Annual Report 1998
Minutes of the Council Meeting, January 8, 1998
The Council met in the Juniper Room of the Sheraton Seattle and Towers in Seattle, Washington, on Thursday, January 8, 1998. President Joyce Appleby called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m. Present were: Ms. Appleby; Joseph C. Miller, president-elect; Caroline Walker Bynum, immediate past president; vice presidents Peter N. Stearns (Teaching Division), Carla Rahn Phillips (Professional Division) and Stanley N. Katz (Research Division); Council members Douglas Greenberg, Emily Hill, Colin Palmer, Barbara Ramusack, and David Trask; Sandria B. Freitag, executive director; Michael Grossberg, editor, AHR; Sharon K. Tune, assistant director, administration; Noralee Frankel, assistant director on women, minorities, and teaching; Randy Norell, controller; Robert Townsend, manager, information systems and communications; and Albert J. Beveridge III, legal counsel of the Association. Council member Cheryl Martin was unable to attend the meeting.
Ms. Appleby welcomed recently elected Council members attending
as observers: incoming president-elect Robert Darnton; vice president-elect
for teaching Leon Fink; and Council members-elect Nadine Hata and
A. Approval of the minutes of the June 7-8, 1997 meeting: Upon motion by Ms. Ramusack and second by Ms. Martin, the minutes were unanimously approved as submitted.
B. Consent calendar: Upon motion by Mr. Greenberg and second by Mr. Katz, the following items were unanimously approved under the consent calendar: 1. Spencer Foundation-funded project on learning research and teaching history: Accepting the Teaching Division’s recommendation to endorse a conference on “Teaching and Learning as Epistemic Acts.” The November 1998 “working” meeting precedes a second, larger conference to be held in the fall of 1999, and is funded by a $25,000 Spencer Foundation grant. The goal for the conferences is to develop an agenda for ongoing history education reform and to create organizational and institutional structures that promote research, education, and publication initiatives in the field. The AHA will maintain financial oversight, while Mr. Stearns, Peter Seixas, University of British Columbia, and Sam Wineburg, University of Washington, will serve as conference convenors. Council members were provided with copies of the grant proposal, a list of invitees, and other information about the November 1998 meeting.
2. Changes to the Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct: Accepting the Professional Division’s recommendations for editorial changes in the 1998 edition of the Statement on Standards. This edition will also incorporate an addition to the “Statement on Interviewing for Historical Documentation” approved at spring 1997 Council meeting.
3. Recommendation for change to selection of Annual Meeting Program co-chair: Approving the Research Division’s recommendation to modify Program Committee guidelines to state that the Program Committee chair and co-chair should be selected from different institutions and represent distinctively different fields.
4. New copyright transfer forms used by AHR, Perspectives, and pamphlets (as appropriate): Approving a revision of the Copyright Assignment Form for the American Historical July 6, 2007 2:15 PMets. (See Attachment 1.)
5. Revised AHA policy on exhibits, advertising, mailing list rentals, sales: Approving the draft policy statement on exhibits, advertising, mailing list rentals, and sales. (See Attachment 2.)
6. E-pamphlets ready for web-mounting: Approving the Teaching Division’s recommendation to publish on the AHA’s website “Working Together to Strengthen History Teaching in Secondary Schools,” by Kathleen Steeves, George Washington University, and “Power Tools for Teaching and Learning at an Urban Access University,” by José Cuello, Wayne State University.
C. President’s Report: Ms. Appleby reported that during Ms. Bynum’s presidency, Council had modified and expanded the composition of the Executive Committee to include the presidents and vice presidents to better ensure that the profession’s important issues would be discussed and brought to Council’s attention. Since Article V, Section 3 of the AHA’s constitution states that the Executive Committee is composed of the president, the president-elect, and not more than three other voting members of the Council, the most recently elected division vice president each year serves ex officio. Ms. Appleby also reported that Council continues to explore ways to integrate new members into Council’s work, including the establishment of an ad hoc subcommittee chaired by Mr. Palmer to examine this and other issues. Following consideration of the subcommittee’s recommendations, formal policies and procedures will be put into place. Noting the rotating nature of AHA elective offices, Ms. Appleby remarked that Council needed to provide continuity in setting Association priorities and maintaining initiatives. She reported that Ms. Bynum had agreed to brief newly elected members following the current Council session.
Ms. Appleby also reviewed several issues for discussion with Senator Slade Gorton, who would be Council’s luncheon guest, expressing hope that Council could put forth the case for humanities. Members agreed that continued funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities was of primary concern, and Ms. Ramusack remarked that summer institutes for high school teachers had been popular and effective, and should be brought to Senator Gorton’s attention. Mr. Katz commented that it was important for the senator not to view the profession as a labor union, but to focus on citizens’ access to history. Members agreed that broader issues of concern to the profession should be discussed, such as how new scholarship can be effectively disseminated.
D. Report of the President-elect: Mr. Miller presented the reports of the committees chaired by the president-elect: 1. Committee on Committee appointments: Mr. Miller reported that the Committee on Committees (ConC) meets by teleconference each fall, and is responsible for appointments to twenty-seven committees and seven delegateships. He noted that approximately 130 AHA members serve each year, and that one-third of the committees’ memberships rotate annually. He stated that the ConC depends on a very competent AHA staff to guide the five members through a two-stage process of collecting members’ names for consideration during a mid-November conference call.
In reviewing the appointments recommended by the ConC, Mr. Palmer queried whether it was prudent that one individual should serve on two prize committees, noting that D. Barry Gaspar, Duke University, was currently serving on the Wesley-Logan Prize Committee and had been recommended to serve on the Kelly Prize Committee. Mr. Miller agreed that AHA policy prohibits a member from serving simultaneously in more than one position, and stated he would contact Mr. Gaspar. Staff was asked to contact an alternate to serve on the Kelly Prize Committee. Mr. Palmer also questioned area coverage represented by members of the Beveridge Award/Dunning Prize Committee, pointing out that only one of the five members wrote on hemispheric issues. Following discussion, members agreed to add a temporary sixth slot to the committee, and asked Mr. Palmer to identify historians for the committee’s consideration. Mr. Miller agreed to provide AHA staff with a rank-ordered list of individuals to contact. Following additional discussion, Council unanimously affirmed the Committee on Committees' recommendations for filling vacancies on 1998 appointive committees with the two approved modifications.
2. Committee on Affiliated Societies and activities: Mr. Miller noted that he would chair the biennial meeting with affiliates scheduled on Friday, January 9, at 4:45 p.m. To avoid what can be contentious discussions, he stated that he had been working toward a mix of topics to reinforce AHA-affiliate connections. He stated that his own philosophy was that the AHA is a very different entity than its affiliates, which are predominately subject oriented. Mr. Miller stated that one of his goals was to move beyond annual meeting-related issues, and toward a discussion of productive partnerships and mutual support. He noted that the 1998 Annual Meeting program had been effective in this regard, and remarked that he had asked the 1999 Program Committee chair to speak at the meeting. In addition, Mr. Grossberg will report on the “History Journals and the Electronic Future” conference. Mr. Miller stated that from this discussion, he hoped the AHA and its affiliates would begin to establish some important links. He noted that the AHA must resolve the “either/or” question--either belong to a specialty or to an “umbrella” organization--and begin to address what the AHA can do with and for affiliated societies. Ms. Phillips agreed, noting that the AHA does not often serve these groups, and that the organization should make greater efforts to do so. Ms. Appleby suggested that the AHA consider meeting with affiliates annually rather than biennially, noting more frequent meetings might allay anxieties as well as provide a forum for affiliates to express their concerns. Mr. Miller agreed that the AHA should work harder to stay abreast of changes in affiliate leadership and to keep in touch at several levels, noting however, that such efforts could be expensive in terms of staff time.
E. Executive Director’s Report: Ms. Freitag began by introducing the senior staff attending the meeting, briefly describing areas of responsibility. Turning to the report provided in members’ agenda books, Ms. Freitag stated that she had written it in two distinctive parts, although both clarified the relationships between the various units of the AHA and the “players” within each. She noted that the charts could also provide a review of the connections between the divisions and committees and the Council, and the critical linkages between them. She stated that the written report defined the various functions of each unit, described the connection among AHA projects, and outlined staff’s efforts to facilitate these efforts.
Ms. Freitag next brought a proposal for minor revisions to the taxonomy for the membership database. Introduced a little more than a year previously and based upon the system created for the third edition of the Guide to Historical Literature, the taxonomy was designed after extensive consultation with every committee in the AHA governance structure. She noted that the staff recommended keeping the general distribution of fields intact for about five years in order to have consistency of data and a track record on which to base more fundamental revisions. In the interim, Ms. Freitag recommended fine-tuning the taxonomy each year when a new supply of forms were ordered for the membership department. Noting the staff was at a stage that new forms should be ordered for the coming year, Ms. Freitag asked Mr. Townsend to discuss modifications proposed for 1998.
Mr. Townsend noted that the fields were “Areas of Specializations” that members checked on the reverse of their renewal forms. He stated that since space was already at a premium on the one-page form, Council would need to consider possible cuts to make room for additions. In discussing the proposed changes, Ms. Ramusack stated that although the list for Central Asia did seem extensive, she would recommend judicious cuts since the field was growing. Mr. Townsend replied that staff recommended deleting geographic subcategories only. Mr. Palmer suggested rethinking other categories as well, citing the Americas (440) section, and usage of the terms “pre-contact” and “conquest,” as well as Africa and the Diaspora sections. Mr. Katz, observing that the taxonomy was magnificently old fashioned, suggested approving the proposed changes as a “patch” for the current year, and establishing a subcommittee to review. Mr. Miller asked members if they agreed. Ms. Freitag pointed out that the taxonomy was just over a year old, that the divisions and committees had provided extensive input, and that staff’s primary concern was that it would lose the ability to track trends and fields. She urged members to set a timeline when further modifications would be made. Ms. Ramusack remarked that as an umbrella organization, the AHA had an obligation to represent all fields, and Mr. Stearns encouraged members to reconsider other classifications as well, such as representation. Members agreed with Ms. Phillips that the AHA should decide for what purposes it was gathering the data, and that every field need not be listed.
Following additional discussion, and upon motion by Mr. Katz and second by Ms. Ramusack, members unanimously agreed that Mr. Miller should prepare for the Council’s Sunday session a proposal for a process to reorganize the taxonomy after the current classification had been in place for some time.
In the interim, Council unanimously agreed to accept the modifications proposed by Mr. Townsend, including the addition of peace history. The additions are: (1) Brazil (substituting for a redundant listing of “Latin America” in categories 462, 475, and 483); (2) Australasia and Oceania  (with subcategories for Australia , New Zealand , and Pacific Islands ), (3) Scandinavian Countries and Eastern Europe in the Early Modern, Twentieth Century, and Postwar periods (adding eight new categories); (4) Media, (5) Popular Culture, and (6) Peace. To create space on the one-page form for these additions, Council agreed to delete: (1) subcategories for Ancient Near East (101-107) and (2) geographic categories under Central Asia (203-205, 207-212, 214-217, 219-223).
F. Finance Committee’s Report: Ms. Appleby reported that the Finance Committee meets biannually, in the spring prior to the Council’s meeting and in December in conjunction with the annual Board of Trustees meeting. She noted that committee members had reviewed and accepted the 1996-97 audit at its early December meeting, and brought it to Council with a recommendation to approve the committee’s acceptance of the audit. Ms. Appleby brought four additional recommendations from the committee:
(1) That the AHA should secure a $100,000 mortgage to pay for previously incurred capital expenditures. These costs were incurred during the renovation of the AHA’s headquarters building during the winter and spring of 1997, and were paid by borrowing from a line of credit.
(2) That committees and divisions should meet periodically by teleconference, and that the estimated annual savings of approximately $12,500 should service the mortgage. Ms. Phillips pointed out that contrary to earlier discussions, the Professional Division would participate. In addition, the Program Committee’s planning meetings will be cut back to one meeting from the current two.
(3) That in preparing the Association’s annual budgets, staff should make provision for service of the mortgage and future capital expenditures as well as the current capital budget.
(4) That the AHA should commit any surplus revenue to repay any borrowing incurred.
In discussing the committee’s recommendation that divisions and committees should meet periodically by conference call, Ms. Appleby noted that the committee made the proposal following much debate, but that it had been the sense of the committee that specific cuts must be identified to service the mortgage, and that it would monitor impact and results very carefully. Mr. Stearns voiced concern, and suggested a “loss assessment” in two years specifically to address what had been lost in conducting committee and division business in this way. Ms. Appleby noted that it had not been the committee’s intention to make a permanent change, rather to address interim budgetary concerns. Ms. Freitag noted that the Finance Committee had agreed that divisions should meet in person for both meetings of a new vice president’s first year. This would mean that during the vice president’s second and third years, one meeting each year would be via conference call. While acknowledging that this measure would result in significant financial savings, Mr. Greenberg stated that committee members realized other kinds of sacrifices would be made. Mr. Miller concurred, noting that the committee’s first priority once Association’s finances had improved was to restore cuts made by this proposal.
Mr. Palmer queried application of the proposal to the Program Committee, expressing concern that this committee worked quite hard and might have difficulty in completing its work during one meeting. He pointed out that now that the AHA is working to enhance the attractiveness of the Annual Meeting, such a move might be detrimental to that effort. Rather than reviewing effects of the proposal after two years, Mr. Palmer suggested a review after one year. Mr. Miller indicated this would be possible, noting that the Finance Committee would revisit next year and ask, “Do we need to continue for financial reasons? If so, should we continue?” Ms. Frankel suggested an evaluation on a case-by-case basis even after Council decides that normal meeting frequency can resume to determine the effectiveness of conference call meetings. She noted that some divisions and committees may prefer to continue meeting once a year by conference call, especially as workload varies.
Mr. Trask queried if the Finance Committee had also discussed how to make teleconferences more effective. Ms. Phillips stated that she had been encouraged by the experience of the expanded Executive Committee, and noted that the six members of that committee had worked well together in setting agendas for Council meetings. She also discussed the importance of first developing group dynamics. Ms. Ramusack agreed, noting conversations progress more smoothly when participants recognized each other’s voices or when they have worked together previously. She suggested encouraging chairs to assemble committees and divisions at the annual meeting to establish group dynamics and to hold initial “brainstorming” conversations about how the committee or division would operate. Mr. Katz also suggested that the Association try working better by e-mail than it had previously. Ms. Bynum noted, however, that while efficiency may be increased, if individuals are used to voice contact, e-mail could also be distancing. She encouraged an initial, open-ended telephone call to become acquainted and to introduce ideas and concerns.
Mr. Katz expressed concern that there would be pressure on divisions to meet during the Annual Meeting, and that this would present a new set of challenges considering the many other obligations people have during the meeting. Ms. Freitag concurred, noting whether or not a committee or division member would attend might depend upon his or her institution underwriting expenses. As a result, members from institutions with little or no travel funds could be excluded from committee and division service. Ms. Ramusack pointed out that meetings during the annual meeting would not substitute for a regular division or committee meeting, but would be “mixers” or get-acquainted meetings. She maintained that “brainstorming” of ideas was much more difficult by conference call. In summarizing Finance Committee and Council discussions, Ms. Appleby remarked that everyone agreed on the importance of face-to-face meetings and, while supporting the recommendation for budgetary reasons, also agreed that the Association would lose something by making this change.
Citing the cost of meeting in New York City in early December, Ms. Appleby also reported on Finance Committee discussions to move the date of its mid-year budgetary review meeting which have been held in conjunction with the annual meeting with the Board of Trustees. Ms. Tune pointed out that the AHA constitution requires the Finance Committee to meet at least once each year with the Board of Trustees to discuss investment policies and the financial needs of the Association. Following discussion, Council agreed that the committee should meet on the Wednesday evening preceding Council’s Thursday session during the Annual Meeting. A representative of the Finance Committee will attend the annual Board of Trustees meeting each December and serve as conduit for information to and from the Finance Committee and the Board of Trustees. The executive director and controller also will attend.
In discussing appointments to the Board, Mr. Katz suggested Charles Booth, who has served on the American Council of Learned Societies’ investment retirement committee.
Following additional discussion, Council unanimously approved the Finance Committee’s approval of the audit and the four recommendations outlined above.
G. Advocacy Issues: 1. National Initiative for Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH) Report: Executive Director David Green joined the meeting to discuss intellectual property legislation and monitoring processes. He reported that NINCH is a diverse coalition of cultural organizations dedicated to ensuring the greatest participation of all parts of the cultural community in the digital environment. It’s members include sixty organizations and institutions representing a broad array of scholars and educational groups, such as libraries and archives. He stated that NINCH has two purposes: to create a unique membership coalition across the breadth of the arts and humanities communities and to make the case for the critical importance of including the contributions and the needs of the arts and humanities communities in all legislation and policy deliberations concerning the digital future.
Mr. Green stated that among the many issues involved in monitoring copyright, and arguably of most concern, were those related to economics and to access of digitally owned material. Mr. Green noted that in an escalating ‘war” zone between public domain and copyright owners was the “gray area” of fair use. He stated that NINCH saw a window of opportunity to influence copyright law for users in the next generation. Copyright issues are complicated by a confusion of roles: many are simultaneously creators and owners as well as users. Societies like the AHA have a special part to play in reconciling these roles in an environment carefully balanced between cost recovery (intellectual property “ownership”) and public access (“fair use”).
Mr. Green reported that copyright law has evolved a good deal since the first major law was enacted in 1909. Current law regarding fair use is codified in Sections 107ff of Chapter 1 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Section 107 outlines the four factors that determine fair use, and requires interpretation on a case-by-case basis. In 1976, representatives from various interested parties, including publishers and librarians, worked out guidelines to help interpret these sections of the copyright law. The guidelines were developed in response to predicaments raised by “new technologies”--at that time, primarily photocopiers and VCRs. Mr. Green noted that these guidelines have served the academic community reasonably well, but that it now faced even newer technologies: computers, networks, and digitized formats.
Almost twenty years after the development of the fair use guidelines, the Clinton Administration began a review of this newer technology. Shortly after taking office, President Clinton appointed a National Information Infrastructure Task Force that worked largely through a few working groups, including one on Intellectual Property Rights. It prepared a draft or “green paper” on Intellectual Property in 1994, and released a final, revised “white paper” version in 1995. The white paper discussed intellectual property issues that arise with new information technology and made a number of legislative recommendations. These proposals were introduced in both Houses of Congress in 1996. However, the white paper made no recommendations about fair use and other related library and education limitations on the exclusive rights of copyholders. Instead, it created the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) to determine whether educational or library guidelines similar to those developed in 1976 could be developed for the current technologies. Several dozen organizations participated but failed to reach a majority agreement. A recent steering committee agreed that no further work would be done.
Although the 1995 “white paper” was not enacted by Congress, it did serve as the template for the 1996 international copyright treaty adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Mr. Green noted, however, that the treaty evolved quite differently than the Clinton Administration had expected. Legislation to approve the treaty has been introduced in the House and Senate, H.R. 3048 introduced by Reps. Boucher and Campbell, and S.1146 introduced by Sen. Ashcroft. A separate, administration-backed bill, H.R. 2281, is sponsored by Reps. Coble, Hyde, Conyers, and Frank. Mr. Green provided Council members with a side-by-side comparison of the Boucher/Campbell and Administration-backed bills. He noted that that the two would be the focus of campaign by NINCH, and that the Digital Futures Coalition and the National Humanities Alliance were the two principal lobbying organizations. Mr. Green highlighted a few of the differences in the two House bills, discussing quasi-copyright, para-copyright, and super-copyright.
Mr. Green discussed next steps. With the collapse of CONFU, he encouraged active development of policies and principles on the use of copyright. In addition, individual organizations and campuses should work to develop guidelines on the use and management of their own copyright material. He noted that NINCH had agreed to organize a website with model policies and principles. He suggested that the AHA and other learned societies plan annual meeting sessions on these issues.
Mr. Green remarked that if the arts and humanities communities are not successful, the environment would be controlled by large commercial firms that own information. Mr. Katz concurred, stating this was the public policy issue for the AHA and the academic community in the U.S., and that it would be the Research Division’s number-one topic. He stated that if these groups are unable to mitigate the pressures, users would find themselves in a “pay-per-view” environment. He encouraged Council members to speak with their home institutions, advising them about the consequences to universities. Mr. Katz also noted, however, that copyright would remain a very complicated issue for organizations like the AHA. On the one hand, the Association is obligated to scholars, teachers, and the public to fight for the same rights as the print environment; on the other hand, the goals of AHA itself are quite different. The AHA relies on print; if the journal goes on-line, what will happen to the AHA’s revenue stream? He noted that the AHA was one of first organizations to join NINCH and the Digital Futures Coalition. Ms. Freitag agreed, noting that while the AHA works with these and other organizations (such as NHA), it was only through NINCH that it interacts with the cultural community and thus reached a larger universe. Ms. Appleby suggested one way to familiarize the membership was a series of articles in Perspectives. Members agreed, and asked Mr. Katz to work with Mr. Townsend to provide members with an “avalanche of information.”
Members also received a written report from the National Humanities Alliance on the intellectual property legislation before the House and Senate.
2. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Update: Members were provided with a written report from John Hammer, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) regarding the prospects for improved NEH funding in the coming fiscal year. Mr. Hammer addressed NHA’s strategy to restore and to expand the programmatic areas of NEH which have been reduced by 40 percent in recent years. He expressed optimism that the political climate was now more favorable to the NEH, particularly since it has become more clearly differentiated from the National Endowment for the Arts, and since the Clinton Administration has been more forceful on issues relating to both endowments. Ms. Freitag followed up Mr. Hammer’s report that William Ferris had been appointed chairman of the NEH. She noted that Mr. Ferris had indicated that he planned to have his own initiatives articulated by the end of January. Ms. Freitag also reported that there had been some uneasiness regarding funding for new initiatives, especially if current programs would be scaled back.
The key initiative to be advanced by Mr. Ferris is a plan to establish thirteen regional centers modeled after the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi which he founded and directed. She remarked that the AHA had been asked to encourage Mr. Ferris to think more broadly about this and other issues, especially the composition of the NEH Council, where members’ terms are expiring. Members approved Ms. Freitag’s suggestion to invite Mr. Ferris to join Council for luncheon during its spring meeting. Mr. Katz voiced concern about reallocation of funds and moving further away from support of research. Mr. Greenberg stressed the importance of the National Humanities Alliance, and its notable work on behalf of the NEH and humanities generally. He encouraged Council members whose universities had humanities departments to join the NHA. Mr. Stearns remarked that the AHA was hampered by the absence of an effective state-based organization and weakened by an inability to address state legislatures. He suggested that the AHA might want to add this to its agenda in the future. Responding to a suggestion that the AHA should recruit state and local history societies in this effort, Mr. Greenberg stated that he did not believe a partnership would be effective since their goals differed from the AHA’s.
3. National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History (NCC) Report: Page Putnam Miller, director of NCC, joined the meeting and provided a report on several advocacy issues. She noted that the NCC is a consortium of 53 organizations, representing the historical and archival professions on issues involving federal funding and policy issues that have an impact on research and teaching, access to government information, employment of historians, public policy issues relating to history, historic preservation, and the dissemination of historical information. She informed Council that the NCC policy board had agreed that NCC should take few positions, and that it should serve as a resource to member organizations. She reported that one of the newer members of NCC, the American Political Science Association, was also becoming more involved. She stated that NCC had been operating as an independent organization for nearly two years, and that as a 501(c)4 organization, could not accept federal funding. She reported that the NCC faced a small deficit, and that most organizations contribute $250-$300 annually with policy board organizations contributing $2,500 to $3,000.
Ms. Miller reported that history-related programs fared quite well in FY’98 appropriations, noting NEH received a small increase while the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) received a 10 percent increase. She has testified as an outside witness for NEH, NHPRC, and the National Archives for FY’99 appropriation hearings. Ms. Miller briefed members on discussions between the Nixon estate and the U.S. Government regarding the estate’s request that it should be compensated for President Nixon’s materials. One component of the compensation agreement is a provision to move the Nixon tapes and records from the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California. She noted there was considerable concern among researchers about allowing records to leave the Washington, D.C. area. In the Presidential Library system, Library directors are rarely chosen without the consent of the President’s family, who retain some indirect control over the operation of the libraries and over access to the records. She advised members that it appears that the U.S. Archivist favors the move to the Nixon Library. Ms. Miller queried how vigorously the AHA would want to respond if it appeared that the Archivist would move forward with this provision. Mr. Katz replied that the AHA should take action; that it had been opposing similar requests for twenty-five years. Mr. Greenberg concurred, suggesting the position is supported by the 1974 act which states custody should remain in the Washington area. Following further discussion, and upon motion by Mr. Greenberg and second by Ms. Ramusack, Council unanimously endorsed the principle that the AHA should explore effective responses and referred the matter to the Research Division.
Ms. Miller also reported that she had been contacted by Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) staff in September concerning the National Archives’ recent destruction of historical records. She noted that the records chronicled some of the most significant technical achievements in this century, including a description of the NRL’s accomplishments in virtually all the physical and natural sciences from the 1930s to the mid-1980s. The AHA, the Organization of American Historians, and the Society of American Archivists had previously agreed to recommend individuals to serve on an independent task force to evaluate the records disposal policies and processes of the NARA and the Department of the Navy, and to investigate the circumstances which led to the destruction of the NRL records. Upon motion by Mr. Katz and second by Ms. Ramusack, members unanimously agreed to ask Ms. Miller and Mr. Katz to draft a letter for Mr. Miller to President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and CIA director John Podesta.
Ms. Miller provided a brief update on AHA legal cases, including a case that challenges policies allowing destruction of electronic records (filed in 1996), a case on unsealing Grand Jury records (filed in 1997), and a case on Internal Revenue Services records management (dismissed in August 1997). She also reported that the National Archives is seeking comments on criteria for measuring its performance as part of compliance with the Government Performance and Results Act. Ms. Miller noted that she would have more information on the National Archives strategic plan by the spring meeting of the Research Division.
Ms. Miller reported on an Administration recommendation that the government’s foreign affairs agencies be reorganized. Part of the proposal was that the U.S. Information Agency’s (USIA) cultural and exchange programs be placed within the State Department. Both the House and the Senate passed legislation calling for the USIA, which funds the Fulbright Exchange Programs, to be merged by September 1, 1999. She reported that Congress had never agreed to a conference report on the two bills, so no law was adopted authorizing the merger. Ms. Miller suggested the AHA might wish to write letters to the Secretary of State and members of Congress about the proposed changes. Mr. Katz agreed to write a letter defending the faculty part of the Fulbright program.
Ms. Miller also provided written updates on declassification legislation, the State Department’s Foreign Relations series, copyright, National Park Service Professional Qualifications Standards, and Federal regulations that could be applied to oral history.
4. National History Education Network (NHEN) Report: Loretta Lobes, executive director of NHEN, joined the meeting to provide a report on the network’s activities during the previous six months. She stated that NHEN is a membership organization devoted to strengthening history education, and is a collaborative of individuals and organizations, including the AHA, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), and approximately twenty other organizations. She noted that the Network has a dual role: to serve as a clearinghouse for information related to history teaching, and to serve as an advocate for improved history education in the schools. She reported that NHEN maintains a website (http://hss.cmu.edu/nhen) that features links to member organizations and information about state standards under consideration. She provided a brief report about annual meeting sessions organized for member organizations, noting NHEN would sponsor a session during the AHA meeting on collaborative efforts in history teaching.
Ms. Lobes stated that NHEN continued to be active on issues related to history standards Citing as an example, she reported on the development of the Wisconsin Social Studies Standards. After she had provided comment on a third draft, the state’s governor became involved and further politicized discussions. She reported that thirty-six states would administer or formulate assessment examinations in 1998, and that assessment had become the next issue in the evolving standards movement. Ms. Lobes discussed the National Assessment of Educational Programs (NAEP), which is a product of the Educational Testing Service. She noted it can only provide state-wide, not school or regional, reports. In addition, NAEP hadn’t been designed as an assessment tool, and couldn’t influence “high stake” issues such as teacher contracts, promotion, graduation, etc.
Ms. Lobes reported that another company, ACT, was working with more than twenty states to develop the State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) to link national standards with new ideas about appropriate assessment methods. She stated that the Council of Chief State Schools Officers’ (CCSSO) had received a $3.7 million grant to develop SCASS assessment materials. The organization plans to create 120 sets of linked modules and 120 mini-modules, as well as a CD-ROM for teachers and portfolio assessment materials. Ms. Lobes has been asked to review the history segment of the SCASS assessment. She remarked that in spite of CCSSO’s well intentioned efforts, the project was driven by the states’ rather than the disciplines’ needs.
During the discussion of Ms. Lobes report, Ms. Appleby asked how members of Council might follow up with those states beginning assessment in 1998. Ms. Lobes encouraged members to consult the forthcoming issue of The History Teacher for her report, which includes a listing of the states. Mr. Stearns and Ms. Frankel spoke briefly about additional concerns, including the limitation to multiple choice questions given increased costs when essay questions are included.
In closing remarks, Ms. Lobes thanked Mr. Stearns and host institution Carnegie Mellon University for providing financial support for a third year. She discussed the importance of maintaining contact with the 60,000 U.S. social studies teachers and NHEN’s role.
5. “Statement on Diversity of Journal Voices” proposed by journal editors: Editors of twenty-five journals met in Bloomington, Indiana in August 1997 to discuss history journals and the electronic future. Among several initiatives, participants believed it was essential to continue conversations begun at the conference and to extend the discussion to other history editors. The group agreed to form a Coalition of History Editors for Publishing in the Future. Initially, the coalition will consist of the editors attending the conference, but will grow to include representatives of other forms of historical media. Mark Szuchman, former editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review, drafted a “Statement on Intellectual Diversity” which was brought by Mr. Grossberg for Council endorsement. He remarked that one of conclusions reached at the conference was that the democratic promise of cyberspace was false or was closing, and instead was being “commodified.” As a result of this and other trends on the internet, he voiced concern that the proliferation of small journals would be threatened. He cited as an example invitations from J-STOR to join its journal storage project, noting that the AHR had been asked to participate but that it was highly unlikely the Journal of Japanese Studies would be since JJS’s circulation doesn’t exceed 800. He remarked that if one of the goals was to deal with the consequences of new media, then there was also a need for ensuring the continuation of a variety of voices. Ms. Freitag also spoke briefly about two related issues that had emerged at the workshop: (1) new scholarship: As new journals are established, librarians are unsure if they should subscribe. Yet if new journals are excluded, it is the profession that loses since journals help to define new fields and bring them to the attention of the profession at large. (2) continuity of journal runs: Libraries are also concerned about the availability of issues for their shelves. Exclusions of journals by aggregators like J-STOR pose a predicament for librarians: should they continue subscribing to a journal for which they will not have back issues?
Following additional discussion, and upon motion by Mr. Katz and second by Ms. Phillips, the Council voted unanimously to endorse the “Statement.” (See Attachment 3.) Ms. Appleby and Mr. Miller also pointed out that the AHA’s leadership role in the conference, and follow up activities of the Coalition of History Editors, are part of its “umbrella” services to affiliated societies.
6. Mailing with OHA re: history projects vis-à-vis “human subjects”: Ms. Phillips reported on the Professional Division’s collaboration with the Oral History Association (OHA) regarding human subjects review for oral history-based research. At its spring 1997 meeting, Council approved an amendment to the “Statement on Interviewing for Historical Documentation” encouraging historians to check with their institutions’ Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). As a follow-up to this initiative, the OHA asked the AHA to join it in two mailings. The first was a response to the National Institute of Health’s Office for Protection from Research Risks for suggestions to the list of research activities that can be listed as eligible for “expedited review.” The second was a memo to all IRBs in the U.S. informing them of oral history principles and protocols. The OHA has agreed to coordinate and underwrite costs of the mailings, which will include a reprint of the AHA’s revised “Statement.” Mr. Katz reported that the Research Division had also approved the mailings.
Following additional discussion and upon motion by Ms. Phillips and second by Ms. Ramusack, Council unanimously approved joining the OHA in the two mailings. Members also asked staff to include the “Statement” in a future Institutional Services Program mailing. Ms. Ramusack remarked that additional efforts will also be needed to disseminate the information throughout the institutional structure of universities, especially to graduate deans or vice presidents of research.
H. Publishing Issues: 1. Division and committee responses to policy paper on Publications Advisory Board (PAB): In January 1997, Council requested a policy paper contemplating the utility and possible structure of a body advisory to Council on Association publication policy. Mr. Miller drafted a report with comments from Ms. Appleby, Ms. Bynum, and Ms. Freitag which was discussed at the spring 1997 Council meeting. Members agreed (1) to put into place an ad hoc, advisory committee chaired by Mr. Stearns to begin discussions about the “recombination” project and other issues, and (2) to ask Mr. Miller to redraft the document for consideration by the divisions and committees. Council members were provided with copies of excerpts from the fall minutes of the Professional, Research, and Teaching Divisions and the Committees on Minority and Women Historians.
Mr. Miller began the discussion by summarizing his understanding of division and committee comments. He remarked that the process of preparing the two drafts for comment had allowed discussion to proceed on several issues, and that the committees’ and divisions’ reaction was that the proposed PAB would be cumbersome and controlling. He observed that the concept had been the opposite, in fact, and that there had been a discontinuity between what he had intended and what had been addressed. He stated that he had asked each division and committees for its specific needs for consultation and advice as it oversaw the publications within its areas of responsibility. He noted that a PAB should be a resource to draw in publishing professionals, and should not be a reviewing body. If Council chose to go forward, Mr. Miller proposed a substantial revision which would: (1) trim away background material, (2) clarify the purpose as consultative at the initiative of the Council, divisions, and committees, (3) modify board composition from carry-over Council members to individuals with publishing expertise in areas under review, (4) resolve budgetary concerns (since the board would be consultative rather than initiating, it may not need to meet face-to-face. Whatever expenses are anticipated, Council would provide prior authorization), and (5) adjust areas of review and board composition as needed. Mr. Miller noted that the PAB could provide policy papers, ad hoc reviews, etc., and members could be appointed according to issues on Council’s agenda. He suggested that these changes would resolve problems in the original draft, and emphasized that he had brought no definite proposals, rather summarized comments of the divisions and committees.
Mr. Katz replied that his review of division and committee comments was slightly different. He noted that each had opposed the board because of its elaborate structure, and all had agreed with the Council that consultation and a broader discussion of the issues should take place. Rather than appoint a PAB, Mr. Katz stated that his instinct was to continue with the ad hoc committee for at least one more year, and to ensure that its composition would help it to address the range of issues under consideration. After its term concluded, Council could appoint additional ad hoc committees as needed to review specific publications and/or issues. Summarizing his comments, Mr. Katz suggested endorsing continuation of the ad hoc committee with Mr. Stearns remaining as chair.
Mr. Trask queried the “problems” or “issues” the ad hoc committee would address. Ms. Phillips replied it could coordinate the general publications policy of the AHA, and could also, for example, advise Council when it must choose among several division and committee proposals. Ms. Bynum agreed, remarking that publication and policy issues have gone back and forth repeatedly between the Council and divisions, and that there was a larger dynamic that had not been addressed, which had been the crux of Mr. Miller’s original report. She stated that general discussions need to take place periodically not only at the division and committee level, but also at the Council level. Ms. Ramusack stated that she also preferred an ad hoc committee that could serve as a priority-setting body. Ms. Hill observed that an ad hoc committee might also take a more critical view and note outside criticism.
Ms. Appleby queried whether there was a general consensus to continue with an ad hoc committee rather than to establish a PAB. Mr. Miller remarked that the ad hoc committee would address some of his concerns, and that he would be satisfied if the AHA continued with that structure. Mr. Stearns remarked that the members of the ad hoc committee had suggested a two-year term and noted that Mr. Katz, a member of the ad hoc committee, would serve on the Council for that period and thus could provide an essential liaison function between the committee and Council. Upon motion by Ms. Ramusack and second by Mr. Trask, members voted unanimously to continue with the publications advisory committee in an ad hoc form for two years. Mr. Stearns pointed out that the committee’s work would include a form of strategic planning as urged by the Professional Division minutes, and encouraged members to contact him with their suggestions and opinions.
2. Report on business undertaken by Ad Hoc Publications Advisory Committee: Members were provided with copies of correspondence and the minutes from the November 25, 1997 teleconference of the ad hoc committee. Members are Mr. Stearns, chair; Mr. Katz; Ed Ayers, University of Virginia; Julia A. Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona; Michael Jensen, Johns Hopkins University Press; and Lawrence Stone, Princeton University. Ms. Freitag and Mr. Grossberg serve ex officio.
3. Perspectives Committee report revisited: As requested at the spring 1997 Council meeting, staff provided a copy of the report on Perspectives prepared by the committee of Mr. Stearns, chair; John E. Talbot, University of California at Santa Barbara; and Robert Brent Toplin, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
4. Division and Committee responses to recombination possibilities: Members were provided with excerpts from the fall minutes of the Professional, Research, and Teaching Divisions, and the Committees on Minority and Women Historians on recombination possibilities.
I. Lunch: Members adjourned to the Sheraton’s Aspen Room for lunch with guests Slade Gorton, Republican Senator from Washington, and Richard McCormick, president of the University of Washington. Following lunch, Ms. Appleby noted Council members had an opportunity to build upon the discussion with Senator Gorton, and encouraged each to write him. She agreed to remind members via e-mail.
J. Ongoing Policy Issues: Members discussed the following: 1. Guidelines for model history department(s): Prompted by a request for guidelines to evaluate history departments at its spring 1997 meeting, the Professional Division began discussing what guidance the division could offer. Division members suggested coordinating with other divisions and committees on the development of a questionnaire to assist departments in characterizing a well-functioning department of history. In discussing the division’s proposal at its spring meeting, Council members expressed some reservations, but directed the divisions and committees to continue discussions and to make recommendations to Council.
Council members were provided with excerpts from the fall 1997 minutes of the Professional, Research, and Teaching Divisions and the Committees on Minority and Women Historians. Ms. Appleby asked Ms. Phillips to begin with a discussion of the Professional Division’s draft, which shifted from a questionnaire to defining “ideal” or “model” conditions. Ms. Phillips noted that the division had decided to concentrate on the professional aspects of five or six “themes,” defining ideal conditions differently for different types of institutions. In discussing the division’s draft, Mr. Trask remarked that while it stated what was true for many two-year faculty, it did not define an “ideal” or “model” condition. He noted the draft did not emphasize that two-year faculty should develop pedagogical “currency,” and obtain an advanced degree. Mr. Greenberg stated that although he thought the division had made many excellent points, he remained troubled with the Association entering into this arena. While some members concurred, others noted that the AHA is asked repeatedly to provide guidance in the evaluation of departments and that the Association should take a leadership role. Mr. Katz, while noting he had not agreed with Mr. Greenberg’s comments at Council’s previous meeting, stated he was now persuaded that the AHA should proceed, but should not in the current direction. He noted that more often than not the policies which the “ideal” conditions addressed were the university’s not the departments’ and therefore would be difficult, if not impossible, to change.
In discussing these concerns, Council also turned to the statement authored by Mr. Trask and endorsed by the Teaching Division at its fall meeting. Members felt it could serve as a basis for evaluating the efforts of institutions at all levels of instruction and for establishing prerequisite conditions for historians to provide excellent instruction. Members complimented Mr. Trask’s efforts, and agreed that the statement could serve as a model for “good practices” documents that could be prepared by other divisions and committees. Following additional discussion, and upon a vote of ten ayes and one abstention, Council asked the Professional, Research, and Teaching Divisions to develop statements of “good practices” on the specific issues within their areas of responsibilities. In addition, members asked that the CMH and CWH to review the documents to ensure that the two committees’ concerns were reflected. Council noted it would not set a timeline for the development of the statements, but would ask the divisions to bring forward once completed.
Council members also approved the Teaching Division statement by a vote of nine ayes, one nay, and one abstention. (See Attachment 4.) Staff was asked to circulate as appropriate, including publication in the newsletter and posting on the AHA’s website.
K. Report on Development Activities: Linn Shapiro, manager of new project development, joined the meeting to update members on development activities. She began her report by noting that although it might sound odd, it was an exciting time to do development work. She expressed optimism regarding fundraising possibilities, and noted that the Development Advisory Committee (DAC) was created in large part through the efforts of Mr. Beveridge and what she identified as the “Walter LaFeber aspect.” She reminded members that several former students, inspired by former Council member Mr. LaFeber’s teaching, had become active in the DAC even though they had gone on to careers outside history. She noted that although creative and competent staff support at the headquarters office was crucial, equally important was Council’s own actions. Ms. Shapiro advised members that much of the AHA’s success would follow from the activity they would generate. As an example, she cited a $25,000 gift from a Disney executive that followed several conversations between Ms. Appleby and the donor. Members noted that the gift had had been deposited into a reserve fund.
Ms. Shapiro reported that the DAC had hosted two Washington, D.C.-based dinners during the past two and a half years, and that DAC members had made commitments to contribute $1,000 a year each for three years. Mr. Miller noted that DAC member contributions underwrite administrative costs. DAC members are also planning receptions in four or five different cities during 1998, with the first scheduled at the Schlesinger Library in March.
Ms. Shapiro distributed draft text for the creation of a group known as the “Friends of the American Historical Association” to assist in fundraising efforts. Friends would receive the newsletter, recently published pamphlets, and an annual report on the activities that Friends of the AHA have made possible. Although coupled with the plan for the receptions, it would be a group separate from the DAC. Ms. Ramusack asked if different levels of membership were planned, while Mr. Stearns remarked that hosting receptions was an expensive way to raise money. Mr. Katz concurred, stating that many organizations had discovered they didn’t recover costs, and suggested establishing membership levels at $200 or $250. Mr. Beveridge remarked that the Friends concept was not yet fully defined, and encouraged further planning. Ms. Shapiro agreed that additional systems would need to be in place before the Friends effort could be fully implemented. Ms. Appleby reminded Council that it had approved the fundraising initiative, and suggested that the AHA review its success after the three-year period. Ms. Phillips agreed with Mr. Stearns that the dinners and receptions were worthy efforts but would be more effective as public relations rather than fundraising events, and suggested that the newsletter would be the most useful publication to send to the Friends. Mr. Greenberg reported that the Organization of American Historians (OAH) had also raised money in this way, and encouraged the DAC and staff to talk with the OAH and other organizations.
Noting members’ comments, Ms. Appleby stated that she understood members’ sense of caution and its request for a comprehensive evaluation at the end of the three year-year period. Upon question by Mr. Miller if the AHA was properly situated for staffing, Ms. Shapiro responded that she thought the job required a one-half of a full-time position to be done appropriately. Mr. Miller also asked if initiatives had been identified for the $25,000 gift and donations from Friends. Mr. Stearns noted that a standard development practice was to use some portion of the money raised for ongoing, rather than new or special, projects. Following additional discussion, and upon motion by Mr. Katz that Council acquiesce to continuation of fundraising efforts for the three-year period, members concurred by a vote of ten ayes and one abstention.
L. Standing Reports: 1. Report of the Teaching Division: Mr. Stearns reported on the November 9 meeting of the division, and remarked that with Council’s earlier approval for publication of the Steeves and Cuello pamphlets on the AHA website (see section B.6.), that the AHA had moved toward the kind of publishing program the division had worked to put into place. He stated that as his term concluded, two goals had not been achieved: (1) productive outreach to television, and (2) joint venture with a publisher on high school instructional materials. Mr. Stearns remarked that he continued to believe in both projects, but that he was not sure of the eventual outcome of either. He briefly reported on useful discussions with the Professional Division during a joint dinner meeting in the fall, and remarked that the two divisions would continue to work together to address shared concerns. Following up on Ms. Lobes discussion of the standards movement, Mr. Stearns reiterated that state standards concerns remained active but that, on the whole, focus had shifted to assessment. He also noted that the division remained interested in the CD-ROM world history project, but had nothing new to report.
Mr. Stearns brought two items for Council action: (1) textbook prize recommendation: At its fall meeting, the division voted to recommend a textbook prize that would recognize outstanding textbooks at the secondary and post-secondary level. As with the three teaching prizes awarded by the Committee on Teaching Prizes, the division would retain oversight of policy and procedural matters, and would assist in publicizing selections widely. The Committee on Committees would appoint a seven-member prize committee with three secondary-school historians, two post-secondary historians with specialties in U.S. history, and two post-secondary historians with specialties in western civ and/or world history. Six textbook prizes would be awarded annually, with textbooks at the secondary and post-secondary levels in the fields of U.S. history, world history, and western civ eligible for the honorific prizes. All committee work would be completed by mail/e-mail to hold costs at a minimum, and the committee could divide into working subcommittees for preliminary sorting and elimination. The division also suggested the prize for possible development activity to augment and broaden the AHA’s work in textbook evaluation.
Mr. Stearns reiterated that awards would be honorific, and that the goal was to encourage publication of secondary and post-secondary textbooks. He noted that the division initially suggested three prize categories, but envisioned additional awards in other fields. In a preliminary vote, Council approved the proposal by a vote of ten ayes and one abstention. Ms. Hata then queried if the division had discussed an entry fee, while other members questioned the frequency and number of the awards. Mr. Stearns responded that the Association needed to gain experience, but suggested as an alternative that the awards could be offered on a three-cycle rotation. Mr. Fink pointed out that college-level textbook publishers were fiercely competitive, and stated that he was troubled about the enormous burden this would place on the selection committee. Other members posed additional questions, such as how the criteria would be defined for the different levels and fields and how the committee would apply the different criteria to each level. Ms. Young also expressed concern that winning an award would be viewed as AHA endorsement.
Following additional discussion, and upon motion by Greenberg and second by Ms. Ramusack, discussion was tabled by a vote of eight in favor and three opposed to the motion.
2. NCSS Task Force: Mr. Stearns reported that the division and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) had agreed in principle to form a joint ad hoc committee to develop funding proposals in the areas of teacher training, K-12, and teacher enhancement. He stated that the division asked Council to endorse the initiative in principle, with the understanding that specific projects would be submitted for approval either at regular Council meetings or by mail. In discussing the proposal, Mr. Katz and other members of the Council agreed that collaboration would be useful and expressed support. Upon motion by Mr. Stearns, Council unanimously endorsed the joint AHA-NCSS initiative.
In concluding his final report to Council, Mr. Stearns expressed appreciation to members of the division with whom he had served, to Mr. Trask, and to Ms. Frankel. He also urged Council to discuss, rather than evade, textbook-related issues.
M. Recess: On behalf of the Council, Ms. Appleby thanked Ms. Bynum, outgoing immediate past president; vice president Mr. Stearns, and Council members Ms. Ramusack and Mr. Trask for exemplary service during their terms of office. She thanked Ms. Bynum especially for her service, and presented a plaque marking her presidential year.
There being no further business, the meeting recessed at 4:40 p.m. to convene on Sunday, January 11, at 8:30 a.m.
Recorded by Sharon K. Tune
Last Updated: July 6, 2007 10:45 AM