What is Connected Academics?

Guest post by Stacy Hartman, coordinator of the Connected Academics Project.

The MLA has received generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to undertake a major project, Connected Academics: Preparing Doctoral Students of Language and Literature for a Variety of Careers. Over the next four years, the project will support initiatives aimed at demonstrating how doctoral education can develop students’ capacities to bring the expertise they acquire in advanced humanistic study to a wide range of fulfilling, secure, and well-compensated professional situations. Connected Academics will help prepare students to consider the broad range of occupations available to them, from careers in universities both on and off the tenure track to careers in business, government, and nonprofit organizations.

The project encompasses several major initiatives. Among them are
● Pilot programs at three partner institutions (Arizona State University, Georgetown University, and the University of California Humanities Research Institute) that will implement recommendations of the MLA Task Force on Doctoral Study to support career diversity for language and literature doctoral students and graduates.
● An annual, yearlong proseminar in New York City for doctoral students, recent graduates, and PhD-holding adjuncts from universities in the area that will focus on such issues as career horizons for PhDs in modern languages and literatures, in and outside the academy; long- and short-term prospects for adjunct positions; and the versatility and reach of humanities research.
● The compilation of data and reports on the career paths of graduates with doctorates in language and literature.
● The expansion of mentoring and networking activities at the MLA Annual Convention and at regional MLA meetings.
● A resource kit for doctoral students, directors of graduate studies, placement officers, and curricular reform committees.

At the 2016 MLA convention in Austin, there will be several Connected Academics sessions. Each pilot program has its own session, and there will be two poster sessions highlighting humanities PhDs working outside the academy. In addition, the MLA Job Center will provide individual counseling for job seekers. Job seekers can meet with experienced department chairs, career counselors, or PhDs employed outside the academy for 25-minute one-on-one sessions to discuss their job search and career options, both academic and nonacademic, and to review any application materials they may have. Counseling is offered on 8 and 9 January at the Job Information Center (Governor’s Ballroom, level 4, Hilton Austin). Individuals may sign up in advance for a single meeting. Sign-up sheets will be available at the Job Center.

For more information about the project, we invite you to explore the Connected Academic Web site and follow us on our Twitter, @MLAconnect.

CFP for 2016: Up-Grading Graduate Student Teaching Positions

Although graduate students are often interested in teaching a range of courses at a range of levels during their graduate training, those opportunities are not always available to them. This panel asks how graduate students can make the most of the teaching opportunities they frequently get: being a grader or discussion leader for a larger lecture course, tutoring in labs or writing centers, teaching introductory or general education courses in literature or writing. What might graduate students learn from these opportunities that will help them on the job market or when teaching mid- and upper-level courses? Conversely, how can these opportunities be valuable in and of themselves, other than being practice for later opportunities? How can graduate students integrate their research interests into these teaching positions? In short, how can these common (often devalued) teaching opportunities be privileged pedagogical positions and spaces? We are interested in hearing from current or former graduate students and from faculty or administrators who work with graduate students.

Please submit a 250-word abstract plus CV by 15 March 2015 to Alexandra Valint (alexandra.valint@usm.edu) and Sarah Kremen-Hicks (sarahkh@uw.edu).

CFP for 2016 MLA: “Humanities beyond Humanities”

Teaching languages and literature beyond the R1 institutions and large well-established programs can be rigorous. It imposes its own set of challenges and what if scenarios, related to the enrollment, retention, and the overall vision of the role of humanities at the institution. The MLA Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession invites you to explore these challenges at one of our sponsored panels “Humanities beyond Humanities” planned for the upcoming 2016 MLA Convention in Austin, TX. We welcome proposals on teaching languages and general humanities courses at STEM institutions, military academies, and smaller programs, as well as proposals on the state of languages and literature and alt-ac and post-ac tracks. Please submit a 250-word proposal and a short bio by March 10th, 2015 to Svetlana Tyutina (svetatyutina@yahoo.com) and Geffrey Davis (gxdavis@uark.edu).

Free Job Counseling at MLA!

If you’re on the job market or planning on going on the market, consider participating in the MLA’s academic job counseling! Sign up for a session in advance at the Job Information Center (at the Governor’s Ballroom, level 4, Hilton Austin). Counselors are available on Friday from 10:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The service is free. Bring a CV and/or cover letter and any questions you have about the market or your materials. Read our prior post from former committee member Shane Peterson about the advantages of speaking to a job counselor: http://mlagrads.commons.mla.org/2014/01/09/free-job-counseling/