University of Queensland
July 8, 2010
Piers Kelly, Hugues Peters, Dorothea Hoffman, Peter Collins, Jean Mulder, Lesley Stirling, Wendy Allen, Kate Burridge, Carsten Levisen, Michael Walsh, Erich Round, Sarah Cutfield, Rob Mailhammer, Nick Thieberger, Daniel Willis, Peter Wylie, Diana Eades, Jeff Siegel, Karen Sullivan, Yvonne Treis, Rik de Busser, Felicity Meakins, Rob Pensalfini, Nick Reid, Doug Absalom, Jane Simpson, Harold Koch, Jo Caffery, Patrick McConvell, Tom Mylne, Mary Laughren, Jean Harkins, David Nash, Bill Palmer, Henry Fraser, Hongbing Hannah Li, Jennifer Peck, Celeste Rodriguez Louro, Andrea Schalley, Brett Baker, Keith Allan, Ilana Mushin, John Henderson, Alan Dench
The President, Alan Dench, opened the meeting at 4:35pm.
Michael Clyne, Lyn Wales, Mark Harvey, John Hajek
2. Minutes of the 2009 AGM
The President moved that the minutes be accepted. Seconded by John Henderson. Passed.
3. Matters arising
Following discussion by the Executive a submission was made to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority in relation to Grammar in the Australian Curriculum (K-10). Concerns were expressed about the nature and quality of the early materials: Rodney Huddleston had made a detailed assessment of some documents and identified inconsistencies and errors (for which the President expressed thanks on behalf of the Society). Linguists should be involved in the development of the curriculum: they will be involved in training teachers and will inherit the results of the curriculum in university programs.
Indigenous Education Action Plan Draft 2010-2014
A joint response was made with ACTA (Australian Council of TESOL Associations) and ALAA.
Senate Inquiry into the Administration and Reporting of NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) Testing.
A joint submission with ACTA and ALAA.
Michael Walsh reported that the national curriculum process is up to stage two. A ‘shape paper’ is being developed by Angela Scarino, jointly with Jackie Troy in relation to Indigenous languages. National committee is chaired by Jo Lo Bianco, and with Michael providing expertise in the area of Indigenous languages. Colloquium addressed question of how much Linguistics in the curriculum. There is also an Expert Group on Indigenous languages. Submissions should be made now to shape paper.
The President met with Andrew Wells (Executive Director HCA and Acting Executive Director SBE) to discuss ERA and the representation of Linguistics in the College of Experts, 6 April 2010. Andrew Wells offered to address the AGM to discuss ERA and other issues but the dates had not worked out.
The President addressed the meeting on the discipline’s position in the ARC processes. He pointed out that ARC panels are broadly representative of the areas they cover but do not strictly represent each individual discipline. Sasha Aikhenvald had been appointed to the College late in 2009 but has since resigned. As is the case at present, there has not always been a linguist on the College of Experts.
He reported that there were perceptions that linguists providing reviews of applications and/or corresponding with the ARC appear to be more negatively critical of each other than is found with other disciplines. He appealed to members to take a positive and constructive approach.
Bill Palmer commented that reviewers can engage with applications to give good constructive comments, and that we wouldn’t want to lose the value of that degree of engagement. Alan agreed that good reviews provided robust, objective and evidence based critiques of proposals and that this was to be encouraged, but observed that should a negative tone shade into personal criticism, this was not helpful to the discipline as a whole.
Linguistics is grouped with languages, Literary Studies, Communication Studies and Cultural Studies in the two-digit Field of Research codes and it is likely that ARC processes will increasingly place Linguistics in this broader grouping. Alan reported that in the ERA trial of the HCA area, Linguistics ranked very well and rated above world average at the national level. The quality of Australian linguistic research is obviously high and greater recognition of the quality of this research would be enhanced by more constructive interaction between the various branches of the discipline.
Concerns so far expressed about ERA had related mainly to journal rankings and the consultation processes involved in achieving these rankings. Alan argued that while there might be surprise at the relative rankings of specific journals within a wide field, it was important to respect the relative rankings of journals made within sub-fields of a broad discipline such as ours.
He also suggested that our opportunities to contribute to the ongoing development of the National Curriculum would be enhanced if the discipline could speak with a unified voice and avoid as much as possible bringing (tangentially relevant) internal disputes into its professional relationships with bodies such as ACARA.
Membership of ARC Panels
Nick Thieberger asked about the process of appointment of ARC panel members and the Society’s role in this. Alan reported that the Executive has received expressions of concern about the appointments of individual panel members from time to time, but has felt that it would be inappropriate for the Society to demonstrate bias for or against individual members.
Brett Baker asked whether the Society can contribute to the appointment of panel members. Alan explained that the nominations are made by universities through Deputy Vice-Chancellors Research, and that members/departments could certainly write to the relevant institution supporting an internal nomination. He reported that he had over a number of years encouraged various linguists to nominate for the panels but without success. Jane Simpson pointed out that a number of linguists had nominated in the past year and asked whether one would fill the present vacancy. Jeff Siegel commented that a Linguistics position had been identified. Alan responded that while the ARC generally indicated that it was seeking nomination in specific areas, such as Linguistics, it did not operate on the assumption of strict disciplinary representation and so did not necessarily recognise a ‘vacancy’. Individual appointments were made to ensure a spread of broad expertise within a panel and across the College of Experts as a whole.
The successful applicants for the prizes/scholarships this year are:
Michael Clyne Prize 2010 (jointly awarded with ALAA)
Dr Ruth Fielding, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. For her 2009 PhD thesis entitled: ‘Speaking two languages: A study exploring how young bilingual students identify with being bilingual’
Gerhardt Laves Scholarship 2010
James Collins, Linguistics Honours student, University of Sydney. To undertake fieldwork on the syntax-morphology interface of Samoan
Susan Kaldor Scholarship 2010
Sally Dixon, Linguistics PhD student, University of Sydney. To attend a practicum on Conversation Analysis at Loughborough University, UK, in support of her PhD topic using CA to investigate code-switching in interaction in aboriginal child language
For each of these, there were two applications. The President congratulated Sydney University for these excellent achievements, noting that the majority of applications had come from USyd. He encouraged other departments to encourage applications from their students.
Nothing to report.
A financial statement was circulated to the meeting. See separate report.
4.4 Journal Editors
See separate report [Editor's note: For the report, please contact Keith Allan on Keith.Allan-at-arts.monash.edu.au]. Harold Koch pointed out that the front matter in the journal has had out-of-date information on the membership of the Executive. Keith undertook to fix this, suggesting instead a simple link to the current list of Executive members on the Society’s website. He also asked members to contact him directly with any comments on the journal. Diana Eades moved a vote of thanks to Kate Burridge, who has now stepped down as co-editor. Passed by acclamation.
4.5 Associate Secretary (Newsletter Editor)
Tim Curnow submitted a written report which was read to the meeting:
My apologies for not being present at the AGM — I’m at a conference in NZ at the moment. From my point of view, this year has once again gone smoothly as far as the website, Newsletter and ALS Online are concerned. The Newsletter in particular, I feel, keeps us all somewhat connected and aware of what is going on in linguistics across the country.
After 10 years of being the Associate Secretary for ALS, I feel it’s time for me to retire from this position. Not just because in my current job I keep missing every second AGM (!), but more because after 10 years of me running website and newsletter, it’s probably time for some revitalisation, and the easiest way to ensure that happens, to my mind, is to let someone else with new ideas take over the job.
I’d like to thank everyone in the Society who has assisted me in this position over the last decade. While I might be the one who puts the newsletter together and keeps the website going, I’m not the generator of the news and information. My job has relied on the many members of the Society who send me news and gossip, and who let me know when I’ve forgotten to update the website to mention the latest ALS conference! Without that input from many people, there is nothing to put in the newsletter or up on the website. So thank you all very much, and I hope the new Associate Secretary continues to enjoy the support I’ve received in this position, and enjoys it as much as I have!
The President moved a vote of thanks to Tim for his service to the Society. Passed by acclamation.
4.6 CIPL Representative
No report received.
4.7 Pacific Linguistics Representative
David Nash made a brief representation on behalf of PL, requesting a further grant of $5000. John Henderson suggested that this should be held back pending a review of the Society’s capacity to sustain our capital base over time. Harold Koch queried how long this would be held back. Brett Baker suggested that the Society make the grant this year but review our position for next year. Ilana Mushin asked whether this was budgeted for annually. The President responded that the decision in the past had been to consider it year by year, and specifically not to commit to a regular payment. He also noted that the Society expected a rationale for the request each year from PL. David Nash reported that Andy Pawley could provide a general rationale, and that there are plans for some restructuring of PL to make it more efficient. He pointed out that a major cost at PL is the cost of the quality technical copy-editing which maintains the high quality of PL publications. Bill Palmer suggested that the Society make the PL grant a regular payment by default, but with an annual review, and a report on the financial situation for the next AGM. John Henderson commented that the issue is the priority of PL relative to the Society’s other regular scholarship and other commitments, given that there is only a limited amount of return on investments that can be disbursed each year without eroding our capital base. Brett Baker reported that he was unable to confirm that we could afford to make a regular commitment to PL. Alan Dench agreed that we need more information on our financial status over time. Doug Absalom supported this, pointing out that we need to be careful not to over-commit. Harold Koch reminded the meeting that the Society had been given representation on the board of PL in exchange for the grant in earlier years, and asked whether this would be continued in the grant were ceased.
A motion was put to approve the payment of $5000 to Pacific Linguistics for 2010 and to review the question of a regular commitment at the next AGM in light of a more detailed financial report. Passed.
4.8 ALS2010 Organisers
Ilana Mushin reported that there had been 84 registrations. The organisation had proceeded smoothly and had resulted in a good conference. She thanked Felicity Meakins, who had really been her co-organiser, and Danny Willis, who had especially contributed to the program and website, and the other undergraduate and postgraduate students who had assisted. The President expressed the Society’s thanks to the organisers. [Secretary’s Note: Ilana, Felicity and Danny were formally thanked with a small presentation after the plenary session on the following day.]
4.9 ALS2011 Organisers
John Henderson reported that UWA was not in a good position to host the conference in July 2011, and asked whether ANU or any other program would be able to take it on. Harold Koch reported that the staffing situation at ANU was not strong and that he would need to consult with his colleagues. There had been some earlier discussion of ANU hosting an ALS with ALI. Harold will report back within a few weeks.
5. Future ALI and ALS conferencse
John Henderson pointed out that the larger scale versions of ALI had proved difficult to maintain over time given general workload and funding issues. He described some alternative options that would help to meet the training and professional development goals of ALI, and proposed for future ALS conferences a small program of just a few small-scale courses over one or two days that could be framed as Tutorial Days, Master-classes etc. This would not rule out larger-scale options if they become possible. Sarah Cutfield raised the issue of Indigenous Languages programs held at earlier ALIs. There are discussions with the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records (MILR) program. Any future workshops could be expected to have a greater Indigenous focus in their organisation. Jane Simpson pointed out that one of the original goals of ALI had been to provide courses that could be taken for credit. She noted that this would require at least 24 contact hours, perhaps as 5 hours per day for 5 days. Others not taking the courses for credit could dip into parts of the course.
6. Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO)
Jane Simpson reported that OzCLO had been very successful again this year. A national team is taking part in the ILO in Sweden, thanks to the organisation of Dominique Estival and Rachel Nordlinger. A key part of the state and national competition is the quality of the problems. These are always needed. Students working on a language should be encouraged to develop a problem set from their analysis. This is not only of benefit to OzCLO but can often help the student’s analysis. Mary Laughren, who co-ordinates the problem sets, reported that OzCLO has joined the ELCLO group to share problems internationally. ELCLO timing means problems would need to be submitted to her before Christmas because they go through an extensive comment and testing process. Jane Simpson noted the OzCLO agreement that any state/region that wants to participate in the competition needs to contribute to the problem sets, and encouraged members and programs to start working on them. Mary advised contributors to look at the problem sets available on the OzCLO website. Don’t assume previous linguistic training or knowledge of terminology. Computational problems are also needed. Michael Walsh suggested that ACARA should be informed about the success of OzCLO in schools. Alan Dench noted that the feedback to teachers indicates that students enjoy the challenge. Ilana Mushin reported that at least one school had created a Linguistics Club as a result!
7. Shared Coursework
Alan Dench described international trends in the development of Honours and postgraduate degrees by research. There was movement towards a consistent 8 year tertiary education model; the Bologna 3+2+3 model but with variations including a 4+4 model. While Honours was under some pressure (given that it does not fit the strict interpretation of the Bologna 3+2+3 frame) might be phased out in some places, there is also renewed interest in the Honours model in some countries which have not traditionally used such a model (e.g. Germany). There is a growing international trend to incorporate some course work component into the PhD.
ERA is likely to play a part in determining the distribution of scholarships towards areas of demonstrated research excellence, and universities were likely to follow suit. There was thus scope for the building of specific PhD (and Masters) programs linked to Fields of Research and with a defined curriculum, including coursework.
Given that most Linguistics departments/programs in Australia are
relatively small, it is unlikely that many could support coursework in
PhDs. Alan pointed out that there is however an opportunity for
collaboration between departments/universities. There are various
- the development of a distributed curriculum, or set of curricula: individual courses taught at different institutions and accessed by all.
- identification of particular graduate schools in particular institutions, which offer coursework in a defined area of expertise, and with which other institutions would partner for the purposes of accessing HDR coursework for their students.
- joint (cross-institutional) enrolment [i.e. domestic co-tutelle]
- a revamped ALI, funded through institutional grants and with courses taken for credit
The key issue for any of these models is the funding mechanisms.
Nick Reid described the model developed by UNE and others for a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education which has 8 units, 2 at a student’s home institution and a choice of other units across institutions. The EFTSL are split according to which units students select. Alan noted that the funding model is different for coursework degrees (as opposed to RHDs) but that the general model here could be valuable for RHDs. Jo Caffery reported that she is doing the course and that it has a number of advantages for students.
Felicity Meakins asked whether the duration of scholarships would be increased in order to add coursework to PhDs. Alan reported that there have been recommendations to extend APAs to 4 years.
8. Award for Promotion of Public Understanding of Linguistics
Piers Kelly reported on a meeting of students in Melbourne and brought to the AGM their suggestion that the Society establish an award to recognize colleagues who promote linguistics and who raise awareness of linguistic evidence in public discussion. This would not necessarily be for a specific piece of work such as a book. The award would not involve a prize.
Motion: That the Society establish an annual award for contribution to public understanding of language, and that the Executive be authorised to develop the conditions and processes of the award.
Moved: Piers Kelly
Seconded: Michael Walsh
9. Election of Officers:
The following nominations were received for the positions open for election this year. The President called for further nominations, and there being no other nominations, the following were elected unopposed.
Vice-President: Mark Harvey
Treasurer: Brett Baker
Secretary: Nick Thieberger
Associate Secretary (Newsletter Editor): Andrea Schalley
Postgraduate Student Representative: Piers Kelly
The President thanked the out-going office-bearers.
10. Other Business
Michael Walsh brought to the attention of the meeting the motion
recently passed by the Linguistic Society of America recognising
scholarship in language documentation. http://www.lsadc.org/info/lsa-res-lang-doc.cfm. A modified version of that motion was proposed.
Motion: The Society supports the recognition of the products of language documentation and work supporting linguistic vitality as scholarly contributions to be given weight in the awarding of advanced degrees and in decisions on hiring, tenure, and promotion. It supports the development of appropriate means of review of such works so that their functionality, import, and scope can be assessed relative to other language resources and to more traditional publications.
Moved: Michael Walsh
Seconded: Alan Dench
Mary Laughren proposed that the Society should write to Deans to call on them to provide recognition for this kind of work.
Harold Koch noted a new journal in historical linguistics published by Benjamins; “Journal of Historical Linguistics”
The President closed the meeting at 6:15pm.