2/6/2015 ESA Meeting Agenda and Minutes

ESA Meeting Agenda

Friday 2/6/2014: 12-1pm, 5409

Present: Jennifer Alberghini, Austin Bailey, Ester Bernstein, Chris Eng, Becky Fullan, Paul Hebert,
Sarah Ruth Jacobs, Christina Katopodis, Alec Magnet, Elissa Myers,Yair Solan, Jason Nielsen, Wendy Tronud, Mikey Rumore

Announcements (12:00pm)

  1. Semester Meeting Schedule
    1. Feb 6, 2015, 12pm 5409
    2. March 13, 2015, 3pm TBA
    3. April 17, 2015, TBA
    4. May 1, 2015, TBA
  2. Other Announcements

Reports (12:05pm)

  • Report from Open Executive Committee Meeting in fall 2014 – 12/13/14

Professional Development: Mario mentioned spring program report on training and professional development for Middle States review. Idea was raised that students send in their c.v. to Mario.

Carrie reminded that forms of professional development training at other colleges might be included. [note: email sent on Jan 30th from Mario asking for copy of current C.V. and for student response to a few questions on training “received in Professional Ethics.”]

Diversity Funding: $7000 made available from Provost Office for diversity funding. Many Mentoring Future Faculty of Color events planned for spring 2015 semester. Mention made of possible use of funds to enhance English program Open House and towards possible travel expenses for underrepresented students. Mention made of two events related to Latino/a Studies and also a Women of Color in the Academy event in spring 2015.

Admissions: Carrie discussed status of admissions committee – they are beginning to review applications. She mentioned that she will solicit feedback from the program over ENGL-L for recommendations from students, etc., for applicants. Mention made of number of applicants last year or in recent years.

Application Fee: Fees are now waived for CUNY students applying to the program. Work done by Mario and Alan Vardy on this w/admin. Mention also made about hope or plans of trying to reduce the application fee for non-CUNY applicants. Carrie thanked students on the Admissions Committee.

Open House: Open House for admitted and waitlisted students on Friday, March 13th, 2015. Carrie mentioned list of many students that previously volunteered to communicate with new students.

Subject Test: Some discussion raised this semester at Executive Committee about whether or not to retain the subject test. Discussion will continue into spring 2015 semester.

Curriculum Committee activity leading into next year: Revisions to Comprehensive Exam to be considered, with full assessment in fall 2015. This assessment was planned for further on but moved up to fall 2015 semester. Also, possible revisions to “Introduction to Doctoral Studies” course in fall to take account of comp/rhet. One suggestion mentioned was a “history and importance of comp/rhet” section.

Course Scheduling: Changes made to course scheduling. Course descriptions submitted with fields and new rubrics on website. Twenty or more fields listed on program website, including new field listings, such as affect studies, Ecocriticism, and Biography.

Faculty Membership Hires:

  • Karl Steel (Brooklyn College) hired. medieval, animal studies, post-humanism
  • Siraj Ahmed (Lehman College) hired. 17/18th Century, trans-national, comparative lit, law

Faculty Membership Searches: Some or many of individuals mentioned will be guest teaching courses in next academic year – fall 2015/spring 2016. Names below were mentioned as possible candidates:

African-American Literature: Several names mentioned, including Jonathan Gray (John Jay), Tyler Schmidt (Lehman), Terry Rowden (Staten Island), and Kelly Josephs (York), who is teaching a class on Digital Caribbean fall 2015. Terry Rowden’s course “Metablackness” in spring 2015 cancelled but opportunity to teach it again.

18th century: Discussion of revisiting possibility of hiring another faculty member in 18th century. Names mentioned included Al Coppola (John Jay) and Ramesh Mallipeddi (Hunter)

Anglo-Saxon: Jay Gates (John Jay)

Modernism: Allison Pease (John Jay), teaching a course in fall 2015

Comp/Rhet: Amy Wan (Queens College), teaching in fall 2015; Carmen Kynard (John Jay), teaching spring 2016

Five Year Plan and Faculty Membership: Mario discussed results of request for feedback or ideas from program for committee working on five year plan report. Areas that came up for possible hires include –

  • Science Studies: There will be a Friday Forum in fall 2015 semester organized around the question “What is Science Studies?”
  • Textual Scholarship and Digital Humanities (David Greetham’s recent retirement)
  • Native American Studies
  • Latino/a Studies: possibly w/hemispheric studies. This mentioned in particular as an area of focus in program faculty needs.

Placement: Ammiel mentioned some MLA interviews scheduled.

Mock Job Talks: Ammiel mentioned mock job talks (past and upcoming). Ammiel said very important for students giving talks to have other student attend – best advice on talks can come from other students and response received to talks can make critical difference. Ammiel mentioned recent students hired, last year, after mock job talks.

Students in Program – Tenure Track Jobs: Mario mentioned since 2008, 55% in full-time, tenure track jobs; and 20% in full-time jobs that are maybe tenure-track. Over a three year spread of analysis, statistics “hard to understand” and job search is a “stacked process.” Carrie mentioned the difficulty of this issue in possible conversation … saying employment can take years. Ammiel said we do well overall, statistically, relative to market and other programs.

Post-doc Jobs: Allen Vardy mentioned the post-doc market and possible emphasis on post-doc employment opportunities and “rationalizing the 3 year period.” Ammiel mentioned that most people are applying for both: tenure track and post-doc. Duncan mentioned a forum for talking about this more and Carrie raised this issue as a concern in terms of recruitment … between speaking honestly, yet not capitulate to short answer because of the complexity or range of ways of getting a job. Duncan mentioned the possibility of a push towards CUNY or colleges creating post-doc lines (similar to what happens at Univ of CA). Mention made of having this made a priority w/Chase Robinson.

Mario also mentioned hiring at community colleges and that many students from the English program stay in NYC and stay w/in CUNY.

Possible event with alumni who had a long search and landed a job. Carrie mentioned having an event.

Reports from students on committees:

  • Admissions and Financial Aid
    Present: NONE; a report submitted by email
    Absent: Meredith Benjamin, Benjamin Miller, Melina Moore, Kristen Moriah, Frances Tran

The committee read applications through January, and met last Friday to make the first round of recommendations / cuts (depending on how you look at it). We received 197 applications, of which 23 were potentially eligible for MAGNET fellowships. Of these 23, 15 were selected by subcommittee members to be read and ranked by the full committee. After a discussion of these 15 top MAGNET-eligible candidates on Friday, the committee nominated 5 to a pool that will be reviewed outside the program, which will grant a total of 8 MAGNET fellowships GC-wide.

We then adjourned to subcommittees by alphabetical segment of the applicants to the program. Each subcommittee moved forward 14-17 top candidates from a list of ~40, in the process producing a combined subcommittee score for each of roughly 4-6 out of 6. These candidates’ applications are now being read by faculty “field readers,” who will rank the candidates in their fields; a multiplier based on rank will determine a final overall score, and offers will be made based on that score. The point, as ESA members no doubt remember, is to try to balance the needs of particular fields and the field-strengths and overall awesomeness of the applicant pool as a whole.

We received 197 applications, but can admit only 22 total (and then only if one receives a MAGNET fellowship; otherwise, 21). That puts our anticipated acceptance rate at around 11%. Note that the number of offers will almost certainly be larger than 22, because some of the top candidates will accept offers elsewhere. However, the initial number of offers will be limited to 21, to make sure that we can fully fund every member of the incoming class.

  • Alumni
    Present: NONE
    Absent: Elizabeth Goetz, Erin Spampinato

Elizabeth Goetz has been in contact with Joe Heissan in the Theater Program (DSC Alumni-Engagement & Fundraising Commission (AFC) Coordinator) about possible fundraising opportunities.

  • Conference
    Present: Wendy Tronud
    Absent: Iemanja Brown, Karen Lepri, Talia Shalev

    • Conference is 3/5 & 3/6
    • Need volunteers. A google form was circulated on the list-serv. Add your time preferences to the “Additional Info” box.
  • Course Assessment
    Present: Jennifer Alberghini, Mikey Rumore
    Absent: Robert Greco, Maria Stracke, Elly Weybright

    • Some confusion on questions. The form will be revised for Spring 2015
    • Results are tallied, soon to be added to the website
  • Curriculum
    Present: Wendy Tronud
    Absent: Elizabeth Lenn Decker

    • Meeting schedule has not yet been set; waiting for Mario to create an agenda.
    • Will send an email to the ESA-L to discuss upcoming issues.
  • Diversity
    Present: NONE; email received advising of upcoming events
    Absent: Rasheed Hinds, Sean Kennedy, Mekeba Lavan, Velina Manolova, Danica Savonick, Simone White

    • 13 February: “Critical Concerns in Latino/a Cultural Studies,” a roundtable discussion (Friday Forum)
    • 20 March: Alexandra Vazquez, Princeton U, will offer a lecture on Latino/a music in NYC (Friday Forum)
    • 17 April: Janet Jakobsen is a confirmed speaker at “Navigating the Academy” (Friday Forum)
  • Elections
    Present: Alec Magnet
    Absent: Alyssa Mackenzie

    • Nominations will be solicited at the end of March, in compliance with current bylaws
    • Nomination form will include descriptions of committees along with reports from sitting committee members on issues that will be taken up in the 2015-2016 Academic year
  • Executive
    Present: Becky Fullan, Yair Solan
    Absent: Joseph Bowling, Amanda Licastro

    • See Open Committee report above – Yair Solan and Becky Fullan also at Open Exec. meeting
  • Faculty Membership
    Present: Chris Eng
    Absent: Andrew Lucchesi

    • Extensive report submitted previous meeting. Andrew emailed to advise that the search for new faculty in Latin American literature has been extended – 3 applicants on the first call. The committee has not met this semester and has no immediate business.
  • Friday Forum Committee

Present: NONE
Absent: Hilarie Ashton, Erin Spampinato

  • Fundraising

Present: NONE
Absent: Hilarie Ashton, Sean Gerrity, Nate Mickelson

  • Job Professionalization ad-hoc committee
    Present: Elissa Myers, Esther Bernstein, Christina Katopodis
    Absent: Michael Druffel, Erin Spampinato, Maria Strake

    • Conference suite at MLA has a purpose as a safe space, both for this on the market and not on the market. This space is ideally not a student’s room.
    • One 1 GC faculty member went to program MLA event in Vancouver.
    • Is there a way to present events as not “student events” (more direct support from the Program?)
    • Committee will continue to solicit opinions via ESA-L and research what other programs and departments do to support students at MLA or major conferences. These will be incorporated into the report that the committee will make at the end of the month.
    • Acknowledgement of how much Ammiel does for Placement
  • Placement
    Present: NONE; report submitted by email
    Absent: Roya Biggie, Laura Eldridge, Megan Paslawski, Melissa Phruksachart

    • “This committee did not meet in 2014-2015. There was no handoff from the 2013-2014 group and no faculty members involved. Placement will need to be started up from scratch for 2015-2016.”
  • Recruitment
    Present: NONE; report submitted by email
    Absent: Jamie Shearn Coan, Robert Greco, Kaitlin Modello, Mikaylah Zagoria-Moffett

    • Our main focus in the fall semester was on the Information Session for prospective students, which was very successful. In the spring, we are preparing for the accepted student open house on March 13.
    • Feedback from prospective students is being compiled and will be reported on at a later date. Question was raised if any that attended previous open house might have applied to program.
  • Website
    Present: Sarah Ruth Jacobs; report submitted by email
    Absent: Dale Ireland, Sarah Ruth Jacobs, Trace Peterson, Mikayla Zagoria-Moffet

Website Committee: In the Fall, we investigated using other plugins to make event submission easier, but concluded that the current plugin is effective. We also found a widget to use to create an automatic RSS feed of English-related blog posts; we asked English students via the listserv to share their blogs, but as no one sent a blog, we will use the widget for general English-related blogs. We solicited recent student and alumni publications through the listserv, and added the most recent publications to the ESA site via a Zotero library plugin. We also added a form under the “Share” menu for submitting publications. When we solicited these publications, we asked for suggestions for what students would like to see on the ESA, but no one (out of about 13 people) responded with a suggestion. This semester we added Liz Goetz’s list of resources for teaching about Ferguson at CUNY. We are looking for additional features for the slideshow such as reviews of Friday Forums, so if anyone is interested in reviewing Friday Forums or even tweeting about them, please feel free to email sjacobs@gradcenter.cuny.edu and/or tweet using the hashtags #GCEnglish and #GCFridayForum.

Our goals this semester are to add a sidebar widget that has upcoming internal funding deadlines and links, a resource page with links to lists of external fellowships, and a resource page that lists the job application sites that Maggie Galvan found and previously emailed the listserv. Other more distant goals include adding “Teaching CUNY” resources from Talia Shalev, creating a student-sourced handbook, and linking to and/or creating featured posts from the Critical Karaoke contingent. The Program administration has been pushing Paul and indirectly the web committee to update the ESA website more often, which is probably a good idea, so we need to come up with a realistic strategy to add more featured slideshow posts. The program’s pressure on the activeness and up-to-dateness of the site is therefore something that needs to be kept in mind by current and future web committee members. Other things that might need continuous minding are the up-to-dateness of user profiles, as new entering students need to be asked to start profiles, new graduates need to have their profiles converted to alumni status, and current students need to be encouraged to update their info.

  • English Program DSC Representatives
    Present: NONE
    Absent: Hilarie Ashton, Balthazar Becker, Charlotte Thurston, Tonya Foster (At-Large Representative), Amelia Greene (At-Large Representative)
  • Graduate Council
    Present: NONE
    Absent: Elizabeth Goetz, Dadland Maye


  • Adjunct Walk-out on Feb 25 (15 min.)
    National Adjunct Walkout Day (NAWD), coming up on Feb. 25, Inside Higher Ed did an overview. The Adjunct Project is developing plans for NAWD both in concert with PSC organizers and separately — if you’d like to be involved in developing these plans, please let Sean Kennedy know. Given state law and other reasons, no one at CUNY is planning to “walk out” of teaching on NAWD, but there are other ways we can support this initiative, the first of its kind on this scale.
  • Updating the Bylaws (15min)
    With the anticipated approval of the ESA as a DSC recognized Program Student Association (PSA), this is a good time to bring the ESA Constitution and Bylaws in accordance with one another and with the way the ESA currently operates (see the draft for suggested changes – distributed at meeting). Any changes voted on happen at the end of the semester. Discussion of changes to by-laws will occur over ESA listserv and at subsequent meetings. [Note: email will be sent to ESA-L with draft of by-law changes]