachers’ ability to choose their own reading assignments and the principle that “free inquiry is the cornerstone of democratic education.”
The MLA is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $40,500 planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to begin the second phase of development of the association’s scholarly communication platform, MLA Commons. With support from the Mellon Foundation, the MLA will lead in the creation of Humanities Commons, a federated network of sites that will link the MLA with other humanities organizations to further collaborative interdisciplinary research. During the planning phase, the MLA will meet with other organizations to develop a governance structure and support model and will work with the Commons in a Box team from the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), and with developers to produce technical specifications for the new network.