The following minutes were unanimously approved with emendations on October 4, 2016.


The regular meeting of the DTSA was called to order at 3:06 pm on August 30th in Room 5409 by Jennifer Thompson.


Jennifer Thompson (President), Phoebe Rumsey (1st Vice President), Clio Unger (2nd Vice President), Hansol Oh (Secretary-Treasurer), Kalle Westerling (Digital Initiatives Officer), Margit Edwards (Professionalization Representative), Sarah Lucie (Admissions & Awards), Joseph Paul Hill (Curriculum & Exams Representative), Janet Werther (DSC Program Representative), Jared Pike (Graduate Council and Alumni Engagement Representative)



Approval of Agenda

KW added the topic of DTSA website to the agenda. JPH motions to approve agenda. JP seconds. Agenda was unanimously approved with emendations.

Approval of Minutes

JPH motioned to approve the minutes with changes. JP seconds. Minutes unanimously approved with emendations.


President, Jennifer Thompson

I had a good initial meeting with Peter in which we discussed current student concerns he is working on, as well as some potential goals for the year. He wanted to communicate that he is in negotiations with the provosts at the GC and Hunter with regard to the student fellowships there, and is prepared to pull our students from appointments at Hunter if the contract terms are not honored. He also discussed the difficulties people are having with the IRB. Immediately, we would like to work on making that system more understandable to our students (perhaps with an IRB event in the spring), and long-term he would like to advocate for change of the system that would make many of our students eligible for exemption and that would make it easier to navigate for humanities researchers generally. He and I also discussed some of the goals I would like the board to focus on, which include the cultivation of our intellectual community, the orientation of international students, and a dialogue about health/wellness—which we can brainstorm further in new business. In terms of intellectual community: he mentioned that there would be a brown bag lunch event with James Harding on Sept 20. He suggested a student initiated speaker series, a possible consortium with NYU and Columbia students, and suggested that Frank would be a good resource. He solicited student recommendations about professionalization events, as he would like to rethink that program.

In addition to this meeting, Phoebe and I completed most of the shopping for the party on Thursday. I will be sitting in at New Student Orientation on Thursday, September 1. I am in the process of securing the replacement for Second Vice President/Booth award, and hope to be able to announce this at the party on Thursday.

1st Vice President, Phoebe Rumsey

Solicitations for suggestions for the first theatre outing have been sent out, and many suggestions have been received thus far.

2nd Vice President, Clio Unger

CU will be taking a leave of absence this semester, and people are being contacted about taking over the position.

Secretary-Treasurer, Hansol Oh

DTSA 2016-2017 budget approval: we have a starting balance of $655.84. JT and I have put down prospective income and expenses on the Google sheet, which I circulated in e-mail.

Digital Initiatives Officer, Kalle Westerling

Nothing to report.

Professionalization Representative, Margit Edwards

Successfully presented 3 professionalization events in September.

  • Following recommendations from last year’s board, the first event dedicated to demystifying the handbook was divided into two sessions. Previously the single session covered all of the milestones leading to completion of the doctoral program and was targeted at 1st years. The new 2 session series is now divided in First Exam requirements and expectations and Language Exam requirements and expectations. The second session is dedicated to Level 2 and Beyond and is targeted to those who have just passed the first exam in August (or will take the first exam in January) and need to focus on the requirements for the second exam (field statements, booklists, etc.) leading to the dissertation proposal. This was a very successful reorganization. The first years weren’t overwhelmed by too much info in the first session and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. years were able to ask deep and specific questions specific to their needs in the second session.
  • The Travel Grant session was also jam packed with contributions from Jennifer Thompson, Jared Pike, Pamela Thielman, and Elyse Singer. Each addressing different aspects of travel in relation to our lives as scholars and the funding that helped them get there. A focus on research in archives was augmented by expertise from Erika Lin. Thanks to all that participated and shared what you did on your summer vacation (to knick Jennifer’s PP title)!
Admission and Awards Representative, Sarah Lucie

Nothing to report.

Curriculum and Exams Representative, Joseph Paul Hill

The first Curriculum Committee meeting of the semester will be near the end of September. I have spoken with Professor Peter Eckersall, the new E.O., about possible areas of concern regarding Curriculum and Exams. A major project this semester will be an attempt to rework wording in the Student Handbook to better reflect the current Examinations, especially in regards to the Second Exam.

DSC Program Representative, Janet Werther

Will get back to the group on program allocation after we get that info from the DSC based on enrollment numbers.

Intending to send an introductory email to our student body introducing myself as the DSC Program Rep & initiating activities particularly for international students (part of my purview as Steering Officer for Outreach @ DSC)

Intention to have International Student event: “what I wish I knew then”

Also hoping to schedule an event for partners and spouses of PhD students

Continuing initiative: gender neutral bathroom signage (with Chloe; currently it’s only on the inner door)

New initiative: infant care for GC students

Graduate Council and Alumni Engagement Representative, Jared Pike

Nothing to report.

New Business

Scheduled upcoming DTSA Board Meetings
  • Oct 4, 3 pm
  • Nov 10, 3 pm
  • Dec 8, 4 pm
JT: Goals for the year
1. Intellectual Community Building
  • Eylul and Ryan want to do a dance conference. We’ll hop on that project, help them raise fund through DSC
  • Alumni engagement also crucial (JP) – not just asking them for money but also having them share experience
  • Last year’s alumni event sharing experience about publication was successful.
  • Alumni invitation (especially those in NYC)
2. International students event
  • International students? ASAP!
  • Editing exchange for international students
  • Janet can start – by sending out an email, asking people to just come and talk about their issues casually.
  • And collect the info.
3. Health and wellness
  • Wellness – how to handle situation through the program
  • Students hesitant to talk about these issues with the faculty, faculty not finding out until emergency takes place, which becomes a toxic loop. Is there some way to break the silence moment? To empower the students to talk openly and publicly about these problems. Like pregnancy, anxiety issues, and other family issues.
  • No tangible idea yet: Should we do it in professionalization? Or make it a springboard for a brownbag event? The professionalization has been pushed to spring. But it would be better if we could something about it earlier in fall.
Further thoughts about program events in addition to trivia and theatre outings

Game night? Cards against humanity?

More interaction with the faculty? Fun with the faculty?

Theatre program Pictionary?

Discussion for constitutional change

A new position?

JP: Handbook idea

Scattered bits on the website were collected and sent to Joseph.

Has been a project for the last two years but still in progress.

Further Discussion about the intellectual community building:
  • Sharing writing concerns (CU)
  • Discussion about how to make the process more engaging for everyone: involve faculty, alums, and make it fun so that it DOES attract students. Not just sitting in a circle in the green room and talk. Like a salon.
  • English program has active student association. Glance their events see if we can co-organize (KW)
  • Making this interesting to all levels is important. People do similar things but don’t know who have same interests. (SL)
  • Joseph: lets put together fields together on the website. (JPH)
  • Those involved in in-building centers can share events they are involved or that are happening in the building. Maybe we can do a calendar in the greenroom in the bulletin board, with the theatre program events.
Budget Discussion

Well in budget for the party

The only concern is the projected balance is lower than current balance.

But this happened last year too.

Booth Award

We have to use up DSC program allocation. If we have money left we’ll use up at the party 3.

DSC budget not sure yet. Janet will let us know.

Ways to raise more money for the program

Charter Organization-interdisciplinary, attempts to bridge btw programs. The money comes in allocation form.

Mise-en-scène makes sense to apply for charter money: interdisciplinary, we can invite ppl from other program

DTSA website

Bio Upgrade

Newsletter (PR)

Interview with Erika; people’s summer updates.

Discussion about Alumni outreach
  • Try to use to reach out to Alums … so that it looks more official looking.
  • We have FB page for DTSA members and the graduates, they can decide whether to keep up or not.
  • With email: should we have the alumni sign up to be on the list serve? For alumni events, for Booth Award, etc.
  • The strategy might be to talk to Lynette. (ME)
  • But we need to think about setting up other alumni association—the one different from Lynette association—so we can have people who want engagement. List-serve for local events?
  • Until we decide about the email address, JP will hand off the further conversation about whether we need the address to KW

JT adjourned the meeting at 4:45 pm.