2/19/2010 ESA Meeting Minutes

  1. The Elections Committee reported in absentia on the ongoing election for Graduate Council Representatives and replacement Cochairs. Nominations have been submitted, and there were 18 nominees for Grad Council Reps and 6 nominees for replacement cochair. The election should start next week once the nominees have responded.
  2. Jill Belli raised an issue about how the policy of people running for ESA cochair as pairs could lead to possible confusion. At the meeting, I was under the impression that the bylaws allowed the option of pairs running, but it turns out not to be the case. In fact, it even says that up to 3 cochairs are allowed to serve. If people do run as pairs, which I personally feel should be allowed to continue, those running as singles against the pair(s) will tend to be at a disadvantage. Or, in the case that there’s one pair running and one single person running, would somebody not intending to vote for the pair just vote for the one person? Or if there were two and two, then the two single people become a de facto pair. There are two obvious solutions: eliminate the chance for people to run as a pair, or require that all people running for the position run as a pair. I myself was against the former, since it makes sense to me that an individual might prefer to undertake the responsibility with somebody they know–as the conference co-chair election is set up. On the other hand, if we opt for the latter, I’d be concerned that this could potentially limit the individuals nominated. After much discussion, we decided to solicit the listserv for suggestions and opinions, and to vote on a resolution at the next meeting (after which it would appear on the elections ballot). I also think that if we’re making amendments, we ought to limit the number of cochairs to two, since there doesn’t seem to have been any desire to have more than two in the past five years at least, and that one of the cochair responsibilities added since the description on the bylaws involves hosting the program suite at MLA, and the program provides the funding for two and not three cochairs.
  3. The issue was also raised for a possible amendment granting committee members, including cochairs, the power of appointing replacements for members who resign, if there is no alternate candidate. I think it makes sense to trust each committee to do what’s best for itself without troubling the student body with an additional ballot. Again, your feedback is requested, and we will vote on a resolution at the next meeting.
  4. Jill Belli reported on behalf of the Faculty Membership Committee. As Steve Kruger has already informed us, the department offered the Asian-American position to Kandice Chuh, and she has accepted and will begin teaching and heading the globalization studies center in the fall. In addition, there is an ongoing intra-CUNY search for a compositionist.
  5. The phonathon is coming up soon. Due to the economy, fundraising is particularly important this year.
  6. Nominations for DSC and Graduate Council Committee members are live until the end of the month.
  7. This year, the ESA has a much bigger program allocation than in previous years. As in the past, most of our funding goes toward revels and the conference, but we will have some money left over which must be used or lost. What should we do with the money? A scanner for the department has been suggested in the past, but IT will soon be delivering a scanner to each department in the GC. Perhaps our other technological wants as well should be directed to IT instead of the ESA money. Sue Barker raised the possibility for holding a monthly social meeting over coffee to bring students together. Ashley Foster likes the idea of a coffee committee which could preside over such a gathering involving coffee.
  8.  I raised the possibility of having some student award. This could take the form of a travel grant for a student needing more funding for travel than the DSC gives, or it could simply be added to the department pool of money for dissertation awards. Jill raised the possibility of a course design competition. Students, whether they had taught the course or not, could submit their syllabus in competition for this award.
  9.  I received encouragement to continue with my plan to organize a professionalization workshop for careers outside academia.
  10. In addition, I raised the possibility of holding a university service workshop–explaining not just how to do service at the Graduate Center, but how service works in academia.
  11. All this talk of professionalization raised the possibility of forming a new committee on professionalization. I resolved to ask Steve whether there existed a faculty committee for the department professionalization workshops, in which case it would make sense to move for adding students to that committee.
  12. Meeting adjourned. Members in attendance: Mia Chen, Jill Belli, Ashley Foster, Sue Barke