January 2005

Friday, January 7, 2005 - 12:15pm
Council Meeting

12:15 PM

Westin Hotel, Seattle, WA

Present: David Anderson (Presiding), Frank Costigliola, Jeffrey Engel, Brian Etheridge, Peter Hahn, Christopher Jesperson, Scott Laderman, Mitchell Lerner, James Matray, Anna Nelson, Robert Robinson, Robert Schulzinger, Katherine Sibley, Phyllis Soybel, Mark Stoler, Richard Werking, George White, Randall Woods.

Business Items


Other Business

Announcements and other business

  1. Proposal to centralize web-sites and finances of SHAFR annual meetings Referring to written information circulated in advance of the meeting, Peter Hahn suggested two motions to reform SHAFR annual meetings procedures. The first reform would centralize the website on www.shafr.org rather than pay to have a new site designed at the host institution every year. The second motion proposed to centralize the finances for the annual meetings in the Business Office. This step would include collecting registration and dorm room fees (but not hotel charges). Such a system would create an increased workload for the Business Office, but would have the advantage of making SHAFR more independent of the host universities. Nelson expressed support for the motions. Anderson also expressed support, calling the changes straightforward and common-sensical. Anderson stated that no formal motion was necessary. Hahn requested that Council specifically approve the concept of using Paypal.com to collect credit card payments. Nelson made a motion giving Hahn the ability to use Paypal.com and to take other actions related to the efficient organization and planning of the annual meetings. Council unanimously approved this motion.
  2. Proposal to create a permanent Teaching Committee Richard Werking urged that the temporary teaching task force be established as a permanent committee. He pointed out that a teaching committee would have a significant amount of work to do; for example it could spearhead the creation of an online database of text and images related to teaching diplomatic history. Jesperson added that a teaching committee could reach out to members of SHAFR who teach at the high school level. Discussion ensued regarding whether such a committee should be established by an amendment to the bylaws, by presidential order, or by the approval of Council. It was decided that Council would vote, and a motion to create a permanent Teaching Committee was approved unanimously.
  3. Proposal to administer teaching survey on-line On behalf of teaching task force Chair Mark Gilderhus, Richard Werking discussed a draft teaching survey composed by the task force, explaining that its purpose was to discover what content and courses are taught by members of SHAFR and what methods they use. The survey would also ask what teachers would like to do differently and how SHAFR could best help teachers reach their goals. Werking added that it would be better to have a web-based survey. The task force asked Council to authorize spending money to hire a graduate assistant to get the web survey up and running. Hahn mentioned that there would be some expenses associated with postage, photocopying, and other miscellaneous items. Werking wondered whether the survey should be anonymous. Stoler commented that the timing for conducting such a survey was good. He pointed out that Mark Gilderhus, Mitch Lerner, and Mark Stoler had all written recent columns in Passport regarding teaching, and that the survey should be conducted while members’ attention was engaged on the subject. Sibley pointed out that the survey is long, and asked what could be done to encourage people to fill it out. Anderson said that the only incentive to fill out the survey is the desire to help. In addition, SHAFR will naturally share the results with those interested. Hahn suggested a one-time honorarium for the proposed graduate assistant rather than an hourly wage. This honorarium might be about $1,000. Council unanimously approved the expenditure of such funds.
  4. Guide sales and marketing Referring to a written report circulated in advance of the meeting, Peter Hahn reported that ABC-CLIO had signed a contract with SHAFR earlier this morning for the electronic version of the Guide. This deal would guarantee $5,000 a year for three years in royalties. Another agreement with ABC-CLIO, also signed today, absolved SHAFR of the obligation to purchase a minimum of 600 copies of the printed Guide. The issue for Council is how to price the remaining copies of the printed version of the Guide that SHAFR has available for its members. To date, SHAFR has lost about $9,000 on the Guide. Since SHAFR does not produce the Guide for profit, but rather as a resource for its members, this fact should not necessarily effect Council’s decision. Costigliola suggested cutting the price to $50 because its usefulness is fading with time, particularly as the updated online version will be available in early 2006. Matray suggested reducing the price still further for students. Sibley moved that $50 should be the new price for regular members and $30 the new price for student members. Council passed this motion unanimously. Costigliola asked how ABC-CLIO would know who has the paper copy, since buying the paper copy gives owners the automatic right to access the electronic version. Hahn responded that he was unsure of the precise method, but that ABC-CLIO kept shipping records for all SHAFR orders.
  5. 2005 annual budget Peter Hahn circulated a written report, stressing its confidentiality. He reported that he was in the process of putting all financial records for SHAFR on the Quick Books computer program. Hahn pointed out several specific items on the written report. He noted that $20,000 was transferred from the endowment to the savings account in October in order to maintain liquidity in SHAFR operating accounts. Hahn elaborated several items on the Profit and Loss Summary. The subsidy from Blackwell represented a substantial increase over previous years, largely the result of the increased subscription prices to Diplomatic History for libraries. Given a generous subsidy from the Mershon Center at Ohio State University, Passport cost SHAFR some $7,000 in 2004—a notable decrease in cost from previous years. The 2004 annual meeting in Austin experienced a sizeable financial loss, although modest funds are still expected to be repaid by the University of Texas at Austin. Much of the loss stemmed from complications in Texas which led to increased printing costs and meal expenses. Hahn reminded Council that the conference was a great success on academic and professional grounds, that the financial loss could be absorbed by SHAFR, and that the overall experience was appropriate for a non-profit society committed to advancing the public interest. Hahn explained the balance between actual costs for the electronic Guide against expected revenue under the new ABC-CLIO contract. Hahn noted that SHAFR experienced a deficit in operating funds of some $2,000 in 2004.Hahn elaborated major features of the 2005 budget. He encouraged Council members to study the fine detail in the Profit and Loss supplementary pages and to ask any questions. He indicated he aimed for complete transparency in all financial matters. Hahn also presented a summary of the endowment growth in 2004 and of SHAFR’s net worth on 31 December 2004. Costigliola asked if SHAFR is spending enough from the endowment to justify its non-profit status. Hahn said this is an ongoing concern, and stressed that SHAFR must make clear through actions that it is more interested in public service than making money. Woods observed that SHAFR seems to be operating on safe grounds. Nelson stressed that Council should dedicate significant resources to its annual meeting. Sibley asked about a video that appeared in the line-item expenses. Lerner explained that a round table is forthcoming in Passport on the documentary Fog of War. Council unanimously accepted the 2004 financial statement and the 2005 budget.
  6. Diplomatic History Contract Committee Randall Woods reported that the committee consists of himself (as chair), David Anderson, Peter Hahn (ex-officio), Robert Schulzinger, Mark Stoler, and Mary Ann Heiss. At Council’s direction, the committee has begun the process of examining the Diplomatic History contract well ahead of deadline. Notice must be given in December 2006 if SHAFR plans not to renew with Blackwell after the 2007 volume year. The committee intends to present a recommendation to Council no later than June 2006. The committee is meeting with a number of publishers during this AHA conference. Nelson asked if SHAFR is fairly happy with Blackwell, and the response was generally positive. Woods said the committee is taking into consideration not only finances but also quality in the publication of Diplomatic History and service such as maintenance of the membership list. He further added that the committee is trying to involve Editor-in-Chief Robert Schulzinger at every step of the process.
  7. Electronic version of the Guide Thomas Zeiler circulated a written report in advance. David Anderson reported that an updated electronic version would be available early in 2006. Stoler added that ABC-CLIO is seeking feedback from SHAFR about the best method for incorporating the new updates. ABC-CLIO had suggested that members encourage their libraries to purchase the electronic Guide. SHAFR will receive a minimum annual royalty of $5,000.
  8. Roster & Research List Brian Etheridge reported that several points have been considered in redesigning the roster, including: how to best publicize the reform of the roster, how to redesign the interface of the on-line version, and how best to create a paper roster. He and his contact at Blackwell have come up with a redesigned version of the roster. It might be useful to add a button on the existing website called Membership Services. One would need a user name and password from Blackwell to access these services. At this page, members could edit their roster information and access Diplomatic History online. The roster link as it now exists will display a read-only version of the roster. Advantages to the new system will be that the roster will now be updated more directly with Blackwell’s membership information. The upgrade will be effective in May. In the interim, the current roster must be cleared of outdated and duplicate entries. Etheridge asked Council to consider hiring two MA students at Louisiana Tech for this task. Council indicated its assent for the expenditure. It was also pointed out that if SHAFR wants another paper roster it might have to spend additional money. Hahn suggested that Council consider this issue after the electronic version is up and running. Nelson asked how readily the paper version can be updated. Anderson said that he used to ask for updated information once a year. Etheridge added that his contact at Blackwell had mentioned the possibility of Blackwell assuming responsibility for redesigning the entire SHAFR website, but that no specific offer had yet been made.
  9. Passport Mitch Lerner reported that Passport had now been up and running at Ohio State for more than one calendar year. Carol Anderson of the University of Missouri will replace the retiring Deborah Kisatsky on the editorial board. At the moment, Passport costs roughly half what the previous newsletter used to cost SHAFR per year. This savings is largely due to the subsidy paid by the Mershon Center at Ohio State in FY 2003-4 and FY 2004-5. Lerner reported that he is in the process of reapplying for this subsidy for FY 2005-6, and noted that at some point the Mershon Center may discontinue or reduce its subsidy.
  10. 2005 annual meeting Christopher Jesperson reported that the 2005 program committee met yesterday, and that the program looks sound. The annual meeting will begin Thursday afternoon, June 23, and run through Saturday, June 25. All 48 panels proposed were accepted, due to their exceptional quality. The SHAFR president will speak Friday night, and a luncheon will be held on Saturday afternoon. All sessions will be held at the National Archives, but dinner and the luncheon will be offsite. The plenary session will be held on Thursday evening. Hahn brought up that Council authorized $1,500 for graduate student travel to this conference, and that the program committee will decide how to distribute these funds. Hahn said there has been an additional $500 gift to this fund from a senior colleague. Sara Wilson asked for advice on whether Council wanted to recruit media coverage and advertise the conference to the local community. Council approved both ideas. Nelson advised that a shuttle bus should run to the local metro station; Anderson suggested that the local arrangements committee consider the idea.
  11. 2006 annual meeting David Anderson reported that the 2006 annual meeting will be held Friday, June 23 to Sunday, June 25 at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, with Ted Wilson chairing local arrangements. The local arrangements committee is in place. Wilson will present a more complete report at the Council meeting in June. The 2006 conference will feature a Sunday evening plenary session, to which prominent public officials have been invited. Stoler apologized for the numerous communications he had sent related to this meeting during the previous summer. There were a number of issues to be addressed by Council. Stoler explained the difficulty of getting appropriate building reservations, necessitating the need to meet through Sunday evening. Matray asked if there was a concern about attendance since Lawrence is a little out of the way. Stoler replied that we believe the proximity of two presidential libraries will attract people to the conference. Nelson mentioned that the 2007 meeting will be back in the Washington D.C. area, and suggested Georgetown University. Stoler added that Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin have all expressed interest for 2008.
  12. Endowment James Matray reported that the endowment was in excellent condition. The two accounts both experienced growth of about 5 percent during the last six-month period. Matray mentioned that much of that growth came in the month of November. In ten years the endowment has increased 162 percent. Matray suggested the possibility of increasing money for awards to further SHAFR’s public service goals. Woods suggested the possibility of establishing a minimum balance for the endowment, with anything beyond that being spendable. Matray suggested discussing this idea at the next Council meeting. Anderson suggested that such a fund could be designed as a percentage of earnings. Matray urged that SHAFR could make a real difference for graduate students with even a portion of the earnings on the endowment. Nelson suggested that money could also be allocated for first year assistant professors. Matray requested that Council members contact him with their thoughts on this issue and he agreed to compose, in consultation with Hahn, a specific plan for Council consideration.
  13. Bernath Dissertation Grant Phyllis Soybel reported that 19 of 27 proposals received were for both the Bernath Dissertation Grant and the Gelfand-Rappaport Fellowship. She reported that the state of young scholarship is very good, leading to significant competition for the award. The committee chose to award the Bernath Dissertation Grant to Jessica Chapman of UC Santa Barbara, who works on South Vietnamese politics.
  14. Gelfand-Rappaport Fellowship Phyllis Soybel reported that this fellowship went to S.R. Joey Long, a Ph.D. candidate stationed in Singapore, who researches U.S.-Singapore relations in the 1950s. Soybel stressed that there were a number of high quality candidates. One of the reasons there were so many applicants was that the fellowship was publicized on H-Diplo.
  15. Link-Kuehl Prize David Anderson reported for the committee that there was intense competition. The committee granted honorable mentions to books edited by Christian Ostermann and by Mary Giunta & J. Dane Hartgrove. The Link-Kuehl prize was awarded to Jeffrey Kimball for his collection on the Nixon papers.
  16. Resolutions of thanks to retiring Council members David Anderson expressed thanks to William Burr, Andrew Rotter, and Robert McMahon for their years of dedicated service to SHAFR.
  17. David Anderson mentioned that he would probably be sending a letter to the CIA about declassification. Council warmly approved the scheduling of this meeting over lunch rather than breakfast and directed Hahn to aim to schedule the January 2006 meeting at a similar time. Hahn also indicated that Council would be asked in the near future to approve an off-site venue for the SHAFR luncheon during the 2006 AHA meeting Council also directed that the Council meeting in June 2006 be scheduled over lunch rather than breakfast if the schedule permitted it.

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