SHAFR Council Minutes
June 25, 2015
8:00 AM to 12:45 PM
Renaissance Arlington Capital View
Members Present: Amanda Boczar, Tim Borstelmann (presiding), Mark Bradley, Robert Brigham, David Engerman, Petra Goedde, Rebecca Herman Weber, Kristin Hoganson, Paul Kramer, Alan McPherson, Michael Sherry, Penny Von Eschen
Others Present: Brooke Blower, Jason Colby, Nick Cullather, Anne Foster, David Hadley, Peter Hahn, Andrew Johns, Melani McAlister, Kimber Quinney, Trish Thomas, Jenn Walton
Borstelmann called the meeting to order at 8:10. He announced that Peter Hahn would be resigning from the Executive Directorship of SHAFR and expressed his great respect and gratitude for the work Hahn had done on SHAFR’s behalf. Council voiced agreement with Borstelmann’s remarks. Borstelmann announced that a search committee had been formed to find a successor to Hahn.
2) Recap of motions passed by e-mail since January meeting
Hahn read into the minutes a summary of the four motions passed by e-mail since the January 2015 meeting: approval of January 2015 minutes; an E-motion for clarification of the role of the Web Committee; the approval of a resolution urging the CIA and the National Archives to retain CIA records; and the allocation of $15,000 as honoraria to chapter editors of the SHAFR Guide to the Literature.
3) Mid-year budget update
Hahn provided an oral summary of a written report, circulated before the meeting, on the first half of the 2015 fiscal year budget. He reported that at the six-month mark, SHAFR’s endowment and its total liquid assets were at the highest levels in the Society’s history.
4) SHAFR Guide to the Literature
McPherson presented a report on a provisional contract between SHAFR and a publisher for the publication of the SHAFR Guide to the Literature. McPherson reported that he had worked with Borstelmann, Engerman, and Hahn on preparing the contract, and was satisfied with its provisions.
McPherson also reported that of thirty chapters in the guide, only two still need an editor, those chapters being Culture, Gender, and Race and U.S.-Asian relations before 1918. It was also reported that ABC-CLIO would continue to be able to provide electronic editions of the previous edition of the guide paid for on a subscription basis under the previous contract. McPherson recommended a name change for the guide to clarify SHAFR’s role. McPherson then opened the floor to questions. Some discussion ensued concerning whether a deal might be reached with the publisher for legacy subscribers to the guide. It was suggested that, given the size of the subject, the chapter on Culture, Gender, and Race might be split into different chapters. Borstelmann thanked McPherson for the enormous amount of work put into the project.
5) Institutional pricing for Diplomatic History
Borstelmann opened discussion about SHAFR’s relationship with Oxford University Press and the publication of Diplomatic History. Borstelmann noted that institutional pricing of DH had increased, and asked whether this might be a cause for concern. Engerman reported this raise was part of projected cost increases. Discussion ensued concerning declining institutional subscriptions to DH and declining individual SHAFR memberships. It was noted that, despite these shortfalls, DH’s circulation had increased due to its packaging in consortia deals. It was hoped that SHAFR might be better informed as to how these consortia might affect SHAFR royalties. Concern was also raised with difficulties renewing membership. Hahn noted improvements have been made, and that SHAFR will remain attentive to any potential issues.
6) Summer Institutes in 2016 and 2017
Bradley reported that SHAFR had received two proposals for the SHAFR Summer Institute from outside the United States. Both were deemed to be of high quality, and Bradley proposed that both be accepted as the 2016 and 2017 Summer Institutes, with a minor increase in funding on account of the international location. Bradley also presented one of the proposal’s suggestions for additional funding for research by SI participants. It was agreed that the two proposals should be selected for 2016 and 2017. Discussion ensued as to whether additional research funding would be made available. Some concern was expressed as to whether such funding would limit the geographic range of the institute. It was suggested that any additional research funds should be made available to all SHAFR members. Council voted unanimously to approve the two proposals as the Summer Institutes for 2016 and 2017, with each awarded an additional $2,000. Council decided not to fund the optional mini-research grants.
7) Compensation for the Guide editor and the conference consultant
McPherson left the room. Borstelmann reported that the question of compensation for the conference consultant would be negotiated during the search following the departure of Jenn Walton from the position. Borstelmann reported that, in regard to the Guide, more work had been necessary than expected to launch the project. Borstelmann suggested that Council could raise the Guide editor’s stipend, affirm the current compensation, or provide a “launch bonus” for the first year of heavy work. Sherry moved approval of a $1,000 launch bonus, to be applied in two installments. Bradley seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
8) Search for a new conference consultant
Borstelmann reported that the search for a new conference consultant had been launched. Review of applications will begin on June 30 and the goal was to appoint someone soon thereafter. The committee will bring a recommendation to Council by e-mail. Borstelmann expressed great respect for the work of Jenn Walton, and Council expressed strong agreement.
9) Membership status of prize winners
Hahn reminded Council that at the January 2015 Council meeting a consensus was reached that SHAFR would require SHAFR membership for the Bernath Lecture Prize and all research grants, but not for best book prizes, and that the issue should be discussed again at this meeting. Council affirmed the consensus reached in January.
10) Global Scholars & Diversity Grant program
Hahn reported the Global Scholars and Diversity Grant program was scheduled to expire in 2016 and suggested that Council consider extending it now to enable continuity of planning and advertising. Goedde observed that the Grant program had been successful in bringing more international applicants to SHAFR and resulted in more diverse panels. Herman Weber moved, with Brigham seconding, that the program be continued through 2019, with the stipulation that money allocated to the program should not be spent if there were a lack of meritorious applicants. The motion was unanimously approved.
11) Development initiatives
Borstelmann reported that he had appointed an ad hoc committee chaired by Frank Costigliola and including Mary Dudziak, Richard Immerman, Jeanna Kinnebrew, Melvyn Leffler, Fred Logevall, Randall Woods, and Thomas Zeiler to investigate potential development initiatives. Borstelmann noted that while SHAFR is in good shape, it is important that the organization continue to build upon its strong foundation.
Borstelmann then opened the meeting to suggestions for the use of any additional funds, as he noted that responsibility for such programs belonged to Council. Discussion ensued on several programs SHAFR could pursue to improve international scholarship.
12) Venue of SHAFR conference in 2017
Borstelmann introduced the issue of venue selection for the 2017 SHAFR conference. Hahn asked if Council wished to continue the practice of holding the conference in Washington every other year, and Council affirmed that practice. Council approved the suggestion that the president and executive director would work with a hotel broker to identify possible venues for 2017 in metropolitan Washington.
13) Proposal regarding chairs & commentators at SHAFR conference panels
Sherry raised the question of whether the roles of chair and commentator on SHAFR panels should be performed by one person. After discussion, a consensus emerged that no formal change was needed, given that chairs are not currently prevented from serving as commentators.
14) History Relevance Campaign’s “Value of History” statement
Borstelmann introduced a statement from the History Relevance Campaign and asked whether SHAFR might like to endorse the statement. Von Eschen moved, with Hoganson seconding, that the statement be approved. The motion passed unanimously.
15) Discussion of controlled unclassified information
Hoganson reported that the text of a statement from the National Coalition of History, signing onto a statement from openthegoverment.org, would be forthcoming for review by Council via e-mail. The statement will concern access to documents that are not classified, but for which access is limited.
Johns provided a report on Passport, noting that the publication was in good health and that it had begun printing book reviews in cooperation with DH. Johns raised two issues. The first was that there had been some problems with delivery of the January issue, and he noted that he would continue to monitor the situation. The second was a suggestion that Passport might follow the lead of the American Historical Association and publish the names of life members of SHAFR. Goedde asked whether Passport reviews were available via sites such as JSTOR. Johns reported that they were not, though Hahn noted that a broader internet search could find them since Passport is posted on the SHAFR website. Borstelmann expressed his approval of the publication of the names of life members.
17) Diplomatic History
Foster and Cullather reported that the turnaround time from acceptance of articles to publication had been reduced, and noted that they would continue working to improve it. Cullather praised the previous leadership of Tom Zeiler. Thomas reported that the editorial transition had gone well, and that DH impact factor had improved.
Thomas was questioned regarding renewal problems and the decline of institutional and individual memberships. Thomas responded that some of the decline was simply a difference in naming conventions between Oxford and the previous publisher. Thomas said that the issue of consortia would be looked into further.
18) Teaching Committee
Quinney reported that the Teaching Committee hoped to increase the number of teaching panels available at the SHAFR conference. Given that ten years had passed since the last survey of SHAFR members by the Teaching Committee, the Committee proposed to conduct a new survey and Quinney welcomed suggestions on how to shape the survey to recognize developments of the last ten years. Discussion ensued, and several suggestions concerning evaluation of the role of SHAFR members within their institutions were suggested.
19) 2015 SHAFR Conference
Walton, Colby, and Blower reported that the 2015 SHAFR conference, with 95 panels, was on track to set an attendance record. Discussion ensued on technical aspects of conference management.
20) 2016 SHAFR Conference
Johns and Statler reported that preparations for the 2016 SHAFR conference at the University of San Diego were underway. Statler elaborated on housing and transportation arrangements, and expressed enthusiasm for the program of the conference as it was developing. McAlister elaborated on the planned keynote address and other plans of the Program Committee.
21) 2015 Summer Institute
Johns presented a report on the recently completed 2015 SHAFR Summer Institute. He expressed satisfaction at the performance of institute attendees, and recommended an emphasis on professional development in future institutes. Discussion ensued on that recommendation. Borstelmann tabled the issue for future consideration.
22) Reports on recent prizes
Hahn reported the winners and honorable mentions of prizes to be awarded at the 2015 SHAFR Conference: Dissertation Completion Fellowships would be awarded to Carly Goodman and Eric Rutkow; the Betty Miller Unterberger Dissertation Prize, to Mark Seddon with Honorable Mention to Sarah Miller-Davenport; the Stuart L. Bernath Scholarly Article Prize, to Brooke Blower with Honorable Mention to Daniel J. Sargent; the Arthur S. Link-Warren F. Kuehl Prize for Documentary Editing, to Frank Costigliola; the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, to Adam Ewing; and the Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize, to Frank Ninkovich.
23) Concluding remarks
Borstelmann thanked Council for its service. Sherry offered a special round of thanks to Hahn, which was shared by the Council. Borstelmann called an end to the meeting at 12:20.
Peter L. Hahn