As many of you know, nominations for the Modern Language Association Executive Council are anonymous, so I was honored to be asked to run as one of the graduate student candidates. The current council told me that my nomination was accepted based on my status as a graduate student, my experience as a part-time faculty member at a wide range of institutions, and because of my work in the digital humanities. Considering that feedback, I have composed an extended version of my MLA candidacy statement below to help voters make this very important decision:
Before starting my doctoral degree at the Graduate Center, CUNY, I taught in an adult literacy center in Baltimore, earned a master’s degree in English with a certificate in Teaching in the Community College in Chicago, and worked as an adjunct at three schools in Northeast Pennsylvania. I have taught in urban community colleges, large public universities, and rural liberal arts schools, all as a contingent faculty member. I began my PhD program after teaching for four years, and know what it is like to fight for course sections to make ends meet. I was fortunate to have mentors who provided professional development opportunities for me at each of those institutions, and for my colleagues who guided me toward the Graduate Center. Now, as a graduate student with an Instructional Technology Fellowship to support me, I have participated in and organized events exploring the issues surrounding contingent labor, especially in the fields of composition and rhetoric and digital humanities. I intend to focus on these issues if elected to the MLA Executive Council for the next four years.
My research agenda has developed from these experiences; I study the intersection of technology and writing through composition studies, digital humanities (DH), and textual scholarship with a focus on pedagogical practices. My investigation into the use of interactive technology in higher education leads me to consider how we can ethically integrate digital tools into our research and teaching, while providing access to educational resources and enhancing our ability to communicate and collaborate. This has led me to experiment with digital methods at every level of my work – including the creation, dissemination, and evaluation processes involved in my scholarship. You can read more about this work here: MediaCommons.
Recently the MLA increased efforts to pursue links between literary and composition studies and support work in DH. I see the connections between the computers and writing, DH, and literary studies communities as productive and generative. I believe an alliance between the MLA and CCCC (Conference on College Composition and Communication) would be particularly beneficial as we work toward labor equality and security. I have taken an active role in these ongoing conversations, and have participated in roundtables to address this at HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) and CCCC. I am also a part of the Writing Studies Tree team, which is a project I believe really exemplifies the potential of working in these intersecting fields.
As a woman who is the first person in her family to pursue a doctoral degree, I hope to advocate for equal pay and representation in higher education. This dedication stems from my work with the CUNY Pipeline Program, which seeks to diversity the professoriate by diversifying graduate education, and through my ad hoc efforts to highlight the scholarship of women in technology (see the all-female DH speaker series I co-organized for CUNY DHI). I am particularly interested in examining the standards and guidelines for those working under grant-funded and non-tenure track contracts. I have already joined forces with MLA’s new initiative Connected Academics in order to re-imagine doctoral education for both those seeking tenure-track positions as well as those interested in alternative-academic careers. Furthermore, I wish to continue the efforts of the MLA to envision the future of scholarly communication through open-access publishing and a critical look at evaluation practices across the academy. You can see my work on open-access publishing through my role as an editor and author for the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy and through my presentation on the topic at MLA.
I am happy to answer questions and have conversations as the voting period approaches in Fall 2015. I thank you for your time and consideration.