Sessions on Careers at 2016 MLA Convention

In addition to the Connected Academics sessions and events, there will be a number of other sessions dedicated to careers both on and off the tenure track at the 2016 MLA convention in Austin. Descriptions of these sessions appear below; please follow the links to the Program for the most up-to-date information on each session’s participants, time and date, and location.

3. Preconvention Workshop for Job Seekers in English

Session Description:

Representatives from different types of institutions discuss aspects of the job search, including career paths for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members; letters of application and recommendation; curricula vitae; interviews at the convention, by Skype or phone, and on campus; multiyear job search strategies; and negotiating an offer.

4. Preconvention Workshop for Job Seekers in Foreign Languages

Session Description:

Representatives of different institutional types discuss work and careers in AA-, BA-, MA-, and PhD-granting programs and institutions. Speakers address institutional expectations; navigating an increasingly complex market; the application dossier; convention, Skype, and campus interviews; positions off the tenure track and alt-ac; and negotiating an offer.

58. Speed Mentoring

Session Description:

Speed mentoring offers small-group mentoring on the job search, inside and outside the academy, focusing on applying to different institutional types; preparing a dossier; Skype, convention, and on-campus interviews; and nonacademic humanities career paths. Speed mentoring is not intended to replace one-on-one job-counseling sessions that can be scheduled at other times during the convention.

80. Using Your Language Proficiency and Cultural Expertise in a Federal Government Career

Session Description:

This workshop provides an overview of various federal careers that utilize skills in languages and cultural expertise—translator, interpreter, instructor, intelligence analyst, language analyst, foreign language program manager, foreign service officer, and law enforcement officer. Recruiters and subject-matter experts discuss career opportunities, ways to prepare for federal careers, and the application process.

192. Humanities beyond Humanities

Session Description:

This panel considers nontraditional professional environments for “practicing” a humanities PhD and examines the challenges of teaching languages and literature in small programs and STEM and military institutions.

193. Demonstration Interviews for Job Seekers in Foreign Languages

Session Description:

Demonstration interviews of candidates for positions teaching in foreign language and literature departments are analyzed and critiqued by audience members, interviewers, and interviewees.

308. Advising Masters and Doctoral Students: New Issues, Contexts, and Questions

Session Description:

For faculty members who support MA and PhD candidates at a range of institutions, panelists focus on best practices for individual and departmental graduate advising. Topics include: (non)academic career advising, successful PhD applications, CVs into résumés, preparing for new academic hiring protocols, internships, and translating academic skills to other careers.

450. Creating Academic Pathways for Translation and Interpreting Studies

Session Description:

Despite stellar prospects for professional translators and interpreters, programs remain rare. Few language students attain excellent linguistic ability, and academic pathways desperately need attention. Panelists provide examples of programs, offer strategies for navigating departmental politics, and present resources for educators who want to introduce this stimulating world to their students.

484. Advocating the English Major: The Department and Its Publics

Session Description:

How can English departments showcase the major to prospective students and their parents, campus administrators, professionals, and local community members? The participants consider this question with an eye toward discovering and disseminating best practices in the field.

514. Career Opportunities in Community Colleges

Session Description:

Faculty members in English and foreign languages discuss the career opportunities that exist in community colleges, with a special focus on job seekers who are starting their careers.

542. The Lore and Lure of the Academic Job Market

Session Description:

Panelists consider how discipline-specific “lore” continually lures graduate students and contingent and full-time faculty members into an already overcrowded job market. Instead of providing advice about getting a job, participants evaluate that advice and generate discussion about how it upholds common practices in graduate programs and academic departments.

566. On the Relation between Research and Teaching


596. Grad Experiences: Past, Present, Future

Session Description:

The presenters discuss practical ways to boost one’s opportunities on the job market and why we should value our professional experiences. They argue that these can help us obtain interesting jobs in language technology and language-education technology. Our goal is to promote intellectual curiosity and “post-degree flexibility,” which are themes that speak to the GSC’s mission.

608. Making Our Way in the World Today: Early-Career Scholars, Community, Publicity

Session Description:

Early-career scholars face a range of challenges in the changing profession, two of which are public work and communal practices. A diverse group of pretenured scholars discuss histories of and strategies for work that is both communal and public.

632. What Was, Is, and Shall Be an Academic Library—and Who Will Work There?

Session Description:

On the changing role of academic libraries, their workforce future, and professionalization of humanities graduate students. As demand for STEM expertise grows, what is the library’s purpose in twenty-first-century language and literature research and teaching? How are libraries addressing their constituencies’ dynamic, often digitally infused needs?

705. On the Emergence of a Teaching-Intensive Faculty Tier

Session Description:

The off-tenure-track faculty workforce, once considered temporary, is now permanent. The growth of this tier affects the educational goals of institutions and the professional identity of professors—and attention must be paid. Panelists address the professionalization of teaching-intensive tracks from perspectives centering on graduate students, faculty members, and institutions.

708. Privileged Publics, Disenfranchised Publics: Are the Humanities for the Working Class?

Session Description:

Panelists focus on working-class access to the humanities in a time of economic precarity, discussing such issues as: Who are the publics that humanities programs serve, and what are their varying obligations to those publics? To what degree do socioeconomic factors shape students’ study of the humanities? How can members of academic institutions best help shape public discussions of the humanities?

736A. Doctoral Studies in a Posttenure Age

Session Description:

What is the most useful radical-left examination of traditional doctoral pathways in the digital age, and how can the radical left mount an effective critique of reforms now being proposed from all sides of the neoliberal university? How can the research-teaching equation be calibrated to weaken, rather than intensify, academic labor stratification? Can alt-ac save us?


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