Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs

Open Letter to the Membership

Summer Update, Fall and Conference Info

Dear AGLSP Colleagues,

It’s my honor to bring you greetings on behalf of the AGLSP Executive Board, and provide you with a brief update from our annual summer board meeting.  During our time together, we welcomed our newest Board member, Dr. Paul Morris, Program Director of the MLS program at Arizona State University.  We’re grateful Paul agreed to finish the term originally filled by Dr. Larry Knopp, former director of the MLA program at University of Washington-Tacoma.  We’re grateful to Larry for his service on the Board and wish him well in all his future endeavors.

Martha Banz, President AGLSP


Our time together as a Board was very productive, both to receive updates as well as to brainstorm about activities the Association can provide to support you, our member programs, more effectively.  We celebrated the fact that we now have 11 member institutions with Student Honor Society chapters, six having joined since the time of the 2016 conference.  Those with Honor Society chapters report it as being a very positive addition to their programs and we, as a Board, strongly encourage all our member institutions to consider this possibility.  If you have questions about the process or would like to explore the possibility of adding an Honor Society chapter, please feel free to contact Rebecca Sharp-Sanchez (rksharp@rice.edu) for more information.

The Board unanimously renewed the appointment of Dr. Steven Burr to serve as Editor for Confluence for a three-year term, expressing profound appreciation for his work in building a strong Editorial Board, in migrating the journal to its new web platform, and in developing a rolling submission procedure so that more works can be featured.  New levels of Confluence sponsorship were approved and the Board brainstormed a number of possibilities for expanding the reach, influence, and utility of the journal.  In an attempt to generate greater visibility and traffic for the Confluence, the Board also approved action allowing non-AGLSP authors to submit their work for consideration, provided that the publication would follow no less than an 80%/20% balance of member/non-member representation to assure that the journal remains closely affiliated with the Association. Consideration is also being given to the development of a repository platform for providing links to lengthier academic documents (theses, capstone projects, etc.) that may be of interest to our members, as well as to expanding the submissions categories even further to include a wider range of creative and visual projects.

A major action of the Board centered around activities we will provide in lieu of the annual conference.  We continue to feel strongly that we want to find alternative ways to support our member institutions, directors, and students in their academic endeavors, despite our having had to cancel the normal on-site conference activity.  To that end, we have developed a two-part AGLSP Virtual Conference, which will offer activities throughout the coming academic year. The first part, AGLSP Virtual Conference – Director/Faculty Forum, is designed to foster dialogue among program directors and faculty, and will build on the data provided through the annual membership survey (which you should be receiving soon, if you haven’t already!).  We encourage you to complete the member survey and to register for this faculty-oriented workshop.

To support students throughout our member programs, we are also pleased to announce preliminary details for a ‘Student Forum’ workshop series that will take place throughout the 2017/18 academic year. Designed to offer students and recent alumni all the benefits of the in-person conference experience, the AGLSP Virtual Conference – Student Forum will consist of three phases: ‘Pre-Conference,’ to be held in October/November 2017; ‘Conference,’ to be held in February/March 2018; and ‘Post-Conference,’ to be held in May/June 2018. Each phase will consist of both static and interactive information regarding all aspects of the conference experience – from developing a concept and writing an abstract, through presenting work, to manuscript revision toward publication. Additionally, each phase will also feature ongoing online engagement activities – such as submission and evaluation of sample abstracts, ‘live’ paper presentations, curated online poster sessions, online ‘coffee house’ discussion forums and Q&A sessions, and opportunities to submit work for review and possible publication. The registration link to the AGLSP Virtual Conference – Student Forum is located here. Please forward information about this learning opportunity to your students and encourage them to participate!

As a Board, we are grateful to all our member institutions, directors, faculty, students, alumni, and friends for your support of the Association, and best wishes for a successful year ahead!

Best regards,
Martha L. Banz, Ph.D.
President, AGLSP