Ask the Chair

Departments of language and literature are full of fascinating people and exciting opportunities. But they can also contain difficult people and trying circumstances. Fortunately, Ask the Chair is here to help you with your stickiest quandaries, from perennial problems to unique dilemmas. The ADE and ADFL Executive Committees invite questions, discussion, and requests for advice about department life at ade@mla.org or adfl@mla.org. Published letters will be anonymous; feel free to come up with a pseudonym.

Nickeled and Dimed

I need advice about a particularly “asky” colleague. From funding field trips and end-of-semester receptions for students, to course scheduling, to early (or extra) course releases, she’s quick to email…

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Inequity and the “Very Important Professor”

A couple of Very Important Faculty Members in my Department hold Endowed Chairs and Named Professorships, publish a lot, and have been doing things their own way for years because they are Very Important and Very Busy. No one likes petty paperwork or attending meetings but we all have to do it. What are some best practices for handling their small, but relentless, refusals to capitulate to bureaucratic norms?

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