January 2014

SHAFR Council Meetings Minutes
Friday, January 3, 2014 - 9:00am
Council Meeting

SHAFR Council Meetings Minutes Friday, January 3, 2014 Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC

Members present: Robert Brigham, Carol Chin, Christopher Dietrich, Penny Von Eschen, Rebecca Herman, Fredrik Logevall (presiding), Alan McPherson, Sarah Snyder, Thomas Zeiler

Others present: David Hadley, Peter Hahn, Andrew Johns, Kelly Shannon

Business Items

(1) Welcome, introductions, and announcements

Logevall called the meeting to order at 8:19 AM. He welcomed new Council members Brigham, McPherson, and Von Eschen. Logevall made brief introductory remarks expressing the honor he felt at being selected to serve as president, and his desire for SHAFR to seek ways to reach out to other organizations while continuing the  efforts of past years to internationalize SHAFR.

(2) Resolutions of thanks to retiring Council members

Logevall expressed admiration for the four recently retired Council members Andrew Rotter, Laura Belmonte, Mary Dudziak, and Marc Selverstone.  Brigham moved a resolution of thanks to these four recent members.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

(3) Recap of motions passed by e-mail vote

Hahn read into the minutes a summary of the four motions that Council passed by e-mail correspondence since the June 2013 meeting: the approval of minutes of June meeting; the final approval of transfer of management of SHAFR endowments to TIAA CREF; the approval of extending the terms of Andrew Johns as Passport editor and Mitch Lerner as Passport consulting editor to December 31, 2017; and the approval of the NCH petition in favor of maintaining the CIA’s open source information program.

(4) Motion to accept 2013 financial report

Hahn presented oral and written reports on the finances in 2013 and a budget for 2014. He explained that the checking account showed a negative balance in 2013, and that after consulting the Ways & Means Committee he had transferred funds from the endowment to cover any immediate shortfalls. He further explained that the growth of the endowment significantly exceeded the deficit in the checking account. The budget for 2014 reflected continuity with recent past operating budgets. Another deficit in the operating budget was anticipated in 2014, as was sufficient Endowment growth to cover it.

A thorough discussion on revenue and expenditure expectations and patterns ensued.  It was clarified that the Bylaws do not set a cap on withdrawals from the endowment and that the only part of the endowment that was restricted would be the original amount gifted, which current activity did not begin to approach.  Discussion also touched on the pros and cons of altering membership dues and on recent trends in the membership levels.

Chin made a motion to accept the report, which was seconded and passed unanimously.

(5) Motions from Ways & Means Committee

Hahn introduced a proposal to change SHAFR’s fiscal year to a November 1 to October 31 basis, to ease year-end reporting. Hahn explained that it would be relatively easy to manage the change via the accountant and the endowment manager. Von Eschen moved to approve the proposal. Herman seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Zeiler discussed SHAFR’s past support of the Transatlantic Studies Association with an annual subsidy.  In June, Council delayed a decision on a 2014 subsidy pending clarification of financial balances. Discussion followed as to whether SHAFR should continue the subsidy, and to what purpose. A consensus emerged that, as SHAFR desired to foster connections with fellow historical organizations, the subsidy should continue as long as it served the goal of promoting SHAFR/TSA connections. Zeiler moved that SHAFR fund $2,000 annually in 2014-2016, to subsidize the TSA annual conference on terms to be approved by the SHAFR president. The resolution passed unanimously.

Council discussed SHAFR’s subsidy to the National History Center. SHAFR had provided subsidies in 2010, 2011, and 2013 to support NHC’s lecture series at the Wilson Center. In 2013, Council discontinued the subsidy based on various concerns with the administration of the series. The NHC renewed its request. Discussion followed about the merits of the subsidy, with a consensus emerging that it would be worthwhile if SHAFR’s contribution were recognized and if the content of lectures featured foreign policy. It was moved that SHAFR renew its support for up to three years with the stipulation that Wilson Center talks be related to foreign policy, broadly defined, that SHAFR’s contribution be recognized, and that the president of SHAFR approve the second and third year renewals based on the management of the series. The resolution passed unanimously.

Council discussed a recommendation from the Membership Committee that membership in SHAFR should be mandatory for scholars presenting at the annual SHAFR conference. Questions were raised about the impact of this requirement on non-members and about the number of non-members who presented at recent conferences.  Logevall moved to table the item until further information on participation at SHAFR conferences could be garnered. The motion passed unanimously.

Council heard recommendations from the Web Committee and Ways and Means Committee regarding compensation to the SHAFR webmaster appointed in 2013. The first year of the position revealed that the position required significantly more work than had been anticipated.  Von Eschen moved to double the salary of the webmaster as recommended by the Ways and Means Committee. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

The Council also heard the recommendation of the Ways and Means Committee that the compensation for the Executive Director should be increased by four percent in 2014. A motion was introduced to that effect, was seconded, and passed unanimously. (Hahn vacated the meeting room for the discussion on this item).

(6) Governance issues

Recalling that Council recently had approved the extension of the terms of the Passport editor and consulting editor to December 31, 2017, Logevall noted that Council members had asked for clarification of appointment and renewal procedures in the future.  A consensus emerged that a formal process for appointments or renewals should be established. It was moved that no later than June 2016, Council should welcome applications for a term as Passport editor(s) beginning on January 1, 2018; that a request for renewal by the current editors would be welcomed at that time; and that a decision would be reached by January 2017. The resolution was seconded and passed unanimously.

A discussion ensued about the possibility of empowering the president to sign petitions on behalf of the Society.  In light of the speed with which presidents could consult Council members by e-mail, it was agreed that presidents should continue to engage in this practice of seeking Council approval of all petitions.

(7) The SHAFR Guide to the Literature

Council heard a report from the ad hoc Committee on the SHAFR guide. The Committee reported that SHAFR  members expressed great appreciation for the Guide but considerable concern about the difficulty in accessing it on-line. Strong support was expressed for continuing the Guide and addressing access issues. It was noted that the Guide would require a dedicated editor-in-chief and the services of numerous chapter editors. It was decided that a posting for the position of editor should be made in the pages of Passport with a deadline of May 15, 2014, and that a final decision should be reached by July 1, 2014. Chin moved to approve these recommendations. Von Eschen seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously. In confidence, Council directed Hahn to explore legal matters pertaining the Guide and report to Council by e-means.

(8) Report from the Web Committee

Herman presented a report from the Web Committee, which unanimously recommended that Council approve a proposal from Liefa to redesign the SHAFR website. Herman explained the several benefits that Liefa would provide by way of justifying the recommendation.  Zeiler moved to approve this recommendation. Logevall seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously.

(9) Liability insurance and employee dishonesty bond

Hahn reported on SHAFR’s liability insurance policy and employee dishonesty bond.  Noting that these policies had been in force for many years, Hahn recommended that Council review both policies for the purpose of ensuring that they provided appropriate coverage at appropriate prices.  Hahn offered to conduct the review, or to assist a committee thereto, and report back to Council in June, before the next renewal deadlines.

Brigham moved that Council empower Hahn to investigate the issues and report via the Ways and Means Committee to Council in June 2014. Herman seconded the motion, and Council approved it unanimously.

(10)  Use of SHAFR’s e-mail list

Logevall introduced a proposal from Kristin Hoganson and Richard Immerman authorizing use of the SHAFR e-mail to send advocacy messages pertaining to the work of the National Coalition for History, or authorizing them to solicit members to sign up for email advocacy messages. A consensus emerged that the SHAFR e-mail list should not be used for advocacy messages, but should be reserved for SHAFR business only

(11) Nominating Committee proposal on tie-breaker procedures

Hahn noted that the 2013 SHAFR election included a race decided by a single vote and that the Bylaws contain no tie-breaker provisions. After consulting Mark Bradley, he had recommended to the Nominating Committee that they recommend a tie-breaker procedure for Council to consider.  The Nominating Committee recommended that in the event of a tie, the election would be decided by the SHAFR Council at its next meeting. When discussion clarified that this procedure would make it impossible for the winner to attend that meeting, Hahn suggested that the proposal should be amended to empower the current Council to resolve a tie within one week of the close of the election. A motion was made and seconded to amend the Bylaws by adding this sentence to Bylaws, Article 2, Section 5(e): “In the event of a tie, the current Council, with the exception of the President, will vote to elect one of the candidates. This vote will take place by electronic means, by secret ballot, and within one week of the conclusion of the regular election.” Council passed this motion unanimously and directed Hahn to place a referendum on this item on the 2014 election ballot.

(12) Copyright on contents of Diplomatic History and Passport

Logevall introduced the question of whether Diplomatic History and Passport should allow authors to retain authorial copyright. A consensus emerged that the current system, in which Diplomatic History and Passport hold the copyright, should remain in place.

(13) Discussion of strategic plan for Passport

Logevall noted that Passport is in strong condition and that, in the interest of time, a planned discussion of a strategic plan for Passport would be postponed to June.


(14) Summer Institute Oversight Committee

Zeiler report that the plans for the 2014 Summer Institute at Williams College are proceeding as made clear by a written report from co-hosts Mark Lawrence and James McAllister circulated in advance of the meeting.  Zeiler also reported that the 2015 Summer Institute will be held at Ohio State University, as approved by Council previously. He reported that the recently-received final report on the 2013 Institute indicated another successful year and affirmation that the program continues to reach high achievement.

(15) Diplomatic History

Council accepted a report on Diplomatic History circulated in advance of the meeting.

(16) 2014 SHAFR annual meeting

Snyder reported on the progress made by the Program Committee to solicit proposals for the June 19-21, 2014 annual meeting in Lexington, Kentucky.  She noted that logistic arrangements were proceeding well and that the number of submissions was the highest ever for a meeting held outside of Washington, D.C. She reported that the local arrangements committee had secured some $10,000 in funds from the University of Kentucky.

(17) 2015 and 2016 SHAFR annual meetings

Hahn reported that the 2015 SHAFR annual meeting would be held in the same hotel as the 2013 meeting—the Renaissance Arlington Capital View in Arlington, Va.--on June 24-28, 2015.  Hahn further noted that a call for applications to host the 2016 meeting has been published in Passport with an April 2014 deadline and that Council would be able to decide a host at its June meeting.

Logevall noted that the Membership Committee has recommended holding an annual meeting outside of North America in the future. He recommended that, rather than decide one way or the other, Council should consider proposals from outside North America to host the 2016 meeting.

(18) Prizes and Fellowships

On behalf of the selection committees, Hahn announced the winners of various 2014 fellowships and prizes: the Michael J. Hogan Foreign Language Fellowship was awarded to Patrick Chung; the Stuart L. Bernath Dissertation Research Grant was awarded to Nguyet Nguyen; the W. Stull Holt Dissertation Fellowship was awarded to Zach Fredman; the Lawrence Gelfand - Armin Rappaport - Walter LaFeber Dissertation Fellowship was awarded to Heidi M. Krajewski; and the Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize was awarded to Lien-Hang T. Nguyen. Council members expressed congratulations to the awardees.

Other Business

(19) Announcements and other business

Logevall thanked the Council for its work. The meeting adjourned at 11:55 AM.

Respectfully submitted, Peter L. HahnExecutive Director