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News & Press: AAALetter

From the President

Wednesday, December 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim McNamara
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As we move towards the New Year and the forthcoming conference in Chicago, the Executive Committee of the Association has been working on a number of issues. At our recent mid-year meeting in Chicago, arguably the most important item on the agenda was the discussion of the set of sixteen specific issues identified by the Task Force on the Implementation on the Resolution on Diversity, whose members included Manka Varghese, Glenn Martinez, Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, Peter De Costa, Laura Collins, and Kathi Bailey (Chair). It was extremely helpful to have such a specific set of points to consider.

I’m pleased to report that the discussion on the Executive was extensive and very constructive.  The main outcome was a decision to create an Ad Hoc Committee, permitted under the Standing Rules of the Association, to advise the Executive Committee on the implementation of the Diversity Resolution. I have asked Peter De Costa to chair this committee.  Its membership includes Suresh Canagarajah, Manka Varghese, Glenn Martinez, Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, Liz Miller and Andrea Revesz, and two graduate student members from Peter’s institution, Dan Isbell and Christina Ponzio. Matters to be addressed by the Ad Hoc Committee include but are not limited to the following:

  • preparing questions on the implementation of the Diversity Resolution to be included in the bi-annual membership survey, specifically on how well AAAL has been addressing the issues in the 2013 Resolution and how best to address these issues
  • looking at mentoring models of other professional associations used in the mentoring of diverse doctoral candidates and early career scholars, with a view to introducing a similar program
  • looking at the conference programs from 2013-2017 (i.e., across five conferences) to see how and to what extent diverse topics have been discussed in AAAL presentations, including not only ethnic and linguistic diversity but also questions of sexual orientation, disability and so on

The Committee will report to forthcoming meetings of the Executive Committee, by Skype in January, and in person immediately before the conference in Chicago. In addition, the Executive Committee passed a resolution altering the Standing Rules of the Association in relation to the conference, to the effect that the organization of the conference, including the appointment of Strand Coordinators and Reviewers, should be informed by the Resolution on Diversity.  Other changes involving the conference are that Conference Chairs will consider allowing submission and presentation in languages other than English; and that the Immediate Past President and a representative of the Graduate Student Council may serve in a consulting role to the Conference Chair.

It was noted that the existing plentiful opportunities for individuals of diverse backgrounds to be involved in the activities of AAAL are not being adequately communicated to the membership. We hope that this edition of the Newsletter will demonstrate the roles members may play in determining the direction of the Association.   I hope you will agree that these outcomes represent a creative and appropriate response to the letter from the members.  I am grateful to the signatories of the original letter for taking the initiative in raising their legitimate concerns with the Executive, an example of the way in which we believe that processes in the Association facilitate the voicing of the concerns of members, and acting upon them.

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