Modern Language Association Professional Development & Advocacy Social Impact Fellowship

Fellowship Description

This fellowship is an opportunity to learn to apply your humanistic interests and expertise outside a traditional teaching position and to develop marketable skills that will be valuable in both traditional academic work and in the larger humanities ecosystem of cultural institutions, non-profits, foundations, and other mission-driven organizations.  

Fellowship Goals

  • Developing a deeper understanding of the changing landscape of the humanities in higher education, from the challenges individual departments and programs are faced with to larger structural trends;
  • Gaining experience in building programs, planning events, conducting outreach campaigns, and collecting and analyzing data;
  • Growing a network of professionals within and beyond the humanities ecosystem through meaningful interactions and collaborations;
  • Learning first-hand about the office culture, structures, and workflows of a medium-sized nonprofit organization.

Desired experience and skills

  • Pursuing a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences;
  • Passion for improving humanities education at the BA, MA, and PhD levels;
  • Demonstrated interest in the value of the humanities beyond the university, and in the wide range of careers available to humanists;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to write for different audiences;
  • Effectiveness in meeting deadlines and managing multiple projects at once;
  • Ability to contribute in a collaborative environment
  • Enthusiasm for learning new skills and concepts; openness to asking questions and seeking help when needed.

Fellowship Options

As a Doctoral Fellow at the MLA, you will collaborate with our team to create and improve membership resources, with a focus on projects that support professional development for faculty members and department leaders and on innovative program change in higher education. In addition to assisting with the planning and administration of some of our most successful projects, including the MLA Annual Convention, the MLA Institute on Reading and Writing Pedagogy,  and the ADE-ADFL Summer Seminars, the Fellow will contribute in one of the following areas (please indicate which you prefer in your statement of interest). 

Professional Development and Advocacy OR  Data and Advocacy 

Professional Development and Advocacy Fellow

The Fellow with collaborate with MLA Programs staff on the design, planning, delivery, and assessment of online and in-person professional development activities, including: 

  • The 2022 ADE-ADFL Virtual Summer Seminar for Department Administrators. The ADE-ADFL Seminars are a unique resource for leaders and administrators of academic programs and departments. Each year, these seminars connect chairs, program directors, and other current and future department leaders to a network of peers and colleagues from around the country. The seminars offer intensive workshops and informational sessions on best practices, trends, challenges, and proven strategies for success in the leadership of language and literature programs.
  • Professional development webinars for faculty members. Building on the success of the ADE-ADFL Seminars for department leaders, the MLA is developing a new series of webinars for faculty members. Partnering with the ADE and ADFL executive committees, MLA staff will create 90-minute webinars on a diverse set of topics such as developing a global literatures curriculum, career preparation for majors, turning the dissertation into a book, and reviving department culture and civility after Covid.
  • Faculty training workshops on transforming graduate education. 
  • Professional development workshops for graduate students. Advice for current Ph.D. students, at any stage, on how to set themselves up for personal success and collective empowerment and prepare for a variety of career outcomes. 

Janine Utell, the MLA Program Manager for Professional Development, will serve as mentor, collaborating with the Fellow to identify strengths and interests in humanities-related professions and to facilitate reflection on possible career paths.  The Fellow will be expected to meet with their mentor on a biweekly basis to discuss their projects and how they contribute to their own professional development.

Your Host

MLA logo

The Modern Language Association, based in New York City, is one of the world’s largest scholarly associations, with approximately 25,000 members in nearly 100 countries. The MLA promotes the study and teaching of languages and literatures through its programs, publications, annual convention, and advocacy work. The organization sustains a wide-ranging print and electronic publishing program that includes books, journals, style guides, and an international bibliography. The MLA is a leader in supporting the humanities within and outside academia. Diversity, inclusion, and workplace equity are at the core of our culture, policies, and practices. 

SIF Mentor

Janine Utell
Program Manager for Professional Development at the Modern Language Association

Janine Utell is Program Manager for Professional Development at the Modern Language Association.  Prior to taking on this role, she was Professor and Chair of English and Creative Writing at Widener University in Chester, PA.  She is currently the President of the Modernist Studies Association, and is the author or editor of several books.  

Current & Former MLA Fellows

Andrew Meraz-Quiroz, GS, SLA
Social Impact Fellow

Andrew works primarily on Russian prose of the 20th century and is especially interested in the forms and functions of short-form prose. His scholarly interests include, among others, the development of the Russian novel, its initial reliance on and eventual departure from Western models (in particular, the French novel), and Russian and Soviet imperialism. He works in English, Russian, and French.

Lidia Tripiccione, GS, SLA
Social Impact Fellow

"I was born and raised in Italy, where I earned my BA in foreign languages (German and Russian) and my MA in Philosophy of Language. After that, I moved to Princeton and I am currently a rising fifth-year student at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. I am interested in the reception of Russian and Soviet theories of literature in the USA and several European countries during the Cold War."