Dear Academy Members,
I really want and need to hear from you on two important matters.
First, I’m dedicated to building a Medieval Academy that welcomes and equally values the expertise of all its members, whether they be librarians, K-12 teachers, independent scholars, curators, early-career scholars, lecturers, post-docs, grad students, first-generation scholars, or tenure-track professors. To build this MAA, I need your help.
Whether you are a longtime member or are just starting out as a medievalist, tell me if you have felt that your expertise has not been valued or that your perspectives were unappreciated in this organization. I want to hear your frank views and experiences, no matter how negative—particularly if you are a scholar of color, a person with a disability, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community and have not felt seen and valued by the MAA. Email me directly (at firstname.lastname@example.org) or use this link to take an anonymous, one-minute poll: https://forms.gle/rz1Wg9mtdwgvDWPs5.
If you have suggestions as to how the Academy and I can do better, I welcome them. But you don’t have to have the solutions. That’s my job, and that of all members of the Academy’s governance structures. We’re here to serve YOU.
If you have friends and colleagues who have left the MAA, please share this message with them so they can contact me directly or take the anonymous poll. And urge them to respond frankly and forthrightly if they receive an “exit survey” of former members that the Academy will be sending out later this month.
Second, if you would like to shape the future of the MAA or help award financial support and prizes, please nominate yourself for an Academy committee. In September the MAA Council passed a motion to solicit annual nominations and self-nominations directly from members before Council begins its annual work in December and January of putting together slates of candidates for MAA committees. Look for the calls for nominations and self-nominations in November and please respond if you are willing to serve.
I know that in the past you’ve checked boxes on membership and renewal forms or directly via the website. But that is not working to bring enough fresh voices and perspectives into governance. Our elected councillors do their best to get beyond names they know, but the huge members-willing-to-serve list produced by our membership software, which is both unwieldy and sometimes unreflective of present availability, is holding us back.
So, we’re experimenting with a more direct and timely call. It will be a brief form that you can fill out in minutes and that allows you to indicate committees of particular interest. Because the Council must balance slates by field as well as by other factors, I can’t guarantee you’ll be appointed in this round. But I beg you to participate and make this experiment in more direct communication with members successful. Help us build an organization more responsive to YOU, our members!
With gratitude and best wishes,
Maureen C. Miller
President of the Medieval Academy of America