June 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006 - 8:30am
Council Meeting

Friday @ 8:30 am

Paul Adams Lounge, Adams Alumni Center, University of Kansas

Present: David Anderson, Frank Costigliola, Craig Daigle, Brian Etheridge, Peter Hahn, Mary Ann Heiss, Mark Lawrence, Fred Logevall, Jim Matray, Joe Mocnik, Anna Nelson, Brenda Gayle Plummer, Stephen Rabe, Robert Schulzinger, Katherine Sibley, Mark Stoler, Sara Wilson, Ted Wilson, Randall Woods (presiding), Tom Zeiler

Business Items


Other Business

  1. Diplomatic History Contract Woods reported on the deliberations of the Diplomatic History Contract Committee (Ann Heiss, Robert Schulzinger, Tom Zeiler, David Anderson, Mark Stoler, Randall Woods, and Peter Hahn). The committee met with multiple publishers and visited their facilities to meet staff and gather information. Blackwell, Oxford, Cambridge, and Routledge (Taylor and Francis) made serious offers. Woods reported that the committee unanimously recommended signing a contract with Blackwell to publish Diplomatic History for five years (2008-2012). The committee noted that Blackwell staff members have worked hard to improve their services to SHAFR, in terms of both publishing the journal and providing member services. Blackwell also offered lucrative financial incentives. Committee members also stressed the value of continuity between the current contract with Blackwell and the one to follow. In discussion, Schulzinger said the membership of SHAFR is about 1500 and that Diplomatic History has been increasing its institutional subscriptions even as many libraries cut back in general. Blackwell has thought seriously into the future, in terms of electronic content and other issues. When members of the committee visited Blackwell offices in Boston in September 2005, Blackwell staff shared many ideas for advancing the journal. Woods said that Blackwell seriously contemplated our goal of expanding the profile of the journal, discussing how to get Diplomatic History into bookstores and market it to an informed lay-audience, much like Foreign Affairs. In response to a question about prospects for redesigning the journal, Schulzinger said that Blackwell is very willing to look into such changes if they are found to be desirable and that the press had already begun to implement reforms to the journal. Woods pointed out that the shorter time frame of the new contract (five rather than the current eight years) should help maintain quality of services delivered. Stoler added that it was not initially a foregone conclusion that the committee would recommend staying with Blackwell, but that through negotiations presided over by Woods, Blackwell produced a first-rate offer. In response to questions, committee members discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the bids by other presses. Costigliola commented that he would not want to see the rigor or critical tone of the articles sacrificed in an effort to reach a lay audience. Woods gave proper assurances, indicating that articles are presently accessible to educated general readers. Hahn provided a general summary of past and anticipated future royalties from Blackwell. He also noted that Blackwell will digitize all past issues of the journal and publish and distribute Passport at no cost to SHAFR. He also noted that Blackwell has already built the new member services web-site. Council unanimously approved a new five-year contract with Blackwell and instructed the committee to execute an agreement.
  2. Steering committee to envision major initiatives Woods explained that SHAFR continues to search for ways to use its revenue to support its mission and indicated that he planned to appoint a new committee to think strategically about such matters and report to Council at a later date. Discussion ensued on the ongoing need to protect SHAFR’s tax-exempt status by increasing its spending on worthy causes and by engaging in other relevant activities including fund-raising. Council indicated its approval of Woods’s proposed action.
  3. Graduate Student Travel Grant program Woods and Hahn reported that Robert Divine offered to make a substantial gift to SHAFR to fund permanently the Graduate Student Travel Fund. They moved that Council approve formally the establishment of the Robert A. and Barbara Divine Graduate Student Travel Fund upon receipt of the Divine gift, and authorize expenditures of $1,500 per year under the program. Hahn provided a synopsis of funds raised and expended under the current program during its first two years. It was clarified that the Divine Fund would pay the costs of travel to SHAFR conferences by graduate students delivering papers. The motion passed unanimously.
  4. Electronic ballots in SHAFR elections Hahn asked Council for guidance on conducting of SHAFR’s annual elections. He explained that in most years members return only 200-300 ballots (of some 1,500 distributed) and described how elections might be conducted by e-mail or some web-based means in an effort to increase voter turn-out. He also explained security concerns with all these methods of voting. After discussion, Costigliola moved (Lawrence seconded) that annual elections continue to rely on paper ballots sent both ways through postal mail and that ballots should be mailed first-class rather than bulk rate to speed their distribution worldwide. The motion passed unanimously.
  5. Reforms of fellowships for graduate students Hahn moved that Council authorize the Executive Director, in conjunction with chairs of relevant grant and fellowship committees, to streamline application procedures for graduate students and recent Ph.D.s seeking SHAFR funding according to the following principles: (a) All competitions will be open to all qualified applicants, regardless of membership in SHAFR. (b) Applicants will be encouraged to submit their applications (and referees, their letters) by e-mail. (c) Required application materials will be streamlined. (d) All programs should be defined as assisting persons conducting research in the “some aspect of the history of U.S. foreign relations.” (e) Graduate students will be permitted to apply for the Bernath Dissertation Grant and the Gelfand-Rappaport Fellowship with a single application. (f) the Holt, Hogan, and Bemis Fellowships should be issued at the OAH meeting rather than the SHAFR conference, so that recipients can more effectively plan to use the funds over summer months. (g) Those working as professional historians and within six years of receiving their Ph.D.s should be eligible for Bemis grants on the same terms as untenured faculty members. Hahn explained that these reforms would greatly ease the burden on students (and their advisers) applying for fellowships and grants and on committees that evaluated the applications. Several of the reforms were tried experimentally in the last cycle and worked extremely well. E-mail submissions in particular seemed highly desirable as SHAFR becomes more international in membership and reach. Council directed the Executive Director to reform the programs as suggested. Lawrence moved (Costigliola seconded) that the Gelfand-Rappaport fellowship should be increased to $2,000. The motion was unanimously approved.
  6. 2007 annual meeting Anderson reported that SHAFR had an option to hold its 2007 annual meeting at the Marriott Westfields hotel near Washington, D.C. Anderson, Woods, and Hahn (with S. Wilson’s help) had negotiated a contract with the Westfields after Anderson proved unable to confirm conference arrangements at any Washington-area university. Because holding a conference at a hotel would be unprecedented for SHAFR and would carry certain financial risks, Woods had refrained from signing the contract with the Westfields until and unless Council thoroughly considered the matter and indicated its approval. Hahn, Woods, and Anderson clarified that adopting what they called the “mini-OAH” model at a hotel conference center has certain advantages, such as eliminating the need to deal with a university bureaucracy. Yet the new model also has drawbacks, including financial risks to SHAFR inherent in room commitments, catering minimums, and cancellation fees; and high room costs for members. The Westfields in particular has certain disadvantages, including its isolated setting in suburban Washington and its high room costs. But the hotel also offered to share shuttle fees and waived room fees for conference sessions; double, triple, and quad rtes would mitigate the high room costs for individuals. In discussion, various members questioned whether a hotel on a Metro line might prove a better option. Anderson explained that such sites prove markedly more expensive and that virtually none was available when he began searching for alternatives as the university locales failed to work out. If the mini-OAH model were followed in future years, an earlier start in finding a site would be advisable. Anderson moved (Rabe seconded) that Council approve the draft contract with the Westfields for the 2007 meeting and authorize Woods to sign it. The motion passed unanimously. In further discussion, it was stressed that SHAFR should find some way to subsidize individual expenses of graduate students to ensure that the conference remained affordable. S. Wilson suggested that a local arrangements committee of Washington-area faculty might still prove useful in planning for and hosting the conference. It was suggested that the decision be explained in Passport. It was suggested that Council carefully evaluate the 2007 experience at the Westfields before accepting or rejecting the mini-OAH model in principle for future conferences. Hahn announced that Richard Immerman had appointed Stephen Rabe and Doug Little as co-chairs of the 2007 program committee.
  7. Honoraria for chapter editors of the Guide Zeiler reported that the position of chapter editor is a challenging position that requires significant effort. He proposed offering a $250 honorarium to editors for their work on the five-year update, and then $100 each year thereafter. After vigorous discussion on the modest amount of the compensation and the difficulty of cashing checks in Europe, Rabe moved (Stoler seconded) that editors would be compensated with their choice of a check or a gift certificate to a book store. The proposal was unanimously approved.
  8. American Association of University Professors Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure Woods explained that the American Association of University Professors asked SHAFR to indicate its approval of the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretive Comments.” After a brief discussion on the value of tenure, Council approved the proposal by acclamation.
  9. Discounted membership fees Hahn explained that for reasons he cannot determine, membership discounts are officially available through Blackwell for members of the AHA or the Marshall Foundation. He proposed that Council eliminate these discounts. This proposal was unanimously approved.
  10. Membership Services Etheridge reported that only 18 percent of members have registered on the Member Services web-site and only five percent have entered their information on the roster. He distributed registration forms at the conference and he will continue to advertise the importance of members signing up for this vital program. Etheridge further discussed a long-term plan for building the SHAFR web-site into a resource more valuable to the general public.
  11. Guide Zeiler reported that he was waiting for five editors to submit their chapters, but that overall progress has been made toward an updated version.
  12. 2006 annual meeting Costigliola reported that the program committee successfully enlisted senior members to participate more fully as presenters rather than only as commentators and chairs. Efforts to recruit historians with a non-U.S. focus were less successful because many such scholars spend summer months outside the United States. S. Wilson said that 269 people pre-registered for the conference, exactly the same number as at the 2004 meeting in Austin. T. Wilson said there was some overlap this year with freshmen orientation at KU, which caused us to move the beginning date to Friday. He also pointed out that the Continuing Education office at KU had a lot to do with local arrangements. A brief discussion ensued on the possibility of scheduling the annual meeting in a month other than June.
  13. 2008 annual meeting Woods moved (Stoler seconded) that the 2008 annual meeting should be scheduled at Ohio State University, subject to confirmation of availability and fees. Stoler mentioned for the record that the University of Wisconsin, the University of Tennessee, and the University of San Diego have all expressed interest for 2010. The motion was unanimously approved.
  14. Endowment Matray reported that the two endowment accounts have grown nearly six percent since December (that is, a 12 percent annual rate). He reminded Council that in January 2007 he will recommend the number of Bemis grants to award in 2007. It was originally planned to use about 20 percent of the annual growth for Bemis grants. In 2006, 10 awards of $1,000 were granted. Hahn suggested that Council, after setting a pool of funds to be distributed, authorize the Bemis committee to use discretion and award different amounts to different applicants based on merit and need. Support was indicated for that idea. In response to a question, Hahn indicated that of the 10 Bemis winners, three were women and three were beyond the Ph.D.
  15. Prizes and Fellowships Plummer reported that Graebner Prize would be awarded to Gary Hess of Bowling Green State University. On behalf of Carol Chin, Hahn reported that the Holt Fellowship would be awarded to Kate Burlingham of Rutgers University with honorable mention to John Gronbeck-Tedesco of the University of Texas; and that the Hogan Fellowship would be awarded to Ryan Irwin of Ohio State University. Hahn reported that the first ten winners of Bemis grants would be announced at the Sunday luncheon.
  16. Resolutions Woods moved that Council acknowledge and thank the local arrangements and program committees of the 2006 meeting, and that Council acknowledge and thank Prof. Edward A. Goedeken of Iowa State University for his tireless service composing the annual dissertations list. All three resolutions were approved unanimously.
  17. Other business It was agreed that the longer time frame of this current Council meeting was necessary. Council members should probably plan on another session of this length on the morning just before the start of the next annual meeting in June 2007.
  18. Respectfully submitted, Peter L. Hahn Executive Director PLH/rr