SHAFR Council Meeting Minutes
Friday, 4 January 2019
8:00 am to 1:00 pm
Palmer House Hilton, Indiana Room
Council Members Present:
Barbara Keys (presiding), Vivien Chang, Mary Dudziak, David Engerman, Kristin Hoganson, Julia Irwin, Andrew Johns, Adriane Lentz-Smith, Brian McNamara, Lien-Hang Nguyen, Amy Sayward (ex officio), and Kelly Shannon Council Members Absent: Matthew Connelly, Peter Hahn, and Kathryn Statler
Nick Cullather, Anne L. Foster, Savitri Maya Kunze, Ilaria Scaglia, and PatriciaThomas
SHAFR President Barbara Keys called the meeting to order at 8:00 am. Keys welcomed the Council, briefly outlined meeting business, and thanked retiring members Terry Anderson, Amy Greenberg, Amanda Demmer, and Tim Borstelmann.
Executive Director Amy Sayward noted that since the June 2018 meeting, Council had approved the following items via correspondence: minutes of June 2018 Council meeting; motions related to matters of concern following the annual meeting; contracts for the SHAFR 2020, 2021, and 2023 conferences; and a survey of the membership regarding the advocacy issue. There was no further discussion.
Diplomatic History Business:
Nominees for Editorial Board
Keys introduced the nominees put forward by the editors of Diplomatic History for the editorial board: Max Friedman, Erez Manela, and Joy Schulz. The new editorial board nominees would serve terms from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2021. Brian McNamara motioned to approve the editors’ nominees for the editorial board, David Engerman seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously (11-0-0).
Scholarly Debate and Norms of Professional Conduct in SHAFR Publications
Council had a lengthy discussion about the norms of scholarly publishing as they are implemented in SHAFR publications, including the format for debates, decision-making policies and adherence to them, and civility and respect. Council emphasized the place of the Stuart L. Bernath Prize and Presidential lectures in Diplomatic History, noting that the journal publishes them without peer review, thus setting them apart from other types of contributions. Council also noted the importance of asking the incoming DH editors to adhere to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) recommendations.
Anne L. Foster and Nick Cullather, editors of Diplomatic History, joined Council to discuss their editors’ report. Conversation focused on the editorial processes used in relation to unsolicited rebuttals published in the journal and on adherence to the policies on the DH website, and stressed the importance of adhering to usual practice of seeking more than one external review of unsolicited essays. Council suggested, and the editors agreed, that when a response to an article published in a subsequent issue of the journal, the website should include a link to the response with the original article (or some other indication that the article was followed by a response).
Patricia Thomas, Executive Editor, US Humanities Journals at Oxford University Press, joined Council to discuss the publisher’s report. She pointed out that the new Oxford University Press browser platform had successfully brought more traffic to their journals’ websites. She also noted the success of the cross-journal digital collection of articles (a “virtual issue”) on the intersection of history and food. Both Thomas and Council expressed enthusiasm for pursuing other such digital collaborations in the future.
Mary Dudziak brought up a matter that SHAFR leadership has raised previously with OUP: how a SHAFR demographic survey of its membership could interface with Oxford University Press, suggesting that after the membership sign-up process, the press website could link members directly to a SHAFR website so that the Society would be able to collect relevant information. The Council as a whole affirmed the importance of this measure. Council also affirmed the need to add an ethics agreement as a mandatory aspect of the membership sign-up process.
There was also discussion of how funds would be divided (between membership fees and subscription fees) under the new publisher’s contract. Engerman requested and Thomas agreed to provide a model based on the previous year’s numbers that the Executive Director and Council could use for future financial planning.
Bids for Conference Coordinator
Council discussed the status of the conference coordinator vacancy and offered support for Sayward’s efforts to move forward with the process in a timely way.
Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy and Procedure
Julia Irwin presented the report that she and Brian DeLay had compiled in their capacities as co-chairs of the Task Force on Conference Conduct. The task force was created in late October in response to former SHAFR President Peter Hahn’s request to discuss safeguards SHAFR should adopt to prevent sexual harassment and misconduct at the annual conference. Irwin explained the importance of creating two documents: a public-facing policy statement on sexual harassment and misconduct and an internal document of procedures.
Council commended the task force’s work in researching and creating the policy and procedural documents on sexual misconduct and harassment. Council members expressed general approval of the public-facing document. Kelly Shannon asked if the public-facing document could include a definition of consent. She emphasized the importance of spelling out explicitly, in language that might mirror that used on U.S. college campuses, that if a person is impaired or physically incapacitated, they are unable to give consent. Council agreed that this addition would be in the best interest of promoting a productive and safe environment in future conference settings. Other small changes to the draft document included a deadline for the annual report and changing the “Title IX” wording to be more reflective of campus policies beyond the United States. Engerman moved that the amended policy draft be adopted, pending approval by SHAFR legal counsel. McNamara seconded the motion, which passed unanimously (11-0-0).
Council then turned to discuss the procedural document regarding conference conduct. Members were in general agreement that it would be helpful if a third-party individual, outside of SHAFR (such as a professional ombudsperson), could be available during the annual conference to act as a resource for conference participants. Returning to the public-facing document, Keys suggested that Council add another friendly amendment to the report that would remove the formal requirement of having an ombudsperson onsite, rather than accessible in some way, during the conference. Council agreed to formalize the internal procedural document via e-mail correspondence in consultation with legal counsel so that the procedural document would be in place by the June annual meeting.
Dudziak noted that the additional requirement that all SHAFR members agree to ethics standards would likely require a change to membership requirements in the by-laws. Council agreed to place the item on the agenda for the June 2019 meeting and suggested that it could create a task force to review the by-laws and recommend needed changes. Council also agreed that all conference participants would need to accept the terms of the sexual harassment and misconduct policy before they could complete their registration for the conference.
Overall Financial Picture
Sayward presented her financial reports to Council and summarized what SHAFR had spent in the previous fiscal year. She noted that the previous work of Council accounted for the good financial position that SHAFR found itself in during the past fiscal year and that the budget estimate for the fiscal year that had just started on November 1 indicated a small projected surplus.
Keys, in presenting the work of the Ways & Means Committee (which had met the previous evening), expressed the committee’s views that any further decisions about significant budget adjustments could be deferred until there was clarity in how the new Oxford contract would divide the membership/subscription rates. Following that, Council could choose to trim the budget, to adjust its endowment spending rule (for example, raising it from 3% to 4%), to adjust its membership rates, or to continue holding its present course.
Dudziak moved that Council approve a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for IT Director George Fujii. Shannon seconded the motion, which passed unanimously (11-0-0).
Pre-Conference Public Engagement Workshop Proposal
Keys introduced a proposal from Kelly McFarland, the Director of Programs and Research Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, which the Ways & Means Committee had considered previously. The proposal requested a contribution of $1,000-$2,000 to help defer travel and hotel costs for SHAFR members who attend the Institute’s pre-conference public engagement workshop. It also asked for SHAFR’s assistance in publicizing the event and registering participants, similar to the ways in which SHAFR had supported the Miller Center’s 2017 workshop. The motion that SHAFR contribute $1,000 was made by Adriane Lentz-Smith, seconded by Andrew Johns, and approved unanimously (11-0-0).
Council then discussed the possibility of raising membership rates for SHAFR for the 2020 renewal cycle. Council noted a number of items in favor of and against such a change. Sayward noted that SHAFR membership now included access to the online SHAFR Guide, which in the past year was only available to members for a fee. Council members agreed that this benefit increased the value of SHAFR membership but decided to postpone a vote on membership rate increases for the coming year (noting that May is the deadline each year for notifying Oxford of membership rate increases).
Summer Institute Proposals
Council then discussed the proposals that it had received for a 2019 or 2020 SHAFR Summer Institute. (Sayward recused herself given her involvement in one of the proposals.) After expressing general praise for the merits of both proposals, Council examined the funding structures and resources detailed in each proposal. Lentz-Smith motioned to support the “Women in the World” Summer Institute proposal. Lien-Hang Nguyen seconded the proposal, which passed with ten votes in favor and one abstention (10-0-1).
Endowed Prize Policy
Keys introduced the draft “Endowed Prize Policy.” Council expressed its commitment to covering a specific prize amount regardless of the earnings in any given year. It reached consensus that the Endowed Prize Policy should follow the endowment spending rule and be part of SHAFR’s endowment fund, except in exceptional circumstances, such as the Bernath endowment. Sayward agreed to revise the draft policy in line with these recommendations.
Report from Committee on Women in SHAFR
Ilaria Scaglia joined the meeting on behalf of the Committee on Women in SHAFR to present “The Status of Women in Diplomatic and International History, 2013-2017: A Follow-up Report.” She discussed how the Committee on Women in SHAFR had focused its attention on how best to offer broad support to women in the field. She specifically suggested initiating a mentorship program and some type of grant or workshop to assist members in working toward completion of their second monograph. Council members praised the report, particularly the compilation of data on women in SHAFR. They agreed with the committee’s recommendations and indicated their support for implementing a mentorship program and a second-book workshop.
Clarification of Advocacy By-Law Vote
Sayward’s presentation of her Executive Director’s report highlighted the first-ever vote by the membership on whether to support an advocacy issue under the new by-law amendment. Noting that at least one member had requested the option of abstaining, she asked for guidance on the question of whether members should have the option to abstain (in addition to the option to vote “yes” or “no” to support the advocacy being promoted) and whether an abstention would count as part of the 30% of the membership that had to vote in order for SHAFR to take a public stand. Dudziak moved to add abstention as an option for such online voting and moved that members deciding to vote “abstain” would count toward meeting the quorum required by the by-laws. Shannon seconded the motion, which passed with ten votes in favor and one vote against (10-1-0).
Formation of a Membership Sub-Committee for Two-Year and Community College Faculty
After reviewing the report and recommendation of the Membership Committee, Council supported the creation of a Sub-Committee for Community-College and Two-Year College Faculty Members within the existing Membership Committee and encouraged the President and Vice-President to take steps to create the sub-committee.
Teaching Committee Report and Voices & Visions Project Proposal
As part of its written report, the Teaching Committee endorsed a proposal related to Voices and Visions, an on-going, primary-source project of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The proposal recommended a formal connection between SHAFR and Voices and Visions. Sayward noted that the project’s organizers had volunteered to attend the Council meeting in person to discuss the proposal. Dudziak expressed the opinion that the Web and Teaching committees should be involved in a discussion about the merits of the proposal. McNamara expressed the consensus that Council request a more in-depth proposal from Voices and Visions that would specifically indicate how SHAFR’s partnership would be qualitatively different for SHAFR members than the current link under the “Teaching” section of the SHAFR website.
After Johns recused himself, Council members expressed concern about the gender distribution of the authors/editors of books reviewed in Passport, which had also been noted in the report by the Committee on Women in SHAFR and by Council in its January 2018 meeting. The consensus was that the SHAFR President should request the Passport editor to include in the regular June 2019 report on Passport an indication of how this issue was being addressed.
McNamara motioned to adjourn at 1:00 pm, Engerman seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously (10-0-0).