11/2/2007 ESA Meeting Minutes


Date: Friday, November 2, 2007 (1pm)

Present: Jill Belli, Keridiana Chez, Rob Faunce, Simon Fortin, Allyson Foster, John Harkey, Robert Machado, Nick Marino, Nick Sautin, Carrie Shanafelt, Amanda Springs


Faculty Membership Committee (Carrie’s report):

  1. 19th century Women’s Writing:

*Hildegard Hoeller:

The committee will recommend the appointment of Hildegard Hoeller to the Executive Committee!  Professor Hoeller works on American literature: economic/gift theory and women’s writing (her recent book is on Edith Wharton).

  1. Latino/Latina Studies:

*Carlos Hiraldo:

The committee has decided not to recommend the appointment of Carlos Hiraldo at this time.  The consensus is that his work does not seem to be that current (his last book, from 4 years ago, is on miscegenation and Latino identity)

*Lyn Dilorio Sandín:

There is not consensus about what to do in this case.  Although her book has received much praise and her scholarship is very good, many were concerned with the course she taught at the GC and her job talk (from last spring) which was narrow/unsophisticated (and in which she did not really answer the questions posed to her).  However, she my be asked to teach another course here at the GC and, if she does, would receive some mentoring help as to how to structure her course beyond survey interests (incorporating her theoretical work).

  1. Pre-1830s American Literature

*Betsy McCully:

At this point, the committee does not recommend her appointment.  Many felt that her job talk was not “literary” and that this (pre-1830s) is not really her field (more mid-19th century).  However, it is possible that she will be asked to consider teaching courses in eco-criticism (such as NYC and the environment) at some point in the future if there is enough interest in this area (Marc Dolan and the American Studies folks will be discussing this idea).

*Duncan Faherty:

The response to his job talk and his accessibility/mentoring abilities is universally positive.  However, the committee will not recommend his appointment at this time because he does not have tenure.  We do not anticipate a future appointment being a problem (as he already has a book published and a second one is in the works), but the committee feels it is important that we wait until he is tenured to officially appoint him.  He will undergo tenure review in Spring 2008 and, if all goes smoothly, he will be tenured in September 2008.  At this time, if he is tenured, the committee will immediately recommend his appointment.  So he will probably not be teaching a course at the GC until Spring 2009, but students are being encouraged to approach him to work with him and ask him to be on committees in the meantime.

In addition, students are encouraged to reach out to young interesting faculty at the various CUNY campuses who might be potential candidates for job hires later on.  The committees asks that students encourage these faculty (even if they are not yet tenured) to attend events at the GC and to get to know the department (both faculty and students) so that they have a better idea of what to expect from future job talks/courses here at the GC.

Finally, there is discussion about what the term “literary” means: does our department define itself as “literary” and are we looking for faculty within “literary fields?  We are also asked to think about our position in relation to “cultural studies.”  These questions will likely become part of the current departmental self-study.

Executive Committee (Allyson and Amanda’s report):

  • The search for our new APO (assistant program officer) to replace Meghan is going well.  There were many strong applicants, and the search committee has narrowed it down to seven candidates, three of whom are being seriously considered.  Although the department hopes to fill the position by early December, it is possible that our new APO will not begin to work until January 2008.
  • The Self-Study for the Department is ongoing.  Dr. Kruger has e-mailed out the list of five potential examiners (from other U.S. universities) – they will likely come to visit our campus mid-April.
  • The University-wide Proposed Master Plan is underway (you can read about it here: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/planning_process_cunymasterplan/process_cuny_masterplan.htm).  There is a proposal being sent from Dr. Kruger to consider allocating more money to the humanities (not just the sciences) to enable us to have resources such as visiting professors, larger public talks by high profile speakers, etc.  Also, there is a push by our department for more equitable pay/workload for faculty who both teach at the GC (and are on orals and dissertation committees) and also teach heavy loads at their home campuses.  There is also talk about CUNY online degrees.

[Rob mentions that he has been asked to provide student input on the proposed Master Plan, but so far only 7 students from the entire GC have responded.  Please send him any input – even a few quick bullet points – by today, 11/2, at robfaunce@gmail.com]

  • The number of annual credits the department can offer has been increased from 60 to 64, which means we can offer more courses and possibly more individual study courses (because each of those only count credit-wise for 1/5 of a course)
  • There is discussion about the teaching practicum – there is a mixed response about this requirement due to the various forms it takes at different campuses.

[However, Rob informs us that the Provost will soon be requiring anyone who teaches – in all departments – to take a practicum before teaching – so it is probably in our best interest to keep the department in control of this process through the Practicum).

Course Assessment Committee (Robert’s report):

  • As he explained in his recent e-mail to the ESA-L, Robert has been working with Julie to put a more consistent accounting system in place (with cross-checking) for the course evaluations.  It has come to our attention that evaluations for three professors (previous courses) have not been handed out, and these forms will be distributed to the mailboxes of the students enrolled (previously) in these courses.  Students are then asked to return them to the committee so their feedback can be included in our binder.
  • All of the completed evaluations from last semester should be printed and in place in the binder before the Spring 2008 semester, so please check these for guidance in choosing your future courses.

Admissions/Financial Aid Committee (Nick’s report) and Alumni Committee (Jill’s report):

  • Nothing to report yet for either of these committees as nothing has taken place so far.

Website Committee

The website Committee is in the process of finishing up the transfer of material to the newly designed site.  Once this is completed, the new site will go live.  We are very excited about the new organization and look, and will continue adding useful new sections to the site as the year progresses.  For example, we hope in the near future to have a password-protected area with sample orals lists, prospecti, syllabi, etc. for student and faculty use.  We will be open to feedback on the new site as soon as it is open.  Our goal is to make the site a useful resource for current students and faculty, as well as a strong representation of our program to outsiders and potential students.  I’ll let you know when we go live with the new site.  Special thanks to Emily Sherwood, the other ESA-elected committee member, and to Jason Schneiderman and Jeff Druin, who have volunteered to serve on the committee (or, in Jason’s case, to continue on the committee).  Steve is also working with us on the redesign.

Elections Committee, Fundraising Committee, Recruitment Committee, and Curriculum Committee:

  • Nobody from any of these committees was in attendance.  ESA members are reminded that at least one representative from each committee is asked to attend each meeting to report back (if you are unable to attend a meeting, please e-mail Jill (jillbelli@yahoo.com) and Simon (sf673@nyu.edu) with your report and we will gladly announce your news for everyone.

DSC (Kery and Rob’s report):

  • Since we have 294 enrolled students in the program this year, we will have $882 per semester to spend.  However, please be aware that some of this money is being used to pay debts the ESA has incurred from previous years (already $200 of our Fall money has been spent in this way) and $200 of the spring money will be set aside for the conference.
  • Kery has e-mailed out a survey about how to spend our extra money from the DSC.  All students are encouraged to respond (it is only one question!) – so far there have been 57 responses.  In addition to the options presented in this survey, we are considering purchasing a few surge protectors for the lounge so that people can plug in their laptops (since we now have wireless access).
  • We will be getting new computers/printer from the IT department, but it is unclear when these updates will take place.  We will try to find out more information.  Also, Rob reports that our GC

e-mail system will be changing as of next semester to hotmail; there is opposition to the fact that

our e-mail addresses will be @student.gc.cuny.edu.

ESA Listserv:

Some students have been expressing dissatisfaction/discomfort with the way the ESA-L has been used recently.  Although the general consensus at the meeting (and the previous meeting) is that it is not feasible/good to censor and/or moderate the listserv, we do acknowledge that there is perhaps an on-going problem with the list.  There was a proposition to create a committee that would be responsible for creating guidelines for posts, but this idea was not supported by people at the meeting.  There was also some thought about creating a supplemental list for certain issues (so that there would not be too much clutter on the general ESA-L).  Any thoughts about this?  Please share your responses with us.   Just a reminder to students that there is a new, great resource for students interested in discussing teaching matters: please sign up for this list, run by Diana Colbert.  To subscribe, send an email to GCenglishteachers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Winter Revels will take place on Friday, December 14th at 5:30pm.  We are tossing around the idea of spicing things up a bit this time around by having a “theme.”  Is this something that people would be interested in?  Please share your responses.