10-11 Minutes

Present: Lindsay, Elissa, Catherine, Shoumik, Daniel, Elly, Christina, Bradley

–Introductions and Committee Reports

  • Committee Reports: Library Committee – Concern: Need to make an online app for checking-out books

-Google Doc is suggested as a method of doing this.

  • Library Committee would like to have a full-scale library launch after they accomplish this goal.
  • Lindsey Albracht has back issues of Basic Writing to contribute the library.
  • They also have nice language dictionaries in the library.


–The ESA Library Committee has purchased stickers for the library book spines and is in the process now of ordering a stamp that reads, “Please return to ESA library.” Both of these items fit the “narwhal” theme and are part of an initiative to mark the books to help maintain the library. The cost of the items amounts to $58.13 , and the librarians would like to request reimbursement from the ESA for these materials. We voted yes to approve the reimbursement.


More Committee Reports: 

-There will be performances, and if anyone knows anyone else who might want to perform, tell them to contact the conference organizers.

–Our first ESA happy hour was Monday 10/10! It was a great turnout! Does anyone want to volunteer to choose a time and location for another similar event?


  • The Curriculum Committee will be reviewing the orals exam this year and they want to open the floor to those of us who may have questions or comments about the process. Here are their questions: If you have taken or are currently studying for orals, do you have any suggestions for changes to the exam format? If you are at the dissertation stage, how well did the oral exam prepare you for your dissertation research and writing? The Curriculum Committee is preparing a survey to send out to students and faculty about the Second Exam, so prompts or questions for that survey will be helpful as well.

-Shoumik suggested we tell anyone we know who is currently doing orals or just did them to contact the committee to give feedback on the exam; otherwise, they will not really know what to review.

-Shoumik gave us an update on the structure of the new first exam. It consists of a syllabus on which you explain your pedagogical methods for one text you teach, intellectual autobiography, review essay, and conference paper (3/4 required). The geography/periodization requirements are much better now. Each student will have a grader they can actually talk to afterward.

-Issues brought up about how students will prep for the syllabus part of the portfolio, because they have not taught. Consensus that we probably should have more prep for this in the department.

-Suggestions to deal with this: Comp Comm meetings, Teaching Fellows office hours, events.

-Another suggestion: ESA should either plan an event during the 2:00 slot on a Friday to help students prepare for this, or the department could plan one, since they used to do an event for the first exam anyway. Shoumik said he would ask about this at the next meeting of the committee.

–Revels: What kind of revels do we want to have now that we can’t spend DSC money on alcohol? Would people be interested in getting the English program involved in co-hosting a revels potluck event, maybe inviting alumni? (would the alumni and fundraising committee want to work on this?) Co-chairs would have to talk to Mario about this, but it could be a way to get some sponsored alcohol. Or do we want to totally overhaul the revels and create a very different kind of event? Hosting revels at a restaurant was mentioned last meeting, as was hosting revels as a byob film screening.

-Catherine and Elissa think that if we can follow expectations for the next revels, that will probably be good, so people don’t complain.

  • Elissa reviewed meeting minutes from the Executive Committee.

-The department is thinking about a master’s program. No one was very happy about this.

-Question: Where does the money from MALS go?

-Pro of having a master’s as Elissa understands it is having control over who gets in, getting more money out of it.

–Danica and Duncan are crowdsourcing a list of fellowship opportunities (add to the list here: Google Doc) to be added to the ESA website and are seeking input on how to organize the page so as to make it the most useful to potential fellowship-seekers. The long and short-term fellowships will be broken down by field but there’s a question about how fine grained the categories should be–as in *American/British/Comp-rhet* vs. *19th Century American/20th Century American/African American.* How can we organize these fellowships by categories that are easily recognizable to users but not so fine-grained that those creating the page are forced to enter the same fellowships multiple times?

-Ideas for how to organize this:

  • Internal/external awards
  • Short-term/long-term
  • Tagging with multiple categories an option, rather than having different categories you have to list each fellowship under
  • Individual tags could be things like British, 19th century, and then your individual fellowship could theoretically fit one or either of those categories when you go to choose which fellowships apply to you
  • Could list by archival methodology
  • Year of completion

Elissa also reported on the rest of the Exec Committee Report:

  • Emeritus status extended to Rachel Brownstein, Gerhard Joseph, and Gordon Whatley.
  • Open House for prospective students, especially those from under-represented groups, scheduled for October 21.
  • Provost is trying to increase fellowships for incoming students to compete with other institutions’ offers.
  • Provost will also allow English to offer admission to more students than we plan to admit so as to avoid losing students off the waiting list who accept offers elsewhere. (This had been planned for last year but the provost didn’t allow it due to budget concerns.)
  • Curriculum committee is reviewing the second (oral) exam this year. No major changes anticipated.
  • The first exam changed last year. A few logistical details remain to be figured out.
    • First-year students were given a choice of taking the old format or the new portfolio format – all chose the portfolio.
    • The description of the first exam was changed in the GC Bulletin to reflect the new format.
  • Further discussion about creating an MA program offered by the English department raised similar concerns as last time, with added concern that admitted MA students may see this as a feeder program to the PhD, which it will not be.
    • Suggestions for the focus of a possible MA program included biography; archiving; literature and science; publishing.
    • Confirmation that any revenue from MA students admitted through English would in fact come back to us via credit units or budget.
  • Placement is working on getting students prepared earlier via scaffolding workshops on job letters, video interviews, involvement in professional organizations, etc.
    • Mark McBeth is working on a website with materials to inform students about the job market and placement process. This is intended to be collaborative, and faculty have been invited to contribute, particularly to short video tutorials.
    • Website will likely go live in spring, and it might be password-protected on the Commons.
    • Danny Dupont suggests gathering student testimonial videos, which will help current students navigate the process as well as give us an opportunity to reach out to alumni.
  • Faculty Membership:
    • Jonathan Grey scheduled for seminar and public talk on September 30.
    • ongoing searches in Hemispheric American and in Comp-Rhet
    • Search for British Modernism reopened after Allison Pease withdrew her application. A new call will go out, possibly worded as global Modernism.