MRSC Board, 9-11-13

The Board of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center (MRSC) met at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at Barnes & Noble Café in the University Center.  Present were Julie Couch, Janice Elliott, John Howe, Brian McFadden, Angela Marianni Smith, Connie Scarborough, and Abby Swingen.


<! A. 2013/2014 Organizational Changes:  Scarborough is back from Seville, but Howe will be away as a Visiting Scholar at UCLA in fall and spring. Scarborough will be the sole certificate advisor in residence.   April 2014 will see the end of the terms of the present Board:  election procedures for the new Board are at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/classic_modern/medieval/governance.php .  In Howe’s absence it was agreed that Scarborough and McFadden would assume editorship of the MRSC Web  


<! B.Graduate Certificate Program:  The first Medieval and Renaissance Studies certificate was formally awarded in summer 2013, and several more are potentially scheduled for fall.  Please note that completion of degree plan requirements does not automatically result in the reception of the certificate—students must also file a specific intent-to-graduate form for the certificate at the start of the semester in which they intend to receive it.  Precise statistics are impossible until students actually graduate, but the best estimate based upon paperwork filed and conversations with advisors is that to date there have been eleven graduate students seeking a MRST certificate, eight as a supplement to their existing degree programs and three as independent certificate students. When approval was sought for the certificate program, the goal was six certificates awarded each year—MRSC is approaching this point but is not yet there. Anecdotally many affiliated faculty members are happy to report that, as a direct result of this program, their graduate classes now include increased numbers of students from outside their home disciplines.


There will be many TTU presenters and attendees at the Texas Medieval Association Annual Meeting which will be held at West Texas A&M University on September 27 and 28.  The decision of the conference organizers to put much program information on Facebook rather than on the TEMA Web was not applauded by those affiliated faculty members who are trying to avoid Facebook.  If anyone needs a tentative program, contact bbrasington@wtamu.edu. 

TTU and TEMA have plans to run two vans to this conference, leaving TTU at 7:00 on Friday and on Saturday mornings; returning on Friday and Saturday evenings.  The ride is free, and last minute van riders will not be charged late registration fees by the conference.   If you are interested in taking advantage of this service, please contact John.Howe@ttu.edu.   Board members were asked to survey their home area constituencies to see who will be riding on the TTU vans.


            The Board voted to continue its program of providing $200/student reimbursement subsidies to graduate students who want to attend approved medieval and renaissance studies conferences.  The Renaissance society of America Meeting and the International Congress of Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo) are automatically approved.  Requests for other interdisciplinary medieval and renaissance conferences will be considered by the Board on an ad hoc basis.  One ad hoc request from an Art student was approved.

            A major advantage of this small subsidy is that it can sometimes be enhanced by matching funds from students’ home departments and from the Graduate School.  Given that last year the Graduate School ran out of student travel funds by mid year, students planning to attend medieval and renaissance studies conferences should get their requests in to the Board as soon as possible.




A group of students headed by Lane Sobehrad (History) is making a limited presentation on a torsion engine at the TEMA Conference this September, and has requested a $200 subsidy for materials for a full-size model for presentation at a future conference.  While medieval weaponry is not an approved category in the MRSC budget, the Board authorized Howe to investigate whether “instructional materials” funds or other funds might be made available for this project.  Board members, who might otherwise have questioned appropriating funds to build “toys,” were appreciative of  the students’ intent to work with period plans and to present their results in an academically professional way in a conference venue.

        The meeting concluded at 2:30.

--John Howe, acting scribe