June 2005

Friday, June 24, 2005 - 11:15am
Council Meeting

Friday @ 11:15 am-12:45 pm

University of Maryland Inn and Conference Center, College Park, MD

Present: David L. Anderson (Presiding), Frank Costigliola, Brian Etheridge, Peter L. Hahn, Mary Ann Heiss, T. Christopher Jespersen, Scott Laderman, Melvyn P. Leffler, Fredrik Logevall, James Matray, Josip Mocnik, Anna K. Nelson, Arnold Offner, Robert Robinson, Robert Schulzinger, Mark A. Stoler, J. Samuel Walker, Sara Wilson, Ted Wilson, Randall Woods

Business Items


  1. Motion to establish SHAFR Travel to Collections Grants program In a motion circulated in advance of the meeting, Matray and Hahn proposed that Council authorize a new SHAFR Travel to Collections Grant to promote research by doctoral candidates and by faculty members working to earn tenure in the field of the history of U.S. foreign relations. The Holt-Hogan Committee would determine the recipients of annual awards of up to $1,000 each to help defray costs of travel necessary to conduct research on significant scholarly projects. Normally, approximately twenty percent of the annual calendar increase in the value of the SHAFR endowment funds would finance and determine the number of awards issued each year. Matray explained that he and Hahn wrote the motion as Council directed after its January 2005 discussion on devoting additional funds from endowment earnings to subsidize research travel by graduate students. Matray explained that the endowment is very healthy and that it grew substantially in 2004, that the proposed program would use some of the earnings in a way that fulfills SHAFR’s mission, and that the motion allows Council the freedom to allocate the money for this program as it wishes. Hahn added that SHAFR, based on its earnings-to-spending ratio in 2004 (figured on a complicated IRS formula with five-year moving averages), is apparently close to being reclassified as a non-profit foundation, which might involve new tax liabilities of one percent on earnings; the new program would help SHAFR fulfill its public mission and maintain its status as a non-profit organization with no new tax liabilities. Logevall asked if the tax might grow beyond one percent; the answer was no. At Costigliola’s suggestion, the motion was amended to include all non-tenured faculty in the program. In reply to a question by Mocnik, it was specified that the program would cover domestic and international travel. Council unanimously approved the revised motion.
  2. Motions to increase subsidy to Diplomatic History editorial office and place the journal on JSTOR David Anderson moved that Council authorize an increase in funding of $1,000 per year (from $13,500 to $14,500) to the Diplomatic History editorial office. Anderson explained that the growth in submissions and level of work together with available institutional support made this a reasonable request and asked Council for its support. Council unanimously approved this motion. Council discussed the possibility of contracting with JSTOR to post back issues of Diplomatic History on-line. Anderson and Schulzinger had initially favored having Council authorize the editors of the journal to sign a contract with JSTOR. In talks over recent days between the Diplomatic History Contract Committee and various publishers, however, it became clear that some publishers offer a product that might out-perform JSTOR and that SHAFR should thus address the issue of on-line storage of back issues in the context of its larger contract talks.
  3. Motion to increase membership dues Anderson moved that Council increase SHAFR membership dues to the following rates: Regular members $45 in 2006 $50 in 2007 Student members no change in 2006 $25 in 2007 Anderson explained that the current dues of $40 per year ($20 for students) is inexpensive for the services SHAFR provides and is lower than the dues of other, similar organizations and that dues have not increased in a number of years. He indicated that he made this motion at the request of the Diplomatic History editorial office. Logevall asked why the increases were necessary given the state of the endowment. Anderson said that the user fee becomes a basis for valuing the product. It is not that SHAFR needs the money, but it is a question of how the organization positions itself. Nelson asked what specific prices were for other small organizations. Anderson said most are in the $50-60 range. T. Wilson added that the Society for Military History increased its dues from $40 to $55 last year. Laderman suggested that because this was not a financial issue, Council should not increase the student rate. Matray concurred, arguing that SHAFR could show the value of the product through raising the regular fees while also showing its commitment to graduate students by keeping their fees the same. Schulzinger observed that the graduate student rate traditionally has been fifty percent of the regular rate and that breaking this ratio now would render it difficult to reestablish it later. Laderman moved an amendment to raise the standard rates while maintaining student rates at the current level, which was approved by four votes in favor to three opposed. The amended motion was approved unanimously by council.
  4. Motion to pass resolution on action by British Association of University Teachers Anderson moved that Council approve the following resolution:

    SHAFR wishes to commend British Association of University Teachers’ recent decision to repeal its earlier motion calling for a boycott of Haifa and Bar Ilan Universities. SHAFR is committed to the free exchange of ideas among academics without regard to the policies of their respective governments. We reject proposals that curtail the freedom of teachers and researchers to engage in work with academic colleagues, and we reaffirm the paramount importance of the freest possible international movement of scholars and ideas. SHAFR supports the right of all in the academic community to communicate freely with other academics on matters of professional interest.

    Anderson explained that he brought this motion at the suggestion of former SHAFR presidents Arnold Offner and Melvyn Leffler, who were invited to present a rationale for it. Offner and Leffler explained the history of the AUT’s boycott against Haifa and Bar-Ilan and observed that it involved a disturbing move to try to censure colleagues over a political issue. Other organizations had gone on record with respect to the principle involved. The motion commends the AUT for repealing the original boycott and praises the idea of openness. Leffler encouraged Council to pass the resolution even though the AUT repealed the boycott three weeks ago because there is an effort underway to restore the boycott. There is a prospect that the AUT will merge with another organization that might support the resolution. If Council approves, Anderson indicated that he would communicate this resolution to the AUT and the media. Matray mentioned that the Chronicle of Higher Education has dealt with this issue in depth. Council approved the motion unanimously.

  5. Motion to authorize Teaching Committee to pursue a “digital archive” initiative On behalf of the Teaching Committee, Hahn proposed that Council authorize the Teaching Committee to explore a partnership with the libraries at Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin to establish a digital archive of resources in diplomatic history. Hahn explained that the Teaching Committee wanted to explore the creation of a digital archive of resources in diplomatic history with the Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin libraries. This autumn, the libraries will apply for a federal grant ranging between $50,000 and $1,000,000 to subsidize the digitization of primary records in diplomatic history, beginning with the Foreign Relations of the United States series. The libraries are prepared to do the work of applying for the grant and digitizing the records and invited SHAFR to serve as an intellectual partner to add status to the project and to provide expert advice. The Teaching Committee would take responsibility for this project. The motion asks Council’s permission to explore the possibilities, and reserves for Council the privilege of reviewing any formal proposal at a later time. Costigliola asked if this program would involve a financial contribution; Hahn and Anderson said no financial commitment is contemplated at this time. Leffler asked if the Department of State is already digitizing the FRUS series and Schulzinger said that he believed that only recent volumes are available online. Nelson said “partnering” is a problematic word because it seems to involve money and she suggested “endorse” as an alternative. Anderson indicated that he would direct the Teaching Committee to explore the possibilities discussed without a vote from Council.
  6. Motion to amend specifications for Bernath Article Prize On behalf of the Bernath Article Prize Committee, Hahn proposed that winners of the Myrna Bernath Book Prize would be ineligible to win the Stuart L. Bernath Article Prize. Hahn noted that winners of the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize were currently ineligible for the Bernath Article Prize and that in the judgment of the Article Prize Committee it seemed logical to extend such an exclusion to winners of the Myrna Bernath Book Prize, given that winning either book prize indicates a degree of intellectual achievement that places one above the level of competition intended in the Article Prize competition. Hahn clarified that winners of the Myrna Bernath Fellowship would not be excluded from the Bernath Article Prize competition. Council unanimously approved this motion.
  7. Report on Nixon Archives Anderson called attention to the issues related to getting the Nixon Library formally integrated into the NARA system. He has been in touch with Bruce Craig of the National Coalition for History. Craig advised that history organizations have their presidents write letters to Allen Weinstein offering support of NARA’s efforts to hold the Nixon Library to NARA’s standards for management and access. Craig has said societies should not complicate talks with specific requests, just basic support. This would help NARA in its negotiations and would help maintain support within NARA itself. Nelson supported this idea. Anderson indicated that he will write a letter along the lines described.
  8. SHAFR Roster and Research List Etheridge explained the changes made recently to the electronic roster with the help of Eric Hall at Blackwell. Blackwell will send a letter to all members next week with information on how to access this database. The new site is significantly expanded. Members not only can search the roster but also renew membership, look at Diplomatic History, access Passport, and link to www.shafr.org. This new site also aligns the roster with the membership list. Anderson praised Etheridge’s work and the new site.
  9. 2005 annual meeting Walker reported that conference logistics have proceeded smoothly with the partial exception of parking. S. Wilson reported that she expected a total of 370-380 registrants and that the conference is expected to achieve a small positive financial balance. Hahn called attention to two major reforms for this year’s conference. First, he moved the conference website to the SHAFR server rather than using a server at the host institution. The new website was created by Hahn’s assistant Robert Robinson, who established a template that can be reused for future conferences, which will save thousands of dollars in web-designer fees. Second, Hahn, Robinson, and S. Wilson built a system to move conference cash flow through the Business Office and to establish a means to register on-line and pay with a credit card (via Paypal). These reforms dramatically streamlined the conference finances, kept SHAFR’s assets under SHAFR’s full control, and eased the registration process. Hahn noted that on-line registrations out-numbered mailed registrations by a 3-to-1 margin. He noted that Paypal collected fees of two-to-four percent per transaction (a total of some $800). Hahn recommended that Council authorize continued use of the Paypal on-line system and Council indicated concurrence. In response to a question about the new graduate student travel fund, S. Wilson replied that more than $600 had been raised as part of the registration process and that additional contributions were possible. Hahn added that a $500 contribution received last winter was not part of that total. Anderson asked for a motion of thanks for Program Chair Chris Jespersen, conference consultant Sara Wilson, local arrangements co-chairs J. Samuel Walker and Keith Olson, the Local Arrangements Committee, and Robert Robinson. Council approved the motion unanimously.
  10. 2006 annual meeting T. Wilson provided a thorough report on the arrangements made for the 2006 SHAFR conference in Lawrence, Kansas. He reported that the University of Kansas office that does on-site arrangements would collect a management fee. Getting to the University should not pose any significant problems as a number of airlines service Kansas City airport and as Lawrence is easily accessible by interstate freeway. Accommodations have been arranged at hotels in a lively area of downtown Lawrence. There will be shuttle service. Kansas Union, which was recently refurbished, will be main site of the conference. The conference will begin on a Friday and run to Sunday because of local scheduling issues. On Friday evening, there will be a reception provided by the Dole Institute. It is hoped that a U.S. Senator will be the Sunday evening banquet speaker. The University has made a modest financial commitment. Stoler asked if any arrangements had been made with the Truman and Eisenhower Presidential Libraries. T. Wilson replied that the Truman Library has committed some money and other support for a full set of sessions on Saturday afternoon there, with a social event on site Saturday evening. Some sessions would still be held at the Union for those not working on the Truman era. Hahn suggested that Council schedule its June 2006 meeting in a three hour time block on Friday morning before the conference begins. He observed that the 90-minute time frame of recent June meetings has been insufficient and that the June 2006 meeting will include detailed consideration of the DH contract issue. Council indicated support for the idea.
  11. 2007 annual meeting Anderson reported that he plans to schedule the 2007 meeting in the Washington, D.C. area. He is exploring the possibility of Georgetown as host. Anderson also suggested that conferences might be held at convention centers or hotels rather than universities. Matray suggested that SHAFR consider the University of San Diego as a future venue. Stoler mentioned that in the past Council talked about putting Ohio State on the list for 2008 and perhaps giving it priority and that Wisconsin and Tennessee were also interested.
  12. Endowment Matray reported that the endowment has not done as well during the first five months of 2005, earning a total of $8,000. He advised that under the new research fund motion approved today, Council should routinely decide in each January what portion of the Endowment’s annual earnings of the preceding year should be made available for the program. He also suggested that Council could approve one-time expenditures beyond the percentage of endowment growth set aside for these grants if the previous year’s earning were modest.
  13. Holt Fellowship Hahn reported that the Holt Fellowship was split between Jongnam Na and Keri Lewis.
  14. Hogan Fellowship Hahn reported that Heather Dichter was awarded the Hogan Fellowship
  15. Unterberger Prize Hahn reported that Jonathan Winkler was awarded the Unterberger Prize and that David Ekbladh received an honorable mention.
  16. Respectfully submitted, Peter L. Hahn Executive Director PLH/rr