SLACK and EMAIL
Our informal communication method will be through Slack. For example, I will send notes via Slack or updates about meetings, changes in times, or other business and you will use it to log weekly updates and stay in touch with each other throughout the year. You should have received an email to join. You will need to make sure your phone is set to receive notifications or that you check this regularly. All formal correspondence will be conducted over email.
Our Facebook group page is private to MFP alumni and staff. Here we post news and updates about alumni and introduce new cohorts. Most importantly, this is where we post job announcements. We don't love Facebook but it is the most useful way to keep in touch with all cohorts and keep the network in place. You can also easily reach out to alumni from this page. If you don't have Facebook, you should reach out to another member of the cohort to update you on job postings.
This website is where you will find the updated calendar, important resources for the job market, writing program and workshops, links to access and upload shared documents, instructions and access to the writing program, a blog where I will post interesting articles or essays or other relevant non-pressing updates. All of your links to personal documents from this site are located in Google Drive and will not be accessible to the public. This is your home base!
More info about the program and participant and staff bios are located at our institutional website: mfp.lals.uic.edu
YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK
The program focuses on the creation of healthy relationships needed to succeed as academic writers and scholars. These resources are provided by Mellon in the form of your mentor, the program coordinator, the IUPLR staff and home directors and centers, and most importantly, your cohort of fellows. These relationships are meant to complement, not replace, the support mechanisms, particularly your advisory committee, already in place at your academic department and home IUPLR center.
Your mentor is one of the most fulfilling aspects of the program. They are there for additional advice about research, writing, career plans, and job market preparation. They are also chosen on the basis of their ability to enhance your research and writing and to help you you develop a wide network in your field. Think of your mentor as a person who is helping you move beyond graduate school in order to become a productive and respected junior scholar in Latino Studies. They are not a substitute for your advisor under any circumstances. At a minimum, mentors and fellows should meet once a month or every other month. Sometimes you might want to share a draft of a chapter or article or you may want to have them look at your job documents or just talk you through any issues that come up. They are paid a modest amount and have agreed to these terms. However, please be reasonable and respectful with your requests. As a participant in this program, you agree to reach out to them and to maintain this relationship--your mentor will not track you down, but they will track us down if they don't hear from you.
The program coordinator, Jennifer Boles, designs and coordinates all aspects of the Mellon Program. She is there to help you and support you. She also designed and facilitates the writing program. Please reach out to her with any questions or concerns. Deanna Ledezma is the MFP Graduate Assistant and a MFP alum. She coordinates the check-ins during the year and helps the program in numerous capacities.
PROFESSIONALIZATION COORDINATOR and CONSULTANT
Prof. Albert Laguna organizes the professionalization workshops and serves as a consultant on all aspects of the job market throughout the fellowship year. You should reach out to him for all job market-related concerns.
YOUR COHORT AND THE MELLON ALUMNI
This is a cohort-intensive fellowship. Our program operates on the principle of networked support and accountability. Your cohort will provide you with solidarity and valuable feedback as you write your dissertation and, likely, for the duration of your career. Think of them as the core of the academic network you are building. You should also take advantage of your fellowship to communicate with alumni, use them to seek advice or learn about their experiences, and think of them as part of your expanded network.
IUPLR CENTER AND DIRECTOR
You are expected to maintain BIMONTHLY (every other month) contact with your the IUPLR Center and Director at your home institution. You must send them an email updating them on your plan to completion, writing progress, and job market activities (more info on this to come). You should also notify them when you get interviews or when you have other important updates. They can also help you organize mock job talks or research presentations.
Our main goals in the service of our mission are to provide the space, time, and support to facilitate completion of your dissertation, obtain job market readiness, expand your network, and instill lasting habits that will sustain you long-term as a creative person, not just as an academic. We provide you with financial assistance, but that is only one element of a multi-faceted program that includes a series of virtual workshops spread out through the summer and fellowship year, a rigorous, but sustainable writing practice, a mentorship program, support at your home institution, and (depending on the public health situation in the upcoming year) the opportunity to present at an academic conference and socialize with your cohort. While it might sometimes feel like a lot, this structure and support is meant to help you and sustain you at a very difficult time in your career.
By accepting the fellowship, you are required to participate in all facets of the program and treat it as your job for the upcoming year. Repeated failures to participate in one or more component of the program will result in us contacting your home institution to reevaluate your fellowship. We are very flexible and understanding at Mellon and if anything comes up at any time that prevents you from participating, you should contact the Program Coordinator and your Center Director immediately to let us know.