Executive Director’s Message: Stand strong in support of education, science, pursuit of knowledge

With the new administration in Washington, I anticipate that the scholarly community will face challenges unlike any it has seen before. The community’s skill at communicating scholarly findings and values, and marshalling public support for them, will be tested.

To cast a light on the immediate and long-term disruptions we are facing, I will focus on just one current policy controversy. As I am writing this message, only a few scant weeks into this administration, universities around the country have joined amicus briefs, issued cautionary advice to their communities, and taken other public stands against the President’s Executive Order banning most travel from 7 predominantly Muslim countries. And things are moving unnervingly fast. The ban has been temporarily halted by courts, but the ever-present threat that it will eventually prevail in court, or be reissued in revised form, creates a dampening effect on scholarly exchanges, while instilling fear and uncertainty among visiting scholars. [Read more…]

Paul Aiken, former Authors Guild executive, dies at 56

Paul Aiken, a lawyer, and the leader of our sister organization the Authors Guild for nearly 20 years, died on Friday, January 29, 2016, after a struggle with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Over the years, many TAA members may have encountered Paul in a professional capacity. He was a tireless advocate for authors and creators of content. His influence and impact extended well beyond his own organization, and benefited all of us. [Read more…]

Executive Director’s Message: Of Monkeys and Machines

Michael Spinella, Executive Director of TAA

Michael Spinella, TAA’s Executive Director

Of Monkeys and Machines
The ‘Infinite Monkey Theorem’ is the notion that if a monkey were to type random letters on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time, it would eventually create the works of Shakespeare. Presumably, along the way, the fellow would have also composed more mundane pieces, like sports stories, and, umm, textbooks. Maybe, you say, but how long must we wait, and how much random nonsense must we wade through to find the good stuff? [Read more…]

Executive Director’s Message

Michael Spinella

Michael Spinella, TAA Executive Director

Did you hear it? The clarifying question…the laughter of recognition…the applause of approbation at seeing a colleague’s excellent work recognized…the intent murmur of mentoring…the conviviality of networking…the sound, metaphorically that is, of synapses firing! All these sounds and more characterized the 27th Annual TAA Textbook and Academic Authoring Conference held in Baltimore last June. I hope you had a chance to join us and that you got as much out of the conference as I did. But in case you couldn’t make it, I hope you’ll check out some of the sessions that were recorded and are now available on the TAA website. Visit TAAonline.net/podcast-library to check them out. [Read more…]