Dear Fellow Members of the MAA:
We wanted to take this early opportunity to introduce ourselves to you all again and to say that as of Thursday, September 1, we have officially taken up our joint duties as Executive Director and Editor of Speculum.
We are delighted to assume our new posts and the responsibilities and opportunities for growth that they entail both for us personally and for the Medieval Academy as a learned society. Being in Cambridge once again is a delight (Harvard Square is decidedly not 42nd and 3rd in Manhattan!) and though we will miss our former colleagues at ACLS, the Medieval Academy has been most welcoming from the time our appointment was confirmed back in January. We are now here with the Academy staff: Associate Director and Associate Editor of Speculum for Articles, Jacqueline Brown; Associate Editor of Speculum for Reviews, Mary-Jo Arn; Assistant to the Directors, Sheryl Mullane-Corvi; and Assistant to the Directors for Communications and Membership Coordinator, Chris Cole. We are most happy to be working with these long-time veterans of the Academy, and we look forward with them to serving the needs of the membership and the larger scholarly community in the years ahead. We thank Director Emeritus Paul Szarmach for his gracious welcome and advice during our transition period this past summer.
Our three priorities for the coming five years are really extensions of the mission that has been entrusted to us by the Executive Council: the reorganization of the Medieval Academy offices, our finances, and our workflows and responsibilities; the digitization of the scholarly communication that the Academy produces: everything from Speculum, to our various publications programs, to a revived newsletter, blog, and calendar as part of a general review of the MAA’s web presence; and finally the further internationalization of the Academy’s efforts: everything from the coverage of articles in Speculum to our international collaborations with fellow medievalists around the globe. All this must be accomplished without diminishing the very high standards set by our predecessors as executive directors and editors of Speculum and by the MAA staff.
If you were at the annual meeting in Tempe and heard Treasurer Gene Lyman’s report, you will already know that there are serious challenges directly ahead of us for the Academy, chief among them being the MAA’s finances and operations, the reorganization of our journal and publications to meet the needs and reader expectations of the 21st century, and the immediate need to improve and increase the Academy’s services and benefits to its members. Any learned society is, after all, established and given its powers of self-governance so that it can create and spread useful knowledge not only among its professional members but also for the public good. In addition, given the challenges to higher education in general and the humanities in particular in the years ahead, a learned society must insure the transmission of skills and knowledge to the next generation of younger scholars who will succeed us.
It is our hope that we ourselves and the entire Academy office will help serve the President, the Executive Committee, the Council, the various committees and you, the members of the Medieval Academy of America, to reach the goals that you have established for this, your society.
This will be the first of many communications from us to you on news and issues that concern all of us as members of the Medieval Academy. We also look forward to hearing from you, to having your ideas and advice, to chatting with you at our various meetings and conferences, to receiving your news and calendar listings, your book proposals and submissions to Speculum, and to working together with you in the years ahead.
Our best regards,