CAFPRR: Minutes 10/08/21
Present: Natalie Eschenbaum, Maureen Fadem, Rania Jawad, Erec Koch (Chair), Michelle Massé, Patricia Matthew, Jesus Ramos-Kittrell, Anna Chang (MLA liaison). Absent: Anjali Prabhu (Executive Council adviser)
Erec called the meeting, which was again on Zoom, to order at 12:00. He then welcomed Maureen and Patricia as our new members. (Jesus was slightly delayed in joining us, and was welcomed upon his entry.) All committee members gave a brief self-introduction.
Michelle offered to take the minutes for this meeting. The minutes for our 3/19/21 minutes were approved unanimously.
Report on status of 2022 CAFPRR sessions. Linda Carroll was not able to join us to discuss “Strong Faculty Governance,” but Erec’s description, in tandem with Rania’s description of “When Normal is the Problem: Collective Undertakings within/against/beyond the University” assured us of two timely sessions that should draw strong interest. Patricia is a social media maven, and generously offered to help publicize the sessions.
Tour of Group and Site on MLA Humanities Commons. Anna gave us an overview of the Commons sites. Central features and discussion points included:
- the possibility of a public-facing site (with the crucial caveat that this would require monitoring and maintenance)
- the need to avoid duplication of files
- noting that discussion is possible through the site rather than through email
- discussion of whether group revision and commentary would function better through the site than through Google Groups or tracking changes in Word, with agreement that we’ll try the site for a relatively uncomplicated document
Revision of Guidelines for Search Committees and Letters of Recommendation. Natalie will incorporate revisions by 10/15 in light of MLA recommendation on remote first-round interviews & CAFPRR’s revised guidelines on interviews (“Do/Don’t”). Erec will contact the Graduate Student group asking for more specific commentary on some of their suggestions, as well as asking whether comments are the group’s consensus or individual responses.
Discussion with Paula Krebs. We reversed the order of the agenda, moving the CAFPRR 2021-22 priorities to later in order to have as much time for discussion with Paula as possible. Discussion points included:
- Convention: online/physical hybrid evolving, but promises to be successful
- MLA Handbook: work to assure steady revenue stream with publication of new edition rather than boom and bust pattern of past, in large part through library digital purchases
- Programs-Shifts in ADE and ADFL staffing through retirements and death have also provided a way to think about strengthened MLA Academic Program Services (MAPS) structure
- Publication: new publications on social justice, but also need to note repeatedly that MLA publications are about teaching, and not simply the august reality of PMLA
- Governance: improved routes of communication over the last few years
- Mission: continued sharpening of mission, priorities, and organizational structure
- Coalition building: ongoing work at collaborative advocacy with other professional organizations as well as higher-education groups
- Membership: ongoing discussion and efforts at making advantages of membership in MLA clear to contingent faculty, non-research emphasis schools, community colleges, and graduate students
CAFPRR 2021-22 ISSUES
Race/CRT: discussion focused upon whether we want to address specific issues and schools or issue broader-based statements that will be of use once immediate crises are past. Example: last year’s statement on Administrative Overreach rather than actions by specific schools. Intersectional statements may be more useful than whack-a-mole ones.
General commentary on the structuring of our issues
- Consider reorganizing our priorities from topics to issues such as transparency, advocacy, and equity.
- Be sure to include statements on institutional status and gender/race/age/ability as part of every major statement: the rights of non-tenure track (NTT) faculty to speak on/teach CRT, for instance, are one clear example.
- Be careful about overly casual use of terms. Faculty control of curriculum, as well as of promotion and tenure for instance, are not points of shared governance.
- Deciding on Covid-19 in-person teaching as a matter of shared governance (didn’t get to)
- Efforts to welcome Afghan faculty (Enjoli). Tabled to 10/15.
- “Housekeeping.” Tabled to 10/15.
- Maureen and Patricia will draft brief descriptions of proposals for MLA 2023. One will be on “Transparency,” referencing different university offices/functions,, and the other will be on academic freedom in a range of venues, such as Afghanistan and Palestine.
- Erec will contact DAOC to ask whether they might want to use their 2023 small-group session to discuss key issues for academic freedom as one way of getting general input from membership. Responses would help to determine CAFPRR’s 2024 sessions.
Meeting with Joe Fisher, chair, of Contingent Labor in the Profession (CLIP). We had a productive discussion that included issues such as the need for non-famous speakers at MLA, contingent faculty participation in governance, and recognition of the problems that scheduling presents in activities such as the convention for faculty who cannot readily cancel classes.
The meeting adjourned at 4:00 EST.