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Meeting (2018-10-22)

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 2 years, 1 month ago

UCSB English Department "Cross-center Strategy Initiative" (CcSI)



Meeting Time:       Monday, October 22, 2018, 2:30-4:00

Meeting Location: Transcriptions Center (SH 2509)

Meeting Zoom:     For anyone who needs to attend by Zoom please let Alan know in advance; we can use Alan's "instant" Zoom ID (default meeting Zoom):  https://ucsb.zoom.us/j/760-021-1662


Purpose of today's meeting

  • Initial brainstorming (see also the Google Doc "Drafting Board for Ideas" in which some of our pre-meeting ideas have been collected)
    • Topics: Overview | Cross-center programming | Engaging undergraduates | Publicizing | Funding & Staffing 
    • Some priorities as we plan: Connecting centers | "All-center" visibility for the department | Convergence of audiences | Undergraduates
  • Note: At the beginning of the meeting we will likely jump out of order from the "Overview" item to item #5 (Funding and Staffing Strategy) so that we can have Ben present for that. If there is time, we can repeat the discussion of #5 later in its proper order. Also, it may very well be that we can't get through all these agenda items in one meeting. Unfinished business will return on the agenda for follow-up meetings.


1. Overview

  • Current centers and expanding sense of "center"
    1. ACGCC (director: Candace)
    2. COMMA (director: Maurizia)
    3. EMC (director: Bernadette
    4. Hemispheric South/s (director: Stephanie)
    5. L&E  (director: Tess)
    6. L&M (director: Kay)
    7. Medieval Literatures (director: Heather) (Jessica Zisa)
    8. Transcriptions (director: Alan) (RA: Alanna Bartolini)
    9. Las Maestras (directors: Cherríe, Celia)
    10. Global Latinidades (director: Ben)
  • The description/definition of "centers" currently on our department website:
    • From the "About" page:
      • "The UCSB English Department offers courses in a full range of literary historical periods, national and transnational literatures in English, and critical approaches. It is distinctive for eight multidisciplinary centers that cut across traditional boundaries and allow facultypost-doctoral and visiting scholars, graduate and undergraduate students to collaborate on critical and creative activities. The research clusters reimagine what it is to teach the humanities, privileging collaborative knowledge-practices as the necessary complement to the traditional classroom. This model of balanced education is the foundation of a robust English major.
    • From the "Research Centers" page:
      • "The first generation of the department’s centers, started in the 1990s, include the Transcriptions Center, the Early Modern Center (EMC), and the American Cultures & Global Contexts Center (ACGCC). A second generation, Literature & Mind Initiative (L&M), Literature & Environment (L&E), Hemispheric Souths (HSs), the Center on Modernism, Materialism, and Aesthetics (COMMA), and Medieval Literature, began 2008-10. All the centers have a distinguished record of funded research, colloquia, and curricular “specializations” for students.  For more on the centers, please see this excerpt." 
    • From the "Research Centers Excerpt" (by Alan Liu) page:
      • (See the page, which contains an excerpt from an article by Alan that describes the center model)



2. Cross-center programming

  • Possible ideas:
    • Lecture Series (Maurizia suggests: "a trans-center lecture series organized around a topic that may interest all the different centers--a topic that may be approached from different methodological and theoretical perspectives, and therefore capable of respecting the specificity and work of each center")
    • Two- (or three-) center synergy events
      • A round-robin of center-center "what are you doing?" meetings each year (e.g., Transcriptions meets to share ideas, trends, with any other center)
      • Center-center events (eg., a Transcriptions and L&M event based on Kate Hayles' Unthought book) 
    • Transcriptions workshops on digital methods/tools for other centers (cf., Nicole Dib's Critical Pedagogy workshop series this year) 
    • Other ideas? 



3.  Engaging undergraduates in our centers (and helping to increase enrollments and majors)

  • Possible ideas:
    • Curriculum:
      • Starting center-themed courses that have the potential to become large courses (feeder courses into the major)
        • Example: Ken's course: English 22," Introduction to Literature and Environment"
        • Possible future examples? (Alan's idea for Transcriptions-themed courses titled "Telling Stories with Data", and "Writing for the Internet") 
      • Center contributions to the repertoire of "Uses of Literature" (English 11) courses
      • Creative-writing tie-ins to the centers?  (e.g., "Writing New Media Fiction," "Writing Climate Fiction"?)
      • Start center-themed courses with the potential to draw in Latinx, Asian-American, and other students? 
    • Research
      • Embed some of the Arnhold Collaborative Research Groups (and RAs) in the centers?
      • Undergrad RAs for centers?
      • Starting research projects designed to include undergrads
        • Start projects designed to engage Latinx, Asian-American, and other students?
    • Event Programming:
      • Designing events for undergrads and including undergrads. E.g.,
        • Speakers who are asked specifically to address an undergrad audience
        • Undergrad reading groups (c.f, Alanna's idea for Transcriptions this year)
        • Low-stakes "show and tell" and other formats (not necessarily poster shows)
        • Skills-building events for undergrads: E.g.,
          • "Learn to Present" workshops
          • "Build a Professional Web Presence" workshop
          • "Build a Portfolio" workshop
          • "Writing an Application" workshop 
        • "Spotlight" on a center event? (The idea is that the department would put the figurative spotlight each year on one or two centers' undergrad event, with the expectation that it would be an all-department, everyone-comes event. We can rotate the spotlight to other centers in future years. This would help us conserve our people power for specific events, rather than thinning it out across too many events.)



4. Publicizing the work of the centers and department (and helping to increase majors as well as to recruit grad students)

  • List Las Maestras and Global Latinidades on the dept. web site as "centers"?
  • Creating a coordinated online strategy:
    • Blog: Create a department "blog" on which we publish posts from the centers reporting on initiatives and events; publish interviews with speakers and alumni; feature recordings of events; show photo slide shows; etc.
      • Place special emphasis on reporting on undergrad events and projects. 
    • Social Media: Have centers draft tweets to be sent out by the dept "Social Media Director" on the department Twitter account (and also draft posts as appropriate for the dept's Instagram and Facebook accounts). Such tweets could be queued up in advance for posting, or they could be generated as part of reporting on new blog posts. We could also appoint grad students to "live tweet" center events. Centers would have their own hashtags, e.g., #ucsb-transcriptions. (Giorgina Paiella founded the position of Social Media Director, strategized and conducted coordinated work on this last year, and--as I understand--is continuing in this capacity. See her update below.)
      • Create timed social media campaigns for the purpose of:
        • Reaching undergraduates at the beginning of quarters (as well as just before each academic year)
        • Publicizing the dept. and centers in Oct.-Nov. before the graduate-student application deadline in Dec.
        • Publicizing the dept. and centers in March during the graduate recruitment season.  

Report from Giorgina about her role as dept. Social Media Director last year, which notes that she has already embarked on many of the ideas listed above:


"I’ve already implemented a lot of the social media strategies you mention, including hashtags for each of the centers that I created as a system for publicizing events and linking posts (#COMMA, #LitandMind, etc.) I also ran a “center/initiative spotlight feature” last fall for the centers and initiatives to highlight their RAs and the work their centers do, though only about half of the centers responded to be featured. I conducted mini interviews and photographed the participating members. I’ve also mentioned on several occasions, to you, Enda, and others, that the centers should use their respective accounts to publicize their events that we can then amplify through our main accounts, and to have grads and faculty Iive-tweet events. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, so I post by keeping an eye on the events that are sent out to the English listserv and share those events on our accounts unsolicited from the centers. In addition, I reach out to the undergrads each quarter with a message about staying connected with social media. And I ran a campaign back in June, which I crafted myself and sent out through the Alumni Office, reaching out to all of our alumni and encouraging them to stay in touch with news (many of them have and I’ve shared their news and helped build that network for our department)."




5. Funding and Staffing Strategy

  • Funding Development
    • An all-centers funding development strategy? 
    • Multi-center collaborative grant applications? 
    • Ben's ideas for Dept of Ed Title V grant (for HSI)
  • RA Staffing Strategy
    • Ways to share the available staffing funding for center RAs? 




Wrap-up: Next Steps?





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