June 2004

Saturday, June 26, 2004 - 7:30am
Council Meeting

7:30 am

Thompson Conference Center, University of Texas at Austin

Present: David Anderson, William Burr, Frank Costigliola, Brian Etheridge, Peter Hahn, Mary Ann Heiss, Scott Laderman, Mark Lawrence, Mitchell Lerner, Dennis Merrill, Keith Olson, Robert Robinson, Andrew Rotter, Mark Stoler (Presiding), Katherine Sibley, Sara Wilson, Thomas Zeiler

  1. Diplomatic History Contract Mark Stoler reported that Cambridge University Press and Routledge Publishers have approached SHAFR expressing interest in publishing Diplomatic History after the Blackwell contract expires. The contract with Blackwell runs through 2007 and will automatically renew thereafter unless notice of termination is given by December 31, 2006. Representatives from Cambridge and Routledge wish to address the council on the issue. SHAFR would need to decide between an arrangement that would include a profit-sharing provision or one that would cover expenses and include royalties. The second option is fiscally more conservative. In discussion, the desirability of getting advice from Bob Schulzinger and Tom Zeiler about the contract was mentioned. It was also suggested that a committee should be formed to investigate options, meet with representatives of publishers at the AHA meeting in January, and present a considered opinion to Council in January or June 2005. Stoler indicated that he would appoint a committee consisting of the new vice president (to be elected in autumn 2004), Mary Ann Heiss, Bob Schulzinger, and Peter Hahn (ex-officio).
  2. Recap of Motions Passed by Email Votes Mark Stoler recalled that Council, since its last meeting in January, approved three motions by e-mail ballots. It confirmed the off-site venue for the SHAFR luncheon at the AHA in Seattle in January 2005. It gave provisional approval of Tom Zeiler as editor of the online version of the Guide. It activated the Betty M. Unterberger Fund and approved the new dissertation prize.
  3. SHAFR Guide electronic edition Mark Stoler reported that ABC-CLIO created an electronic version of the SHAFR Guide without consulting SHAFR, in violation of the contract. This move may well have had an effect on SHAFR's sales of the paper copies. David Anderson, Peter Hahn, Tom Zeiler, and Mark Stoler met with representatives of ABC-CLIO at the last OAH conference. The representatives indicated that they wanted to continue the partnership with SHAFR and that they would help SHAFR recoup the cost of unsold paper copies. They want to produce an electronic guide with continuing updates. Stoler further reported that Council provisionally approved Tom Zeiler as the editor of the electronic edition, subject to his submission of a strategic plan, which was circulated to Council prior to the meeting. Zeiler elaborated that there were two issues for decision: final approval of him as editor and financial options. There are two options in the contract to be negotiated with ABC-CLIO: a lower-risk option (with a sure but smaller royalty) or a higher-risk option (with royalties tied more directly to sales). A hand-out with financial figures was circulated. Zeiler recommended taking the sure money rather than the profit share. Zeiler noted that the publisher recommended pressure by SHAFR members on their libraries to purchase the on-line edition. In discussion, it was suggested that additions to the electronic Guide should be highlighted in some way in order to maintain the usefulness of the paper guide. In response to a question, Zeiler indicated that his role as Guide editor would not affect his commitment to Diplomatic History. Zeiler also indicated that the $2,500 in computer costs would be spent on hardware and software. Council unanimously approved Zeiler's appointment as editor on the basis of his strategic plan. It also unanimously approved the more conservative financial option with the annual guarantee of $5,000 plus 20%.
  4. SHAFR Roster Prior to the meeting, Peter Hahn circulated to Council a report on the status of the SHAFR electronic roster. Hahn reported that the roster, set up in the 1990s, is out of date. Hahn proposed to reinvigorate the roster and to appoint Brian Etheridge as Roster and Research List Coordinator to take on that task. Mark Stoler endorsed the plan. Council discussed the best means to keep the roster updated. It was suggested that members could be asked for information via annual membership renewal forms, Passport, or a direct mailing. Brian Etheridge reported that that he had talked with people at Blackwell and that he believes that the problems with the current roster can be fairly easily solved. A motion to appoint Etheridge as Roster & Research List Coordinator was unanimously approved. A resolution of thanks to Amy Staples for her service as the previous Roster & Research List Coordinator was also unanimously approved.
  5. Travel to SHAFR conferences Scott Laderman proposed that SHAFR establish the Graduate Student Travel Grant program to fund the travel of some graduate students who present papers or participate in roundtables at SHAFR annual meetings. Laderman clarified that each year students would be awarded no more than $300 each; that priority would go to students who receive no funds, or limited funds, from their home institutions; and that expenses would be reimbursed by the Business Office upon submission of receipts. Laderman proposed that the program would be funded through donations received via a check-off system on conference registration forms (beginning in 2005-6). To activate the system in 2004-5, Laderman proposed that Council allocate $1,500. In discussion, it was clarified that a) SHAFR can afford the $1,500 expense in 2005; b) the grant program would be funded purely by the contributions of members in subsequent years; c) the program committee would decide awards; d) the registration form would include space for graduate students to indicate their needs for funds; and e) students asking for aid would need to secure an advisor's signature affirming that departmental funds were not provided. The motion passed unanimously. Peter Hahn presented a motion from Joe Mocnik (absent) that Council allocate $1,000 per year to fund travel by foreign scholars to the SHAFR conference. The funds would be awarded by the Program Committee and paid as a reimbursement upon submission of receipts. In discussion, it was recommended that next year's Call for Papers should announce this opportunity. It was further recommended that Council reconsider the allocation periodically and also consider on a case-by-case basis requests for funding from overseas scholars in excess of the $1,000 per year cap. Council passed the motion unanimously.
  6. SHAFR prizes Peter Hahn reported that the Unterberger Dissertation Prize fund had accumulated some $13,900, meaning that Council allocated some $1,100 to round it up to its target of $15,000. Hahn circulated an operating guide for the new prize committee similar to the guides prepared for other committees. The Unterberger guide proposed a committee of three members sitting six year terms and deciding biannual awards, with each member serving as chair for one prize cycle. Discussion ensued on whether prize recipients must be members of SHAFR. It was asserted that in the interest of outreach it might be desirable to consider non-SHAFR members as well. The precedent is that SHAFR research fellowships are reserved for members, but awards for completed works are open to non-members as well. It was also suggested that the prize should be a benefit of membership. By majority vote, Council approved the operating guide for the Unterberger Prize, clarifying that the competition would be open to non-members as well as members. Council further decided that each winner of the Unterberger Prize would be granted one year's free membership in SHAFR, irrespective of whether the winner was a member. Mark Stoler reported that the prize committee would initially consist of Bill Brands (chair), Terry Anderson, and Linda Qaimmaqami. Hahn also presented a suggestion from Ralph Levering that Council authorize prize committees to issue honorable mentions to worthy nominees who do not win first place. Stoler endorsed the idea. In discussion, it was clarified that prize committees, at their own discretion, may award "Honorable Mention," "Finalist," or "Runner-Up" recognition to any prize nominee not winning first place. No cash awards will be provided to such nominees. The motion was approved unanimously.
  7. Report on marketing of the SHAFR Guide Peter Hahn reported on sales of the paper Guide. SHAFR has sold about 400 of the 600 copies it is obligated to pay for by December 31, 2004. SHAFR stands to lose $5,000-10,000 on the paper version. ABC-CLIO has said this it will be flexible on the obligation because of its contract violation. Hahn asked Council to decide if the price should remain at clearance level, return to normal, or be further reduced. Council decided to keep the clearance price through the end of 2004 and re-evaluate in January. It was also expressed that SHAFR should press ABC-CLIO to ease the obligation.
  8. 2004 Annual Meeting Local Arrangements Chair Mark Lawrence reported that conference operations have run smoothly. Registration totaled 293 or 294. He expressed thanks to Sara Wilson. Lawrence noted that publishers were slightly unsatisfied that they were not allowed to sell books at the book displays and they expressed concern that the same restrictions would apply next year. Lawrence also expressed concern that the budget would end slightly in the red. Mark Stoler reminded Council that the purpose of the annual meeting is not to make money, but to have a good conference, and that that goal has been accomplished. Lawrence recommended that Council consider whether future local arrangements committees should distribute the conference program guide on paper or electronically. Stoler said that Council can discuss this matter by email or at its next meeting. Stoler moved a resolution of thanks for the program committee and Sara Wilson which was approved unanimously.
  9. 2005 Annual Meeting David Anderson and Keith Olson reported on the 2005 SHAFR meeting, to be held June 22-25 at College Park, Maryland. Keith Olson and J. Samuel Walker are local arrangements chairs and are working on logistical arrangements. The Program Committee will consist of Chris Jesperson (chair), Frank Costigliola, Sally Kuisel, George White, Jr., and Christopher Fisher. Anderson noted that 2005 will be the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII and the 30th of the end of the war in Vietnam, so ending wars might be something to think about as a theme.
  10. 2006 Annual Meeting Mark Stoler reported that he searched for a Midwestern venue for the 2006 conference as Council recommended in January. He found that Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Tennessee expressed an interest in 2008. Only Kansas expressed an interest in 2006, and Ted Wilson drew up a proposal for hosting the 2006 meeting there. (When Ohio State subsequently indicated that 2006 would also work, Stoler solicited a prospectus for a conference in Columbus in the event that the Kansas idea did not work out.) Stoler pointed to attractions of the Kansas venue: two presidential libraries are within driving distance; both libraries will probably be willing to make financial contributions; SHAFR has experience at Kansas; and Ted Wilson would like to host the meeting as his farewell to SHAFR. The disadvantage in Kansas is that there would be no dorm rooms available in June 2006, although two persons sharing a hotel room would find the cost equal to the dorm single rate. Discussion clarified that hotels in Lawrence Kansas are 1-2 miles from campus (which might necessitate use of shuttles), that the nearest airport is an hour away, and that air service to that airport is excellent and affordable. Discussion also clarified that Ohio State has inexpensive dorms, is an easy commute from the airport, and also has conference experience. Council decided to accept the Kansas proposal since it was solicited first. That decision is subject to confirmation by Stoler that hotel rooms in Lawrence run about $75 per room per night, not $75 per person per night. If the higher charge would apply, Stoler will inform Council and consider redirecting the conference to Ohio State.
  11. Endowment Liaison On behalf of Jim Matray (absent), Peter Hahn reported that both endowment accounts remain healthy despite a notable drop in value in April 2004. As of June 1, both accounts have increased in value by nearly 1% since January.
  12. Holt Fellowship and Hogan Fellowship On behalf of Michelle Mart, Mark Stoler announced that David Snyder won the Holt Fellowship and Margaret Peacock won the Hogan Fellowship.
  13. Graebner Prize David Anderson reported that the Graebner Prize was awarded to Warren Cohen.
  14. Resolution Mark Stoler proposed a resolution of thanks to Executive Director Peter Hahn. The motion was approved unanimously.
  15. Announcements and other business Mark Stoler made three announcements:
    1. Stoler has appointed a task force on the teaching of the history of U.S. foreign relations: Mark Gilderhus (chair), Richard Werking, Mitch Lerner, Tom Zeiler, and others to be named. This task force will be charged with recommending whether a standing committee on teaching would be useful, putting together a questionnaire for members on teaching practices, posting syllabi on the website, and informing members of pedagogical practices. The task force will report to Council in January or June 2005.
    2. Stoler asked Council to consider reduced SHAFR conference registration fees for retirees. In discussion, it was noted that graduate students may need more financial help and that registration fees have indeed been steadily increasing. It was suggested that perhaps retirees could be offered a smaller reduction than students. No decision was made.
    3. Stoler reported a brief synopsis of a conference he attended at MIT on the status of diplomatic and military history. He reported that George Herring gave a paper on the status of diplomatic history and Edward M. Coffman gave a paper on the status of military history. Herring said things are not as bad as diplomatic historians tend to think. The field does suffer from self-isolation and from the non-replacement of retiring diplomatic historians. Herring recommended that SHAFR members submit more articles to the AHR and JAH.

    In discussion, it was suggested that Council needed to gather more data on hiring practices, to internationalize the discipline, to promote interaction with other societies, to highlight successful programs in our field, and to encourage members to educate their colleagues on the strength of the field. DH might consider forwarding some of its best submissions for consideration by the JAH or AHR. Members should be encouraged to submit panels to AHA and OAH conferences. Discussion ensued on the extent to which SHAFR should publicize its concerns. It was suggested that the Society appeal to the public, state legislatures, etc. It was also asserted that such a move might alienate professional colleagues in other specialties. No action was decided. Mark Stoler agreed to write letters to the OAH and AHA asking them to include SHAFR on their membership renewal forms' "other societies" checklist.

  16. Adjournment Stoler thanked Council for their patience with a long and intensive meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 am.

Respectfully submitted, Peter L. Hahn Executive Director PLH/rr