12.0547 guidelines: the MLA's

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 19:10:31 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 547.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Matt Kirschenbaum (4)
Subject: Re: 12.0546 guidelines for evaluation

[2] From: Joel Goldfield <joel@funrsc.fairfield.edu> (117)
Subject: Re: 12.0544 guidelines for evaluation?

Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 19:12:56 +0100
From: Matt Kirschenbaum <mgk3k@jefferson.village.virginia.edu>
Subject: Re: 12.0546 guidelines for evaluation

The Modern Language Association's "Guidelines for Evaluating
Computer-Related Work in the Modern Languages" are published in the 1996
issue of the annual journal _Profession_. They're also available from
the MLA Web site at: http://www.mla.org/reports/ccet/ccet_guidelines.htm


Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 19:13:18 +0100
From: Joel Goldfield <joel@funrsc.fairfield.edu>
Subject: Re: 12.0544 guidelines for evaluation?

For guidelines on the evaluation of language & literature faculty
who use technology, contact the Modern Language Association of
America. CALICO and IALL are also working on statements.
The guidelines we worked on (MLA Exec. Committee on Computers and
Emerging Technologies in Teaching and Research) which were released
by the MLA in April 1996 are still available as a flyer, were
published in _Profession 96_, and are being updated by the current comittee.

One colleague in French told me that the '96 guidelines
played a critical role in his receiving tenure from the SUNY

I append below the e-version that Bettina Huber of the MLA
sent to me in Aug. 1996. I have replaced the instances of "^M" in the original
e-mail (representing bullets), with "O".

Joel Goldfield
Fairfield University

Guidelines for Evaluating Computer-Related Work in the Modern Languages

MLA Committee on Computers and Emerging Technologies
in Teaching and Research

The Statement on Computer Support, adopted by the Modern Language
Association in 1993, highlights the importance of new electronic technologies
for the humanities and provides the basis for departmental and institutional
support of modern language faculty members who use such technologies and
integrate them into their work. As the statement notes, "Generating, gathering,
and analyzing texts electronically is becoming a necessity for all education,
especially for the contributions made by the humanities." As a supplement to
the 1993 statement, the following guidelines address means of evaluating the
scholarship, teaching, and service of faculty members who study, develop, and
use electronic technologies in their work.

Because the role of computer technologies in the study of language,
literature, and writing is evolving, departments wishing to hire and retain
faculty members centrally concerned with the application of these emerging
technologies to the humanities need to consider the tasks, support, and
evaluative procedures involved. And faculty members who pursue computer-related
work as part of their formal assignments should be prepared to make explicit the
results, theoretical basis, and intellectual rigor of their work, as well as its
relevance to the discipline. The following guidelines, which deal with both the
hiring and promotion processes, are designed to help departments and faculty
members build productive working relations, effective evaluation procedures, and
means of disseminating the results of computer-related work.

Guidelines for Search Committees and Job Candidates

When departments seek candidates with computer expertise or when candidates
wish to have such work considered an important part of their positions, there
should be an initial understanding of the recognition given to computer-related
work and of what electronic facilities are available or planned.

Departments should ensure that computer-related work can be evaluated
within their tenure and promotion procedures. In particular, search committees
should be prepared to discuss the following with all candidates

O how the department evaluates research and publication in computers and
the humanities,

O what importance is attached to the development of new software and what
criteria are used to evaluate such software,

O what credit is given for the integration of electronic technologies into

O what recognition is given to professional activities relating to
computing, and

O what criteria are used to evaluate faculty members who provide computing
support to colleagues, staff, and students.

As candidates discuss the teaching, scholarship, and service
responsibilities of an academic position, it is important that they ask
questions, such as the following, about the role of electronic technologies in
the department and the university: Are technical support staff members available
to the department's faculty members and students? Does the department plan to
undertake initiatives in the use of electronic technologies? What access do
faculty members and students have to computer facilities and resources?

Guidelines for Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Reviews

Computer-related work, like other forms of scholarship, teaching, and
service, should be evaluated as an integral part of a faculty member's dossier,
as specified in an institution's guidelines for reappointment, promotion, and
tenure. Faculty members are responsible for making a case for the value of their
projects, articulating the intellectual assumptions underlying their work, and
documenting their time and effort. In particular, faculty members expecting
recognition for computer-related work should ensure that their projects remain
compatible with departmental needs, as well as with criteria for reappointment,
tenure, and promotion. Periodic reviews provide an opportunity to assess the
match between a faculty member's scholarly and pedagogical development and the
department's needs and expectations.

Because appropriate roles for computer technology in the study of language,
literature, and writing are still emerging, faculty members should be prepared
to explain

O what theory informs their work.

O why their work is useful to the discipline.

O the evidence of rigor and intellectual content in their work.

Documentation of projects might include internal or external funding, awards and
professional recognition, and reviews and citations of work either in print or
in electronic journals.

For subsequent evaluation of professional service, faculty members should
maintain a record of the duties involved in activities such as organizing and
managing a lab facility, increasing the meaningful use of electronic media in
instruction, training student aides or faculty colleagues, and moderating an
electronic discussion group.

Pedagogy and scholarship involving technology often entail collaborative or
interdisciplinary work. Departments need to find appropriate ways to evaluate
the faculty member's role in such work. This process may include finding
evaluators with expertise in both specific disciplines and computer technology;
these experts are best qualified to evaluate and translate accomplishments in a
rapidly changing field. Sources that may help departments choose appropriate
evaluators include the editorial boards of computer-related journals (e.g.,
_CALICO Journal_, _Computers and the Humanities_, _Computers and Composition_,
_Hypermedia_), the committees focusing on electronic technologies in appropriate
scholarly and professional organizations (e.g., the MLA, CCCC, ACTFL, the AATs,
NCTE), the courseware review sections of modern language journals (e.g., _CALICO
Journal_, _Computers and the Humanities_, _Computers and Composition_, _Foreign
Language Annals_, _French Review_, _Hispania_, _IALL Journal_, _IDEAL: Issues
and Developments in English and Applied Linguistics_, _Language Learning
Journal_, _Literary and Linguistic Computing_, the Northeast Conference
_Newsletter_, the Institute for Academic Technology's _Newsletter_ and _Research
Reports_, _TESOL Journal_, _Tongues Untied_, _Unterrichtspraxis_), _Humanities
Computing Yearbook_ (Oxford UP), and the latest edition of the _CALICO Resource
Guide_ (Durham: CALICO).

April 1996

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