1. Support letter Rice University
Ad Foolen (ICLA Secretary/Treasurer) suggested that we write a letter in support of the Graduate Programme in Linguistics at Rice University which has been under threat of being closed by the university administration (cf. postings by Robert Englebretson on FUNKNET and COGLING). Please find enclosed a copy of the letter that was sent out, signed by Ad Foolen and Maarten Lemmens (ICLA President) on behalf of the Board (and by extension, of the ICLA members).
It appears that meanwhile the Rice administration has removed their proposal to end the Rice graduate program from consideration by the Faculty Senate.
Even if this might be a somewhat unusual practice, it is still worthwhile to have an evaluation of the conference, to get a better view of participants' positive and/or negative comments. In particular, the 15-minute slot for presentations had been accepted by the board on the condition that this would be evaluated afterwards. For this reason, Maarten Lemmens set up a questionnaire via Google documents, in which this particular point was taken up. Other issues were also included in this questionnaire, based on individual comments that were made during or after the conference.
About one fourth of the conference participants (123) filled out the questionnaire. Maarten Lemmens has drawn up a summary report (see enclosed document). To keep matters transparent and readable, the free comments have not been included in this report. They have been sent to the Board members and to the organisers of the next conference. Members who wish to see them can ask Maarten Lemmens for a copy.
After the conference, Maarten Lemmens received an email (dated July 7, 2013) from Jennifer Hinnell (Univ. of Alberta, Ca.) suggesting that a position be created in the ICLA board for a representative of the graduate students. The board has welcomed this suggestion and suggests that such a position be created ("Junior Scholar representative"). This position would be reserved for PhD-students or post-docs (max. 4 years after PhD).
Maarten Lemmens has further suggested increasing the number of regular board members from 3 to 5, in order to allow for a more balanced representation of the ICLA community on the board, where notably geographical spread could (and should) be taken into account. As a result, the Board would consist of 10 members (instead of 8 now):
- 5 Regular Board members (one of which is reserved for the Junior scholar representative)
- Journal Editor
- Former president
- Conference organiser (or their representative)
The board will prepare the amendments to the constitution to be submitted for approval either at the next assembly or by electronic vote (allowed by the constitution).
The Board thanks Suzanne Kemmer (and by extension, Rice University), Martin Hilpert and Haowen Jiang for hosting and maintaining the ICLA webpage since its creation till now. Martin Hilpert has indicated that he no longer wants to continue to be the book review editor; this position is thus vacant.
The moment has come to fundamentally rethink and rebuild the ICLA website, so that it becomes a dynamic and interactive portal of a vibrant community. This website should incorporate various features, such as a member login, the possibility for a voting system, a dynamic membership database, streaming, etc. The Board suggests that, given the complexity of the matter, this website be designed/developed by a professional web designer. The costs are in the estimated range of 1,500€ up to 3,000€ depending on the features one wishes to incorporate. Keeping the info on the website up-to-date, once in place, could then be done by a webmaster or web editor appointed by the President and Secretary/Treasurer (as specified in the constitution; the web-master counts as a non-Board role).
To progress in this matter, the Board suggests the following:
- Maarten Lemmens is in contact with some web developers to design the new website and develop the required architecture
- the requirements for this website have been specified in a document (enclosed); if members have suggestions, they are asked to send them to Maarten Lemmens and Ad Foolen a.s.a.p.
- the Board will launch a call for the position of webmaster (contacting members directly, a posting on Cogling, etc.) and, if so desired, for a new book-review editor.
The Board is considering the possibility of separating membership and journal subscription; negotiations to that affect will be conducted with Mouton De Gruyter. This also has important repercussions on maintaining the membership database (now done via Mouton), but these issues will be developed in parallel with the development of the new website where we plan to have more dynamic membership maintenance tools.
The Board has been alerted to considerable difficulties that North-American members have faced with their membership renewal; we will look into this. Managing membership ourselves (via the renewed website) would be a good solution in the long run.
A think-tank (consisting of Laura Janda, Rong Chen, Ad Foolen, and Maarten Lemmens) has been set up to think about membership benefits. At present, this issue has not yet been discussed in detail. Suggestions can of course always be sent to the Board.