“How I Got Here” in the Graduate Student Lounge

“How I Got Here: Networking and Discussion with Professors and Professionals”

Friday, January 8, 2016, 5:15-6:30
Graduate Student Lounge (10C, Level 3, Austin Convention Center)

Whether it’s your first or fourth time, there are many great reasons to attend the MLA as a graduate student. And no matter what stage you are at in your studies, you probably have some questions about aspects of your graduate work — your teaching experiences, your alt-ac interests, your under-review article — and how they come to bear on your program of study and professional plans.

During the upcoming MLA, The Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession (CSGSP) will be offering an opportunity for graduate students to meet and talk with academics from a variety of institutions and disciplines. Five speakers (see bios below) will join us to discuss their professional paths. After brief introductions, participants will divide into groups for networking and discussion.

What would you like to ask about your graduate work and career plans? Join us on Friday, January 8, from 5:15 to 6:30, to discuss questions, network, and learn from the experience of others in the Graduate Student Lounge (10C, Level 3, Austin Convention Center).

This year, we will have highly distinguished speakers that represent different career paths and stages.

Fred Gardaphé
Dr. Gardaphé is Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies at Queens College/CUNY and the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute. He directs the Italian/American Studies Program at Queens and formerly directed the programs in Italian American and American studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is Associate Editor of Fra Noi, an Italian American monthly newspaper, editor of the Series in Italian American Studies at State University of New York Press, and co-founding-co-editor of Voices in Italian Americana, a literary journal and cultural review. He is past president of MELUS (2003-2006), the American Italian Historical Association (1996-2000), and The Working Class Studies Association (2008-2011).

Paula Krebs
Dr. Krebs is founding Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Bridgewater State University and a member of the MLA Executive Council. She writes often for the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed on issues including changing the model of doctoral education, diversifying the profession, and the public humanities. Dr. Krebs has also foregrounded these issues through her work as editor of Academe (AAUP national magazine); on the New England Cross-Sector Partnership, for preparing doctoral students to teach at teaching-intensive institutions, and the SILCS program, for preparing students from underrepresented groups for doctoral study; and on the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

Susan Miller
Susan J. Miller has been Professor of English at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida for 28 years. She recently returned to the classroom after a lively ten years as department chair. The 2013 President of the ADE, she has participated in many MLA panels directed at academic employment, particularly in the two-year college. A co-writer of the 2014 “Report of the ADE Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment,” she also helped craft an article on myths about the job search that will appear in the next ADE Bulletin.

Elizabeth Richmond-Garza
Dr. Richmond-Garza is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the Director of the Program in Comparative Literature. She served as Chief Administrative Officer (Secretary-Treasurer and Webmaster, American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) between 2003- 2011. She holds degrees from U. C. Berkeley, Oxford University, and Columbia University and has held both Mellon and Fulbright Fellowships. Trained in Greek as well as modern aesthetics, she works actively in eight languages. Richmond-Garza is renowned for her creative, multi-media approach to teaching. Among other honors, she has been awarded the Chad Oliver Plan II Teaching Award, the 16th annual Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship, and the Minnie Piper Stevens Teaching Award. She was elected to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2004 and was awarded the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009.

Ece Turnator
Ece Turnator received her Ph.D. in Medieval (Byzantine) History from Harvard University in 2013. Her dissertation is an interpretation of 13th-century Byzantine economy through an analysis of archaeological (coins and ceramics) and textual evidence. Until September 2015, she worked as a CLIR/Mellon postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin in medieval data curation, studying and learning about Digital Humanities, best practices for data curation and visualization, in addition to teaching and researching in her area of expertise. She is working with the Digital Humanities team at UT Libraries and teaches in the History Department at the University of Austin at Texas. Her main research interests include world economic history and material culture.

Questions about “How I Got Here?” Please post below or e-mail the organizers, Caroline Egan (eganc@stanford.edu) and Fatma Tarlaci (ftarlaci@utexas.edu).

Convention related updates coming soon!

As the semester comes to a close, the committee will be directing our attention to ensuring that graduate students attendees are well prepared for the 2016 MLA convention in Austin. Watch for upcoming posts about places to eat, convention best practices, “elevator pitches” and more.

Additionally, beginning in January, we will begin blogging more regularly about a wide variety of topics. Upcoming topics include online teaching, CV to resume, writing groups, and writing for a broader, non-academic audience.

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.