CDI Meeting minutes – at MLA, Jan 4 at 11:30 AM EST

CDI members present: E. Nicole Meyer, Jason Farr, Jennifer Nelson, Eduardo Ledesma

MLA Staff present: Paula Krebs (MLA Executive Director), Ifeoma C. Kiddoe Nwankwo (Member MLA Executive Council); Terrence (Terry) Callaghan (Director of Administration and Finance; Staff liaison for CDI), Stacey Courtney (Assistant Director of Convention and Events, Staff liaison for CDI), Jana Owen (Lead ASL Interpreter), Nancy Sullivan (ASL Interpreter), 

Started meeting with Introductions/Presentations.

Executive Director Paula Krebs took the floor.

  • Thanked committee for service. Some remarks on the importance of the cross-committee meeting (to be held on Jan 5, 2:30-4:00) as a forum to share ideas and make connections with other committees that may have overlapping interests, including the Committee on Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Profession, the Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights and Responsibilities (CAFPER) or the Committee on Information Technology, among others.
  • Various ways of potential collaboration were mentioned, including collaborating on potential convention sessions but also issues beyond. It was mentioned that projects can initiate from cross-committee discussions rather than having to wait for the Executive Council.
  • One potential committee to contact would be Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights and Responsibilities (CAFPER), since as a committee it establishes professional standards for conditions on the ground for academics, and they might have overlapping interests/concerns with CDI.

General discussion:

Accessibility Guidelines for hiring? Do we need to revisit these?

  • Discussion ensued about whether CAFPER has accessibility guidelines, specifically regarding interviewing and department level issues. It would be of interest for CDI to investigate if these guidelines might need revising. Jason has already created a document for department chairs for campus visits that he could share.
  • Paula mentioned MLA is trying to revive “Profession” (the MLA publication). If CDI prepared accessibility and hiring guidelines could be perhaps placed in “Profession” to disseminate widely.

Other suggestions for MLA to help in its capacity as an umbrella organization help in its capacity as an umbrella organization. Nicole mentioned MLA already assisting in SAMLA, where the work the committee does can be applied to a regional conference.

Paula mentioned theme visibility as the theme for next year’s convention in New Orleans, although the convention theme is not yet fully formalized (trying to make it as inclusive as possible). The idea is to get away from binaries involving sight as the only mode of apprehension. Paula will bring back some of the ideas to MLA President Dana Williams.

  Jason suggested a potential session around the question of multimodal or multisensory, something like “multimodal and multisensory approaches to knowledge.”

 Discussion on panels for MLA 2025 (New Orleans)

Building on the idea of multimodality we revisited the panels we had already previously discussed in the November meeting:

  • Deaf Performance and Language
    • Disability and Hiring: access, accommodation, belonging, and retention
    • The Aesthetics of Mobility (eliminated)

Only two of these are guaranteed.

The committee settled on the first two left the third (The Aesthetics of mobility) out for now.

Nicole suggested the possibility to bring an actor from a deaf theater group to the conference, Terry said this idea could be suggested by the Committee to the MLA President. Jennifer has some contacts. Ifeoma said if it was someone local to New Orleans it might work better, and perhaps there could be some intersectionality considered as well (Perhaps in conjunction with the African American Literatures MLA Committee, something linked to African American theater, etc.).

Terry suggested the Disability in Hiring panel could also be a joint panel with CAFPER.

Terry reminded the committee that in addition to our two guaranteed panels and whatever third panel we might do in collaboration with another committee, any CDI committee member can propose a special session.

 The final selection of the panels:

  • Deaf Performance and Language
    • Disability and Hiring: access, belonging, and retention

ACTION ITEM: We will need to determine as a committee who will lead each panel. Jennifer might consider leading Deaf Performance, but this is still to be determined.

ACTION Item: Regarding the third collaborative panel on multimodal and the multisensory approaches to knowledge, or some other option, – Jason will talk to people at cross- committee meeting and see what the possibilities for a joint panel might be.

Additional Discussion:

There was a reminder to attend this year’s sessions.

There was a question about suggesting new members for the CDI committee. Terry reminded us the committee changes in July, when two members, Nicole and Mel Y. Chen will rotate out. Terry suggested to look for areas that are not currently covered. Think about both questions of representation, but also areas of expertise (i.e. a Librarian?). Ideas can be sent to Terry.

Terry said for committee to consider potential projects / questions / suggestions that are not convention specific….  Bigger projects for MLA don’t need to be convention specific. When thinking of an issue, make sure it is not something the executive council is already working on.

 Meeting adjourned.