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.

New post on The Trend examines the study “Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?”

In a new post on The Trend, the MLA’s director of research, David Laurence, considers implications of a recent study from Northwestern University examining teaching outcomes among full-time tenure-track and non-tenure-track instructors. Recognizing the polemical uses to which the study’s results could be put, Laurence cautions readers about the ways coverage of the study may misinterpret or misrepresent the data to support unwarranted conclusions. Laurence also notes that the status and labor conditions of non-tenure-track instructors at Northwestern do not reflect the typical adjunct experience at most institutions of higher education in the United States.

MLA Strategies for Promoting Language Study Cited

Inside Higher Ed reports that the MLA’s executive director, Rosemary G. Feal, urged college officials to foster collaboration, prepare proficient teachers, use technology, and encourage heritage language speakers when she spoke at the University of Maryland’s Languages for All? conference, where Feal addressed the role of higher education in advocating the value of languages to our national future.

Roundtable on the MLA and the Humanities at Columbia University

The Columbia University Maison Française will hold a roundtable discussion, “The Humanities and the MLA Today,” on Monday, 21 October, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the East Gallery, Buell Hall, on the Columbia campus. Participating in the roundtable will be Marianne Hirsch, 2013 MLA president; Mary Louise Pratt, former MLA president; Simon Gikandi, PMLA editor; Pierre Force, dean of humanities, Columbia University; and Carlos Alonso, member of the MLA Task Force on Graduate Education and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia. Panelists will consider current debates about the future of education in the humanities, the politics of language in the age of globalization, publishing and scholarly communication in the digital age, and the future of graduate education.

Chicago Humanities Summit at 2014 Convention

The MLA, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Chicago Humanities Festival are sponsoring a humanities summit, which will be held on Thursday, 9 January, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. The event will expand on the conversation started by The Heart of the Matter, the official report from the AAAS’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, and will center on a series of concurrent how-to sessions. Facilitated by leading humanities scholars, the sessions will showcase and workshop innovative programs, projects, and initiatives that take the humanities well beyond the academy.  More information and a registration form are available here.