June 2019

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 8:00am to 12:45pm
Council Meeting

SHAFR Council Meeting Minutes
Thursday, June 20, 2019

8:00 AM-12:45 PM

Boardroom, Arlington Renaissance Capital View
Arlington, Virginia

This meeting was held in accordance with SHAFR By Laws.

Council Members Present: Barbara Keys (presiding), Vivien Chang, Matthew Connelly, Mary Dudziak, Peter Hahn, Kristin Hoganson, Julia Irwin, Andrew Johns, Adriane Lentz-Smith, Brian McNamara, Lien-Hang Nguyen, Amy Sayward (ex officio), and Kelly Shannon.

Council Members Absent: David Engerman and Kathryn Statler

Others Present: Anne L. Foster, Petra Goedde, Antonia Javier, Savitri Maya Kunze, Julie Laut, and Patricia Thomas

General Business

SHAFR President Barbara Keys called the meeting to order at 8:00 am. Keys welcomed the Council and thanked outgoing Council members Matthew Connelly, David Engerman, and Julia Irwin; Amy Sayward, George Fujii, and conference organizers Julie Laut and Amanda Bundy for their hard work organizing the 2019 Annual Meeting, along with Program Committee Co-Chairs Kaeten Mistry and Jay Sexton; and Passport editor Andrew Johns and outgoing Diplomatic History editorial team Anne Foster and Nick Cullather for their contributions and service to these publications and to the Society.

Julie Laut, Conference Coordinator, joined Council to present a brief oral report on the annual SHAFR conference.

Executive Director Amy Sayward noted that since the January 2019 meeting, Council had approved the following motions via correspondence: the minutes of the January 2019 meeting; SHAFR participation in action to promote the creation and preservation of historical diplomatic records; and the implementation of training regarding, and arrangements for, the sexual harassment/misconduct policy at the 2019 SHAFR Conference. With regard to the latter issue, Council had discussed and voted to approve three measures proposed by Keys: (1) hiring consultant Sherry Marts to advise on the handling of any complaints during the conference; (2) formation of a Conference Code of Conduct Task Force; and (3) provision of sexual harassment training to Council and Task Force members before the conference. Council votes were: for (1), unanimously in favor (14-0-0); for (2) 12 for, 1 against, and 1 abstaining; and for (3) 12 for, 1 against, and 1 abstaining.

Financial Matters

Sayward presented financial reports for the first six months of the current fiscal year and the proposed FY2019-20 budget with input from Peter Hahn as chair of the Ways & Means Committee, which had met the previous evening. Both Sayward and Hahn noted the expected deficit in this and in future fiscal years that would create budget constraints in upcoming years. Hahn suggested that Council will need to consider efforts to trim expenses and increase revenues, including possible membership fee increases, conference registration fee increases, reduced spending on communications, and enhanced development initiatives. Hahn proposed that no call for proposals for a Summer Institute after 2020 be made and instead that the Summer Institutes be placed on indefinite suspension. After careful deliberation, Hahn motioned to approve the FY2019-20 budget, Brian McNamara seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously (12-0-0).

Council took up the proposal for a Second Book Workshop and Writing Retreat from the Women in SHAFR Committee. The Council voted unanimously in favor of the proposal (12-0-0).

Keys proposed the creation of a task force to develop criteria to help frame decisions on which activities and external groups SHAFR sponsors, endorses, or funds.

Personnel Matters

Sayward introduced a recommendation for a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Conference Consultant Amanda Bundy for 2019-2020, including bonuses for the Conference Consultant and Conference Coordinator following the conference. Mary Dudziak offered a friendly amendment to allow the Executive Director and President to negotiate the MOA for up to three years, which Sayward approved. Council indicated its support of these recommendations.

Keys introduced her proposal for annual performance reviews of salaried non-editorial staff. McNamara suggested that the procedure be added to relevant MOAs. Dudziak asked whether the evaluation should be completed annually or every other year. In response, Sayward explained, and Hahn concurred, that because Council is asked annually to approve renewals and stipend amounts, it makes sense to complete annual evaluations.

Keys introduced for discussion the Executive Director evaluation, during which Sayward recused herself. Council discussed the important, demanding, and multifaceted role the Executive Director plays and offered recognition and great appreciation for the work that Sayward has done and continues to do in the position. Council noted that previously there had been an assistant to the Executive Director and that the extent of the job seemed to warrant continuing use of the new assistant Sayward has recently retained. Dudziak suggested that a task force could investigate how the work of Executive Director might be restructured in the future to make the position more sustainable, a suggestion with which Council concurred. Hahn made a motion to approve the three recommendations put forward in the Executive Director evaluation with slight revisions: first, that SHAFR carry out a review of the position no later than June 2022; second, that Sayward’s contract as Executive Director be extended for two years to August 30, 2022; and third, that Sayward receive a bonus of $3,000 in 2020 and in 2021. Connelly seconded Hahn’s motion, and Council voted unanimously in favor (12-0-0).

Information Technology (IT) and Web-Related Matters

Council reviewed the Web Committee Report and expressed support for the Committee’s proposal to create a LinkedIn community page for SHAFR.

Council reviewed IT Director George Fujii’s Report. Council noted the timeline for the required website overhaul. Kristin Hoganson suggested that Council create a task force on communications generally that would situate the web-redesign process in a larger context, which received general support from Council.

Publications-Related Matters

Anne Foster, current co-editor of Diplomatic History, and Petra Goedde, incoming co-editor as of July 1, joined the meeting to discuss their report on the previous year and the transition as the journal moved to joint administration between Temple University and Indiana State University. Foster highlighted the draft MOUs with Temple, Indiana State, and the editorial staff. She noted that future e-mail correspondence to the journal will be sent to [email protected]. Foster also emphasized the role her current co-editor, Nick Cullather, has played in ensuring that the journal has run smoothly during the five years he served as editor for Diplomatic History while also holding a demanding administrative position that prevented him from using the teaching relief and other funding budgeted for the journal. Dudziak suggested passing a resolution to thank Cullather for his role as editor of Diplomatic History and for his service to SHAFR. Council members agreed that such a thanks would be in order. Hoganson asked about whether the incoming editors had plans to publish closer to their page budget, and Foster explained that the team has ideas about publishing more state-of-the-field and invited contributions. Council asked whether the editors favored inclusion of a Gold Open Access option. Foster and Goedde recommended that Council make a decision in consultation with Oxford University Press.

Patricia Thomas and Antonia Javier of Oxford University Press Journals joined the meeting for a discussion of their report. Thomas noted that Diplomatic History could have an online-only subscription option for 2020. She also suggested that Oxford would be able to send a follow-up email to members who did not renew by a certain point in the year. Keys raised the issue of Gold Open Access. Thomas noted that Gold Open Access has been an option for some Oxford Journals for several years, because some research funding has become contingent on publishing funded research in fully open-access format. Thomas noted there were different types of licenses under which a journal article can offer Gold Open Access and recommended CC BY-NC-ND (Creative Commons: attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives) as a potentially good option for Diplomatic History. She noted that most comparable journals charged $3,000 per article for Gold Open Access and that price did not seem to influence uptake. Council members queried whether offering this option would lead to inequities; Keys responded that because the open access requirement came from funding agencies, only scholars with research grants needed to take up this option, though she noted that it was possible the UK’s Research Excellence Framework might impose an open access requirement uniformly. Adriane Lentz-Smith moved that SHAFR proceed with the Gold Open Access under the CC BY-NC-ND license for a fee of $3,000. Hoganson seconded the motion, which passed with eleven votes in favor and one abstention (11-0-1).

Council discussed the Passport report, submitted by its editor, Andrew Johns; supplemental information from Keys that noted that 36 of the last 37 stand-alone book reviews were of books by men, a trend that had become more pronounced since Council first expressed concern over the gender proportion in January 2018; and a response from Johns discussing the challenges around stand-alone book reviews. Dudziak emphasized the importance of actively reorienting priorities to successfully move toward gender equity. Johns noted that the stand-alone book reviews started five years ago as a means of reviewing more books than Diplomatic History was able to given its page limits. He said that Passport continued to consider books Diplomatic History was unable to review but that in the five years since beginning the stand-alone book reviews, publishers have stopped sending as many books to the journal. Johns emphasized that it would be prohibitively time-consuming to seek out books to review, considering the many other kinds of articles Passport publishes. Julia Irwin suggested that perhaps books could be selected for review by coordinating with SHAFR’s book prize committees. A number of Council members echoed support for the idea that book reviews might best be spread among a team of people or delegated to a book review editor. Dudziak suggested that the issue be taken up by the upcoming communications taskforce, an idea Council members supported. Council members also expressed recognition that Johns had greatly expanded the scope of Passport during his tenure as editor and commended his contributions to the publication. Keys reiterated the importance of taking pro-active steps to ensure that the books reviewed reflect SHAFR’s membership, noting that the substantial amount of work to solicit book reviews might be alleviated by hiring a book review editor. 

Conference-Related Matters

Keys and Irwin presented a preliminary report on plans for the SHAFR 2022 conference. Irwin stated that a task force was in the process of looking into hosting the annual SHAFR meeting outside the continental United States in 2022, including reviewing a bid to host it in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Council discussed the possibility of formalizing a call for proposals that would go out annually in June, with a clause for SHAFR 2022 noting that areas outside the continental United States would be encouraged to apply. Council generally agreed that asking the Conference Committee to help formalize the requirements for bids might improve the bidding process.

Hoganson presented a preliminary report on SHAFR 2020 in New Orleans. She noted that the conference would be at the Westin Canal Place Hotel, the opening reception would take place at the National World War II Museum, and the theme of the conference would be “Gulfs, Seas, Oceans, and Empires.”

Membership Matters

Keys presented her proposal to establish a committee on the job crisis in academia. Council agreed about the need for such a committee considering the state of the present academic job market.

Keys opened discussion of the Membership Committee’s report on By Law changes by explaining that she had tasked the Committee with looking into membership ramifications of the new conference code of conduct. The Committee’s report reviewed possible changes to the membership section of the By Laws, including the addition of a new section articulating the grounds, procedure, and implications of exclusion or suspension from SHAFR as well as a definition of the meaning of “good standing.” The Membership Committee report noted that the by-laws provision detailing the duties of Council would also require amendment if suspension and expulsion are contingent upon a Council vote. Council agreed that a task force should carefully consider the alternatives and present proposals to Council in the future.

Council then considered Keys’s proposals for three by-law changes: (1) to change the term “Vice President” to “Vice President/President-Elect,” for greater accuracy and for clarity in external communications; (2) to have the presidency begin on November 1 rather than January 1 in order to allow the new president more time to prepare for the annual January Council meeting; and (3) to remove the outdated requirement that Program Committees have only five members. Kelly Shannon moved to approve these proposals. Lentz-Smith seconded, and the motion received unanimous support (12-0-0).

Council reviewed the Graduate Student Committee report. Keys commended Cindy Ewing, chair of the Graduate Student Committee, for her leadership and thanked the committee for its contribution to SHAFR, noting that the value of this new Committee was being demonstrated by several new initiatives at the conference, including a happy hour and staffing at a welcome table.

Other Reports

Sayward presented the Executive Director report, particularly highlighting that the digitization of past issues of Passport was almost complete.

Lien-Hang Nguyen and Lentz-Smith provided a report on the work of the Committee on Minority Historians. They noted that Christopher Fisher and Perin Gurel will co-chair the Committee next year. They also noted the Committee had organized a conference panel this year on “Decolonizing SHAFR.”

Council reviewed Richard Immerman’s report on the Historical Documentation Committee. Council expressed deep concern about the ongoing state of affairs at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), noting among other issues the cessation of systematic declassification at presidential libraries, which means that only Mandatory Declassification Review requests will result in declassification of documents at those archives. Council agreed that SHAFR should collaborate with other historical organizations with an interest in protecting NARA to help lobby for, among other things, increased funding.

Lentz-Smith motioned to end the meeting, seconded by Irwin; Council unanimously approved the motion. Minutes were taken by Savitri Maya Kunze.