The Modern Language Association has a new report out today that contains recommendations on the future of graduate study in the humanities. The 40-page report is the result of a study conducted by a specially-convened MLA Task Force on Doctoral Study in Language and Literature.
The study was underwritten by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Lots of good recommendations. Some I agree with, some I don’t. Either way, I’m glad to see the MLA getting more involved in advocacy for change in higher ed. Having been a part of the presidential address in 2013, I can say with certainty that MLA executives and leaders do want to help; it’s just a matter of knowing how to best use their resources and influence. This new task force and its findings are a good step in the right direction.
The report summary boils down to these main bullet points:
- Redesign the doctoral program.
- Engage more deeply with technology.
- Reimagine the dissertation.
- Reduce time to degree.
- Strengthen teaching preparation.
- Expand professionalization opportunities.
- Use the whole university community.
- Redefine the roles of faculty advisers.
- Validate diverse career outcomes.
- Rethink admissions practices.
Check out the executive summary of the report for a more detailed explanation of each of these recommendations.