June 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009 - 8:30am
Council Meeting

8:30am - 12:00 noon Presidential Boardroom Fairview Park Marriott Falls Church, Virginia Present: Frank Costigliola (presiding), Jeffrey Engel, Brian Etheridge, Catherine Forslund, Peter Hahn, Richard Immerman, Paul Kramer, Mitch Lerner, Erin Mahan, James Matray, Meredith Oyen, Jaideep Prabhu, Stephen Rabe, Andrew Rotter, Chapin Rydingsward, Thomas Schwartz, Sara Wilson, Thomas Zeiler Business Items (1) Announcements Costigliola called the meeting to order at 8:30 A.M. and thanked everyone for attending. (2) Motions passed by e-mail Hahn reported that since last meeting Council approved the January 2009 minutes and agreed to name the SHAFR Junior Faculty Research Grants after William Appleman Williams. (3) 2008 election Costigliola declared that Council would sit in Executive Session to discuss the 2008 election. After a long and thorough discussion about the conduct of the 2008 election, Council unanimously passed the following resolution: The President seeks endorsement of Council for his having appointed an ad hoc committee to make recommendations for improving SHAFR's procedures for nominating and electing officers. Said committee is now headed by Richard Immerman and includes Tom Schwartz, Arnie Offner, Catherine Forslund, and Kathryn Statler. The pool for appointees was former presidents, current Council members, and the current chair of the Nominating Committee. This committee is now doing its work and will report to Council with its recommendations in January 2010. For a number of years, SHAFR has been considering how to regularize its nominating and electing process and whether to move toward an electronic ballot. There has been concern with the consistently low voter turnout. The Council especially thanks Stephen Rabe for urging SHAFR to update and perfect its electoral procedures. Council also advised that a graduate student should be appointed to the ad hoc committee, and Costigliola named Meredith Oyen to that role. Costigliola ended the Executive Session portion of the meeting. (4) Report on 2010 SHAFR Summer Institute Schwartz reported on a recent proposal from Carol Anderson and Thomas Zeiler to host at Emory University the 2011 Summer Institute on the topic "Human Rights, Globalization, and Empire." It was noted that Emory's proximity to the Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta would appeal to SHAFR members. Schwartz also reported that the committee had yet to receive proposals for the 2010 Summer Institute. He noted that the committee is considering Texas, which would take advantage of the Johnson Presidential Library in Austin. Immerman asked if the Institute would continue to alternate between faculty and graduate student formats as originally stipulated. Costigliola answered in the affirmative, but noted that exceptions would be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Hahn added that the Institute need not coincide with the SHAFR conference nor be hosted in the region where the organizers reside. Oyen raised the issue of timing, noting that it would be difficult for scholars residing overseas to attend a mid-summer institute. Schwartz thanked Council for its advice and promised to report back on the committee's progress. (5) Motion to authorize appointment of editorial board for web-site Costigliola stated that Etheridge was doing an excellent job as SHAFR Webmaster. He informed Council that in light of recent concerns regarding some of the content of the SHAFR blogs, Etheridge has requested the creation of an editorial board. After a brief discussion, Council unanimously passed a motion advising appointment of a three person editorial board to oversee the blogs posted on shafr.org. Zeiler recommended that the board consult with the editorial staff at H-diplo. (6) Motion to reestablish life membership option Costigliola briefly discussed SHAFR's life membership option. It was noted that in 2004 the cost of life membership was $500 (ten times the annual rate). Due to an oversight, the lifetime option was dropped from the Blackwell website. Blackwell recently inquired if SHAFR wished to renew this option. Costigliola advised Council to formulate a position regarding lifetime membership. It was noted that according to Blackwell, at $500 the price of life membership in SHAFR would be considerably below the industry standard. Blackwell also indicated that if set at $1,200 (twenty-four times the annual rate) SHAFR life membership would be consistent with the rate of the other societies whose membership Blackwell manages. For comparative purposes, Hahn reported that life time membership in the AHA stands at $2,600 (approximately twenty times the annual rate) and that the OAH offers a discount to members with 50 years of past membership but does have a life option. It was additionally noted that Blackwell would treat life membership revenue in the same way as regular member revenue and thus the money would go into the journal's account to form part of the total revenue that goes to SHAFR's royalty. Council discussed the relative merits of reinstating the lifetime membership option. Hahn emphasized that lifetime membership fees would increase revenue during the purchasing year but would eliminate a potential source of income flow in subsequent years. Prabhu advised Council to consider offering a 10-year membership option. Rotter noted that many individuals purchase lifetime membership in organizations for symbolic reasons. Council members also expressed interest in a sliding scale model (employed by both the AHA and OAH) in which membership dues increase relative to an individual's annual income. When consensus emerged that there was little support for life memberships, Costigliola moved table the issue. The motion passed unanimously. (7) Motion regarding editorship of Diplomatic History Costigliola asked Council to discuss the following motions regarding editorship of Diplomatic History: 1) Council approves reappointment of Robert Schulzinger and Thomas Zeiler as Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor, respectively, for the 2009-2013 term. 2) A notice will be posted immediately in Passport that the SHAFR President in 2012 will appoint a committee to consider applications for the editorship, for a term beginning in August 2013. 3) The current editors will be eligible (and cordially invited) to submit an application to that committee for reappointment. During discussion it was noted that consultation by Costigliola with a number of people in the field yielded the following consensus: 1) The present editors are doing a superb job with the journal. The quality and variety of the articles and the metrics are first rate. 2) SHAFR should not, however, abandon the principle that the editorship is for a defined four-year term. The journal is now in excellent hands. There is no guarantee that SHAFR would be so fortunate with future editors. 3) Given the sizable SHAFR subsidy to the journal and the opportunities for support of graduate students, the editorship is a plum as well as a serious responsibility. In fairness the editorship should be rotated, though stability is also very important. 4) Passage of the draft motion should help ensure continued excellence and stability for the journal while also opening the chance for others to consider applying for the editing the premier journal in our field. In discussion, Council approved an amendment to the original motion stipulating that "the editor will serve ex officio on the committee to renegotiate the Diplomatic History contract." As amended, the motion passed unanimously. (8) Potential changes in subscription rates for Diplomatic History Zeiler reported that institutional subscription rates for Diplomatic History would increase by a minimum of 9.5% in 2010 as stipulated in the Blackwell contract. Council affirmed that it did not wish to raise this rate of increase. Hahn reported that Blackwell requested Council to contemplate raising individual rates, which are currently below the industry standard. Costigliola noted that Blackwell had previously suggested this measure but that it decided to maintain the current rate as a recruitment tool during the 2009 annual conference. Other advantages of low membership rates were also indicated. It was suggested low rates are part of a broader strategy is to expand the base of the organization. After further discussion, Council unanimously passed a motion to maintain the current membership rates. (9) Report from Ad Hoc Committee on SHAFR Elections Immerman reported that the Ad Hoc Committee (Catherine Forslund, Richard Immerman, Arnold Offner, Thomas Schwartz, Kathryn Statler, and Meredith Oyen) is scheduled to meet over the weekend. In the coming months, the committee will produce a series of recommendations to be considered at next Council meeting. Discussion ensued. Immerman noted that approximately one-third of SHAFR members do not provide e-mail addresses. This would pose a problem if SHAFR moved to electronic voting. Costigliola suggested that a request for email addresses be sent out with the paper ballots during the 2009 elections. Hahn noted that email accounts are often left dormant or abandoned all together and that 100-200 messages bounce back when an e-mail circular is sent. Zeiler and Prahbu suggested that SHAFR use a social networking site, such as Facebook, to communicate with and gather information from its members. (10) SHAFR banking arrangements Hahn informed Council that National City Bank, where SHAFR has maintained savings and checking accounts since 2002, was recently bought out by PNC. Hahn recommended that Council approve a special account offered by PNC in which funds are automatically transferred between checking to savings to maintain proper balance and to provide a higher interest rate. While SHAFR has made use of this offer on a trial basis (with Costigliola's approval), the bank requires formal approve by Council to continue the arrangement. After discussion, Council passed a motion authorizing the arrangement. Hahn also reported that local media in Ohio reported that PNC's purchase of National City Bank was prompted by its near collapse in summer 2008. In light of FDIC coverage caps of $250,000 per account holder per bank, Hahn recommended that SHAFR open an additional account at Huntington Bank or another bank in Columbus, in order to distribute cash holdings between two banks as a means to ensure FDIC coverage of all reserves. He noted that sending surplus reserves to the Endowment would be another option, although the Endowment accounts have declined in recent years. After discussion, Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing Hahn to open an additional account at Huntington Bank or another bank in Columbus. Hahn informed Council that he had recently looked into electronic payments as a potential alternative to SHAFR's current practice of issuing paper checks. Some recipients of SHAFR fund have stressed the convenience of electronic deposits. However, Hahn's initial research indicated that the fees associated with such means were relatively high in relation to the small number of monthly checks issued. Additional issues concerning data security and collection were also stressed in support of SHAFR continuing to rely on paper checks. (11) Bemis and Williams allocations for 2010 Hahn briefly summarized the Bemis Research Grant program, which was created in part to protect SHAFR's public charity status. Council allocated $35,000 in 2007 and $32,000 in 2008 and 2009. Hahn advised Council to decide on the level of funding for 2010. He noted that the Blackwell subsidy is scheduled to increase during the next year and that SHAFR could safely maintain its current level of funding during calendar year 2010. Matray recommended that Council disconnect the administration of the Bemis and Williams grants from the endowment. After further discussion, a motion to allocate a $32,000 for the Bemis/Williams Research Grant Program in 2010 and subsequent years passed unanimously. Council agreed that the current ratio (28 to 4) between graduate student grants and junior faculty grants should continue to guide the committees with the understanding that this ratio could be renegotiated if necessary. (12) Motion from Ways & Means Committee Schwartz reported that the committee looks favorably upon an application issued by Kyle Longley requesting SHAFR's support of an upcoming conference at Arizona State University scheduled for March-April 2010. The Committee recommended that SHAFR co-sponsor the conference with a grant of $1,000, on the condition that it be paid upon submission of receipts at the conclusion of the conference and matched by other contributions in the proposal. After discussion, the motion passed unanimously. (13) Motion of memoriam In honor of Ernest May, Schwartz introduced the following resolution SHAFR notes with deep sorrow and regret the death of Ernest Richard May, the Charles Warren Professor of History at Harvard University, and Past President of SHAFR, on June 1, 2009. Ernest May was one of the world's leading authorities on the history of international relations, and his published work over the last fifty years had a major impact on the field. His first book, The World War and American Isolation, 1914-1917, won the George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association in 1959. He went on to produce such definitive and influential books and essays including as Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of the United States as Great Power (1961), "Lessons of the Past: The Use and Misuse of History in American Foreign Policy(1972) , The Making of the Monroe Doctrine(1974), Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment Between the Two World Wars (ed. and contributor, 1985), Thinking in Time: Uses of History for Decision Makers (with Richard Neustadt, 1986), The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (with Philip Zelikow, 1997), and Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France(2000). Ernest May was also a historical consultant for the Central Intelligence Agency, and his pioneering work in intelligence history led to his role as a senior advisor to the September 11 Commission. Along with John Steinbrunner and Thomas W. Wolfe, May authored the History of the Strategic Arms competition, 1945-1972, for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. At the time of his death he was still an active teacher and scholar at Harvard, offering courses at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Ernest Richard May was born in Fort Worth Texas on November 19, 1928. He received his bachelor's degree in 1948 and his doctorate in 1951 from UCLA. He served in the Navy during the Korean War and joined the Harvard faculty in 1954. He is survived by his wife, Susan Wood, and three children from his first marriage, and three grandchildren. He is also survived by a half-century of doctoral and undergraduate students, who cherished his teaching and supervision of their work, and who will dearly miss this gentle and sweet man. Council unanimously passed the Memorial Resolution. Reports (14) Passport Lerner reported that the Mershon Center at Ohio State University had recently rejected a $3,800 grant requested for Passport. As emphasized at previous meetings, Lerner noted that the Mershon funds - which Passport has consistently received in the past - were never guaranteed. He also stressed that the rejection does not reflect any displeasure by the Center with Passport or the field of diplomatic history. Importantly, Passport (and SHAFR) will maintain its office suite at the Mershon Center. Lerner informed Council that the loss of the Mershon funds have been partially offset by the recent agreement with Blackwell to bundle Passport with its shipment of Diplomatic History. This arrangement has been in place for the previous two mailings and will save at least $5,000 annually. Lerner estimated Passport's expenses for the coming year at approximately $8,450 with $1,300 in estimated revenue. For comparative purposes, it was noted that the former SHAFR Newsletter was produced at a cost of $10,000 per year. It was additionally reported that both Hahn and Lerner believe it appropriate to increase the pay of Passport's editorial assistant from $500 to $750 per issue. Lerner briefed Council on Passport's transition to Blackwell mailing services. He noted that, as requested by Blackwell, he aligned Passport to an April-September- January schedule to align it with the publication of Diplomatic History. Initial complications in the workflow at Blackwell have been resolved. Lerner also noted that Blackwell failed to mail the April 2009 issue to approximately 500 members because of an electronic glitch. Passport promptly emailed SHAFR members with a link to a pdf version of the entire issue, and Blackwell, at its own expense, reprinted and mailed hard copies to the 500 members in question. Noting the high value of the SHAFR office at the Mershon Center, Hahn suggested that Council pass a resolution thanking the Mershon Center for the space. Costigliola moved that Council approve funding Passport as requested at the usual and customary rates. The motion passed unanimously. Council also passed a resolution acknowledging the Mershon Center and the valuable support it has given to Passport and SHAFR over the years. (15) Diplomatic History Zeiler reported that Diplomatic History is flourishing. There is a backlog of book reviews and while article submissions have risen considerably, the acceptance rate had continued to decline. The journal received 110 total submissions, including 95 new submissions. The number of new submissions had increased 94% since 2004 and the acceptance rate stands at 21%. Over the past year, circulation and subscriptions have gone up by 4.5% and 8% respectively. It was additionally noted that consistent with its desire to promote greater diversity, the journal has recently welcomed two female members to the board and currently has ten female scholars on its list of reviewers. Zeiler encouraged Schwartz to organize a special DH issue in honor of Ernest May. (16) State Department Historical Advisory Committee Zeiler summarized recent developments related to the HAC. He reported that the inspector general's investigation into allegations of mismanagement at the Office of the Historian resulted in the reassignment of personnel. Searches are underway for a new director as well as FRUS chief editor. Zeiler encouraged Council members to recommend candidates for either position. In discussion, Council members advised that Council remain abreast of the situation in the Historian's Office. Zeiler advised the Council invite the next Office of the Historian director to meet with Council to discuss relevant issues. He noted that the SHAFR committee on historical documentation is currently responsible for monitoring the situation at the Office of the Historian. Council was reminded that the HAC currently includes three SHAFR members, and that SHAFR is authorized to nominate one member of HAC. Immerman noted that Bob McMahon, SHAFR's most recent nominee, is now chair of the HAC. Costigliola directed Council to continue to discuss SHAFR's cooperative relationship with the HAC via email. (17) Website Etheridge reported that traffic to the SHAFR web-site has increased significantly since the websites re-launch in January. Utilizing information derived from Google analytics, Etheridge noted that since January 1 the website has had more than 24,000 visits, including 13,000 unique visits. 49% of the traffic came through search engines, 35% from direct traffic, and 16% from referring sites. A significant portion of the new traffic is the result of increased visibility of shafr.org on the World Wide Web. It was noted, for instance, that 4,000 visits since January 1 had originated with a google search of "Afghanistan War 2001," which currently ranks shafr.org as the third most popular site. Regarding internal traffic patterns, Etheridge noted that 533 visits have landed on the "join SHAFR" page. Etheridge stated that SHAFR's inaugural team of bloggers were very productive, although submissions came in spurts. To address this issue, he recommended increasing the overall number of bloggers while decreasing the volume required of each individual. Etheridge also reported continued difficulties in recruiting scholars to write op-eds. In light of the increased popularity and visibility of shafr.org, Etheridge encouraged Council to expand the original content offered on the website, noting that if traffic continued to increase over the next two years, SHAFR could be in a position to derive advertising revenue from the website. Etheridge testified to the considerable amount of time and resources that would be required if Council chooses to continue its online services and outreach. Etheridge welcomed Council advice and questions. Lerner highlighted Etheridge's valuable contribution, stressing the significant amount of time and energy required of the Webmaster. Immerman urged Council to devise a comprehensive online strategy that would address issues of expansion, lay-out, and new services while also gauging more accurately the amount of work that would be required to pursue and maintain such goals. Costigliola agreed and noted that Council ought to reconsider the Webmaster's annual stipend. Zeiler advised Council to consider creating a committee to deal with issues related to electronic submissions. Etheridge thanked Council for its support and guidance during the past six month. He concluded by emphasizing the great potential for the expanded website to serve as a platform connecting the SHAFR and the SHAFR community to the broader public while simultaneously generating interest (and increasing membership) in the Society itself. (18) 2009 annual meeting Kramer thanked Sara Wilson for her invaluable work on behalf of the conference. He reported that under Costigliola's directive to expand the audience and participant pool of annual conference, the 2009 conference committee (Paul Kramer Chair, Carol Anderson, Dirk Bonker, Anne Foster, Amy Greenberg, Naoko Shibusawa, and Salim Yaqub) issued a broad call for papers that was widely publicized in print journals as well as on sixty H-Net listservs. In response to its outreach, the committee received an unprecedented number of proposals including 100 for panels and 45 for individual papers. The committee also received 20 applications for Divine travel funds and 25 applications for SHAFR's Diversity/International Outreach fellowships. Following a rigorous selection process and with Council's approval, the committee decided to approve 82 panels, with approximately 380 presenters (28% female), representing scholars from 17 countries outside the US (the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, Israel). Approximately 25% of the presenters are graduate students, and 32% of the presenters on the program (120 individuals), identified themselves as first-timers at SHAFR. Despite an 8% drop out rate, Kramer reported that 2009 would be the best-attended SHAFR conference ever. The committee awarded 7 Divine fellowships (ranging from $200 to $500 for a total of $2,500) and 21 Diversity/International Outreach Fellowships (15 at $1,000 and 6 at $1,650 for a total of $24,900). Diversity/International Outreach recipients included 8 women as well as scholars from the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Israel, and Russia. Kramer urged Council to maintain the expanded format in subsequent years, which he believed would benefit the conference, the organization and the field all at the same time. He also expressed support for the Diversity/International Outreach fund, as an effective tool for attracting new scholars to SHAFR. He also offered two recommendations for the 2010 conference: 1) The committee strongly advised against the plan for soliciting rejected applicants with an offer of discounted membership and instead recommended that first timers to SHAFR who had papers accepted receive the discounted membership offer. 2) The committee recommended that SHAFR increase allocations to the Divine fellowship. Kramer expressed his pleasure serving as program committee chair, noted his readiness to assist the 2010 program committee and thanked Council for its support throughout the planning process. During discussion, a consensus emerged recognizing the need to gauge the membership reaction to the expanded format and to determine how panel attendance faired under the new system. Costigliola identified shafr.org as potential tool to solicit conference feedback. Wilson reported that more than 500 individuals had pre-registered for the conference, 75 tickets had been sold for the social event, and a team of volunteers had been assigned to take headcounts at each of the panels. Wilson advised Council to consider returning to the Falls Church Marriott in 2011. The unusually high number of break out rooms and the hotel's proximity to the Metro were identified as unique benefits of the 2009 venue. Anna Nelson had mobilized a team of volunteers on behalf of the Local Arrangements Committee to conduct local and media outreach. Wilson also urged Council make larger strides to bring SHAFR into web 2.0. It was noted that new web applications proved very useful for circulating collective documents and for creating email groups, but that SHAFR could do more to promote and feature the annual conference on the website. She suggested the use of interactive features, such as blogs and pictures. Along these lines, it was recommended that SHAFR bypass PayPal by creating an independent payment system within shafr.org. During discussion, several members supported the idea of using the website to gauge the membership's reaction to both the expanded format and the Falls Church/Marriot experience. Costigliola said that he would contact Etheridge in this regard. Council expressed its gratitude to Kramer, Wilson, and the local arrangements and program committees. (19) 2010 annual meeting Rotter reported that the 2010 conference will be held in at the University of Wisconsin. The program committee is composed of Naoka Shibusawa (co-chair), Anne Foster (co-chair), Kristen Hoganson, Dirk Bonker, Jason Colby, Carol Anderson, Salim Yaqub, and Amy Greenberg. Jeremi Suri will head the local arrangements committee. (20) 2011 annual meeting Rotter reported that in 2011 the annual meeting will be held in the Washington D.C. metro area. The specific conference site has yet to be determined. Rotter noted that Council will need make a decision after assessing the relative merits of the Falls Church experience, the Westfields Marriot (site of the 2007 conference), and the possibility of returning to a campus site. (21) Endowment Matray reported on SHAFR's investment package. He noted that the endowment had lost 22.9% during the last year. As of March 1, 2009 the endowment stood at $853,000 having lost approximately 34% since November 2007. Due to a slight uptick in the market, the endowment currently stands at approximately $968,000 and over the last six months the endowment had only lost 3% of its value. Matray noted that he was not optimistic regarding the sustainability of current market trends and expressed agreement with Hahn's previous recommendation that Council maintain the current level of spending but that it proceed cautiously and avoid any major new initiatives. He also recommended that Hahn be given the authority to make the decisions necessary to render more efficient his task of managing SHAFR's finances. (22) Dissertation Completion Fellowships Hahn reported on behalf of Emily Rosenberg and the SHAFR Dissertation Fellowship Committee. This year the committee received 35 applications (12 from women). The committee felt that the quality was a bit higher than the previous year. There was also broad diversity in terms of field and of nationality of applicants. Although most of the applicants (and all of the winners) were historians, the award also attracted applications from several other disciplines. This year the winners were Ryan Irwin from The Ohio State University and Mara Drogan from The State University of New York, Albany. Irwin's dissertation, entitled "Race and Revolution: White Redoubt in the Postcolonial Decade, 1960-1970," focuses on the apartheid debate as a lens for analyzing the relationship between decolonization and the Cold War during the 1960s. Drogan's dissertation, entitled "Atoms for Peace, U.S. Foreign Policy, and the Globalization of Nuclear Technology, 1955-1960," analyzes the many bilateral agreements signed under the Atoms for Peace program. The committee found that many of the projects were potentially excellent, but that the proposals themselves often lacked sufficient clarity and consistency. The committee recommended that future proposals convey: 1) a sense of the overall research questions, historiographical contributions, and lines of argument; 2) an explicit statement explaining the archival sources that have been used; 3) a clear timetable of work that has been and needs to be completed. The committee suggested that a statement to this effect could be coordinated with next year's committee and posted along with the announcement. The committee also noted that some applicants had applied the previous year, raising the possibility that, with the poor job market, people may delay finishing and hope to tack on an additional year of support through this program. While there may be nothing wrong with this, if the fellowship is designed to support the "final year," repetitive applications may raise a question of policy. The committee also expressed it strong support for the Dissertation Completion fellowships as an effective way to increase SHAFR's visibility and membership. Council unanimously passed a motion to disqualify those applicants for the Dissertation Completion Fellowship who have already applied for said fellowship on two prior occasions. (23) Betty Miller Unterberger Prize On behalf of committee chair Linda Qaimmaqami, Hahn announced that the Betty Miller Unterberger Dissertation Prize of 2009 was awarded to Gregory R. Domber, of George Washington University with honorable mentions to Nicole Phelps and Meredith Oyen. The committee also recommended that SHAFR issue certificates to applicants receiving honorable mentions. Council approved this recommendation (24) Adjournment Costigliola concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending. The meeting adjourned at 12:15 pm. Respectfully submitted, Peter L. Hahn Executive Director PLH/cr