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Letter to the Membership, 2 October 2013

Thank you for your participation. The proposal is closed to new comments. We invite you to learn more about the next steps in the process here.

Dear Colleagues,

If you’ve already commented on the open discussion on the MLA’s group structure, we thank you for your contribution to this important discussion. If you haven’t yet commented, we encourage you to join the conversation. The draft proposal for a revised group structure will be available for comment on MLA Commons until 20 November. We welcome your suggestions, large and small.

So far, a number of colleagues have praised, critiqued, offered suggestions on, and expressed deep concerns over some elements of the proposal. These thoughtful and frank comments have provided important feedback for the working group, the Program Committee, and the Executive Council to consider.

As you review the proposal, you may find it helpful to look at the proposal in relation to the present list of divisions and discussion groups. In addition, please keep the following in mind:

  1. All aspects of the draft proposal are up for discussion and additional review.
  2. A revised version of the proposal will be presented for further debate at the Open Hearing on the Future of the MLA Divisions and Discussion Groups and the meeting of the MLA Delegate Assembly at the MLA convention in January.
  3. It will be most useful to us if you look at the proposed groups separately from the important question of session allocation. Note that all groups will retain all their guaranteed sessions during the five-year transition period, even if they consolidate with other groups. The number of guaranteed sessions each group will have (one, two, or more) will be determined during every five-year review, and groups will be able to articulate their needs and plans as part of the review process. Criteria for session allocation are being developed by the Program Committee and will balance size of group membership and session attendance with evidence of a group’s activities.
  4. The proposed new groups (in orange) constitute invitations for concrete conceptualization from members. It is not too early to express interest in leading them and to talk to colleagues who might wish to design them with you.
  5. Additional new groups and a number of other changes have been suggested in the comments on the draft proposal, and we would benefit from more feedback on these ideas.

We are grateful for comments not only on new or reconfigured groups but on groups that remain the same or that have had only small name changes. We don’t want to assume that silence equals consent.

With thanks for your participation,

Marianne Hirsch and Margie Ferguson

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