20.494 fixing the MLA's problem

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2007 06:44:47 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 494.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: "hinton_at_springnet1.com" <hinton_at_springnet1.com> (25)
         Subject: Re: 20.490 fixing the MLA's problem

   [2] From: "Ray Siemens" <siemens_at_uvic.ca> (21)
         Subject: fixing things

         Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 06:33:15 +0000
         From: "hinton_at_springnet1.com" <hinton_at_springnet1.com>
         Subject: Re: 20.490 fixing the MLA's problem

At St. Louis U., we fought for years to be able to allow dissertation
writers to use Xerox. I really think one of the reasons we won was
that carbon paper got hard to find. But later, when someone there
tried to hire me back, to work on Computing and Education, Research,
etc., the faculty response was that they didn't want any of that (and
possibly they didn't want me back, either).

But at what was then Sangamon State U, in Springfield, IL (now the
University of Illinois at Springfield), which was founded to be
"innovative", "free from old-fashioned academic prejudice", "boldly
looking forward", etc. -- the VPAA told friends of mine to tell me
that he could not bring himself to consider me for merit pay as long
as I worked with computers instead of producing scholarly texts of
unedited Middle English poems. (I went right ahead with what I was
doing, and sooner or later he was gone.)

HOWEVER -- these cries for abolishing English as she is studied are
neither new nor interesting. I got my doctorate in the late 50's,
and we were hearing this sort of stuff then and it surfaces
regularly, with or without appeals to modern machinery. And frankly,
it's boring and irrelevant.

My position is -- go and do what you think is necessary. And leave
other people alone. There is still plenty of good work to do in
traditional ways, and quite likely there always will be. And no
doubt there is good work to do your way too.I'm glad to hear that
student reject notions that the profession MUST be the way any given
speaker says it must.

         Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 06:37:10 +0000
         From: "Ray Siemens" <siemens_at_uvic.ca>
         Subject: fixing things

Hi Everyone,

I've read the postings associated with the MLA report with great interest,
and great sympathy -- for all the reasons outlined in, and underlying, those
postings. Like most of us, I've lived through those experiences too, and I
find the figures in the MLA report to be both encouraging and discouraging,
depending on the context in which I approach them.

A further context I'd like to add to our consideration is that of
professional pragmatics. To this end, I note that a number of us have
clearly benefited from efforts of the MLA CIT committee (see
http://www.mla.org/rep_it for its reports), and of course others. The
"Guidelines for Evaluating Work with Digital Media in the Modern Languages"
have pretty good bacon-saving potential; certainly I've used them in that
capacity, and know of others who have. A newly-hired colleague has just
used the "Guidelines for Institutional Support of and Access to IT for
Faculty Members and Students" to make his, and our, world a better place.
And so on.

Not surprisingly, a number of our community have served on that ctte, and
chaired it. And this discussion strikes me as an excellent opportunity to
suggest next steps to it. What should those next steps be?


Received on Wed Mar 07 2007 - 01:55:56 EST

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