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Dear Colleagues,

It is now less than a month away from our annual meeting in San Francisco, and I hope that you have all had a chance, despite the busy time of year, to check out the program at the website. The Program Committee has done an outstanding job this year, and there is a variety of offerings for virtually every interest in our wonderfully wide-ranging field.

I hope I might be granted a small indulgence if I call attention to my own Presidential Panel, to be held on Thursday, January 7, at 5 p.m. I have organized the panel to focus once again on the situation in which many of our colleagues find themselves, namely, as contingent faculty. Too often in the past this has been seen as an issue only for those directly affected, but this would be to misread the nature of the situation: it is very unlikely that we are seeing merely a slowdown of the sort we have seen in the past; instead, it looks as if we are witnessing a fundamental and possibly permanent change in the nature of higher education. The panel is intended to explore what we as individuals and what we as a learned society can do.

The speakers and their topics are:

  1. Eleanor Dickey, University of Reading: “Is there anything I can do? How individual academics can make a difference”
  2. John Paul Christy, American Council of Learned Societies: “‘So happy a versatility’: the Uses of Advanced Training in the Humanities”
  3. Stephanie Budin, University of Oregon: “What you do unto the least of these: Adjuncts and Painful Trends in Higher Education”
  4. C. W. Marshall, University of British Columbia : “Reclaiming the Landscape”

In order to hear a larger number of voices, I invite those of you with comments or questions for the panel to please send them to me ( so that we may integrate and discuss these issues in addition to those in our planned remarks. Please put ‘Presidential Panel’ in the subject heading of the email, and please send me your questions by December 29.

With thanks and best wishes,