President’s Letter

Deborah Finkel

October 2014

Dear AGLSP Members,

I am pleased to report yet another successful annual conference, Revolutions: Past, Present, and Future, in Philadelphia. Marylu Hill of Villanova University and Chris Pastore of the University of Pennsylvania were outstanding hosts, presenting an excellent program with 104 attendees including 51 student and faculty speakers.  Please follow this link to the post-conference survey to give us your feedback: 2014 Conference Evaluation survey . Your feedback helps us plan the next conference.

At the 2014 Annual Business Meeting, the following matters were addressed:

  • The association financials are sound; the membership approved the proposed 2015 budget.
  • Membership: as of 10/6/2014, 109 members were current on their dues. About 5 were still are in arrears for 2014. We urge all members to pay their dues as soon as they can.
  • The proposal to create a GLS honor society was approved by the membership. Michele Mrak, board member, will head the committee to implement the proposal.
  • Nominations for the 2015 Annual Faculty Award are now open. Guidelines are attached and will be posted on the website. We congratulate the recipient of the 2014 award, Professor J. Dennis Huston (Rice University).
  • We thank outgoing board members Stephanie Schechner (Widener University) for her leadership on the publications committee, and Bob Smither (Rollins College) for serving as President 2012-2014. The membership voted in new board members Martha Banz (Oklahoma University) as Vice-President and President Elect, Tim Boylan (Winthrop University) as Treasurer, and Michele Mrak (Southern Methodist University) and Chris Pastore (University of Pennsylvania) as members at large.

The AGLSP Board of Directors is also pleased to announce a new phase for Confluence: The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies. Dr. Ken Smith (Indiana University South Bend) has served as editor of confluence for 3 years and, as his term is ending, the board is taking advantage of this opportunity to rethink the journal.  The board has decided to use the transition to make two major changes:

  1. Confluence will move to online publication.
  2. Confluence will move to an editor-in-chief and editorial board.

Dr. Gary Swaim, of Southern Methodist University, has agreed to serve as our first Editor-in-Chief and Southern Methodist University will take responsibility for hosting the online journal format. Dr. Martha Banz, AGLSP Vice President, will serve as an ex officio member of the Confluence editorial board and will work with the Editor-in-Chief to establish an editorial board with representation from the several fields represented by Confluence submissions (e.g., poetry, literary criticism, history, social sciences, etc.). Members of the editorial board will share responsibility for review of submissions to the journal. This transition of the journal has two consequences:

  1. There will be no Confluence student writing award this year, but all submissions for this year’s award will be forwarded for consideration for next year’s award.
  2. We are recruiting individuals who would be interested in serving on the Confluence editorial board. Please contact Martha Banz ( if you are interested. Our goal is to have the editorial board established by the end of 2014.

As the transition to the new format of Confluence moves forward, we hope to be able to publish the first online issue in early 2015.

The annual conference and business meeting continue to be highlights of membership in the AGLSP. In addition to gaining useful information in running your programs and exploring provocative session topics, networking with fellow directors is invaluable. Please plan to join us next year in San Jose, CA, October 15-17, 2015, as we explore the ways that Place Matters. Stanford University’s MLA program will host the conference. Details will be coming your way shortly.

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Signature

Deborah Finkel, PhD
President, AGLSP
Director, MLS Program
Indiana University Southeast