August 26, 2013
Dear CELT members:
the new academic year begins, I’d like to take a moment to update you about
recent developments in CELT, particularly as related to the board meeting at
the Rejuvenation Conference in July. As
these are mostly announcements, I’ll bullet the list to keep your reading time
to a minimum. However, please read
carefully as there is important content here.
NEW MEMBERS We
welcome 7 new members to CELT! Thank you to the membership committee for their
work. All individuals recommended by the
committee were voted into membership.
The following lists the new member, his or her institution, and the CELT
member who will serve as the new member’s mentor.
Amy Barnhill, University of Houston-Victoria - Steve Trowbridge
Keri-Ann Croce, Towson University - Bess Altwerger
Deborah MacPhee, Illinois State University - Prisca Martens
Sue Seay, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Maryann Manning
Scott Ritchie, Kennesaw State University - Paul Crowley
Sarah Vander Zanden, University of Northern Iowa - Vivian Vasquez
Guofang Wan, Virginia Commonwealth University - Michael Shaw
MEMBERSHIP Given that we are welcoming new members, I want to take time to
remind existing members of our commitment when we accepted the
invitation to join CELT. Here are the commitments we made – what will you put
on your fall “to do” list to meet them?
Once an individual has accepted
membership in CELT, the member is expected to remain an active member of the
organization. Our by-laws do not provide for members who wish to belong, but
not to be active. Activities that meet the criteria for active membership include
1. Attendance at CELT meetings as often
2. Participation in CELT workshops,
writing projects, research, and other group sponsored activities.
3. Development of activities,
conferences, and proposals that involve CELT or CELT members.
4. At least occasionally, when working
with non-CELT members or by oneself, identify CELT as the organization to which
fees should be paid. These funds support each member’s research and
conference activities. Ten percent supports CELT general expenses.
5. Identify oneself as an active member
of CELT where appropriate.
6. Payment of annual dues. These dues
were initiated to help share the cost of CELT overhead expenses. Such
dues may be paid from the fees that have
been paid to CELT on the member’s
– Significant recent accomplishments to improve membership communication have included
moving the listserv to the University of Louisville where it is working well,
Alan Flurkey’s development of the CELT website, which is run through Square
Space, and increased activity on the Facebook page. Vivian Vasquez, Lori Norton-Meier, and Kathy Whitmore
have administrative access to the Facebook page, but anyone may post to the
page. Please check out the website for recent additions and remember you can
update your own personal information on the website, which was one of our major
goals. And please “like” our Facebook page and contribute to it to keep it
DUES – At the
last board meeting we voted unanimously to increase the annual dues to $75.00
(a $25.00 increase). As with other
organizations, our costs continue to increase and yet our dues have not
increased for years. This means if you
have an individual lifetime membership (previously $500.00 in your account),
you need to increase your individual balance to $750.00. In addition, the board agreed to create a
“hardship fund” that will be designated for members who are facing short term
or longer difficulties keeping up with dues.
If you would like to make an additional $5.00 contribution to the
hardship fund, please include it with your dues when Jerry Harste requests
them. Members will be notified that if
they are in hardship they should inform the treasurer who will access those
funds to help.
Related to active membership, one way we generate funds in CELT is
to indicate that CELT (rather than an individual CELT member) is the recipient
of a grant, consulting pay, or other contracts.
The overhead from these contracts increases our organizational account,
saves the member income taxes, and can cover lifetime membership dues.
Thanks to the legal expertise and great attention to detail of Ann Alexander,
the board discussed important updates to the CELT by-laws. Ann will bring the
changes to the next board meeting for approval at NCTE, at which time they will
be posted on the website for members’ reading.
The changes will bring the by-laws into alignment with our current
CELEBRATIONS – There are many reasons to
celebrate the successes of individuals and all of CELT as a collective. Many individuals will be honored and many
others will take on significant responsibilities as officers and leaders at the
next NCTE Conference in Boston in November.
The next collaboratively authored CELT book will be available at NCTE (Reclaiming Writing: Composing Spaces for
Identities, Relationships and Actions, Routledge, 2014), which includes
numerous members as authors.
When I began this term as President
of CELT 3 years ago, I encouraged us to look to our work and to each other with
a sense of JOY. I have a little sign under my desktop monitor
(a gift from Nita Schmidt) that reminds me every day in my office of the joy that
I feel when I recognize the privilege that I have as a faculty member. Yes, the meetings are endless, the changes
and limits imposed on us are infuriating, and the national (and international) momentum
is not pointed in the direction we would like…and yet, especially this week as
we remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s words and the spirit of his and others’
fight for equal rights, there is positive energy to be found and hope to keep
As you begin this new academic year,
I wish for you the time and opportunity to listen for and recognize the joy in
the learning that you witness and the relationships you build with children and
See you in Boston!