Program Committee Guidelines
AHA Staff, September 1998
1. The purpose of the Program Committee shall be to develop a program for the annual meeting that will promote excellence in research and teaching and the discussion of significant professional issues, rights, and responsibilities. In keeping with the diversity of the Association's membership and its particular responsibility to foster communications and broaden understanding among historians, the annual meeting program should not only present significant and innovative scholarship but also highlight comparative, theoretical, and international perspectives that cut across specializations. In shaping the annual meeting program, the committee shall take into consideration significant anniversary observances and past programs and, if possible, schedule one or more sessions relating to the interests of the current AHA president. The Program Committee should seek presentations that address the entire community of historians and provide opportunities to examine the larger concerns of the profession.
2. The chair of the Program Committee shall be appointed by the Council two years and a half in advance of the annual meeting for which he or she will be responsible, thus enabling the appointee to serve as a working observer-member of the Program Committee for one year prior to assuming the position of chair. Recommendations shall be sent to the executive director six weeks prior to the Council meeting at which the appointment is to be made. The executive director shall:
a. determine the availability of those recommendations;
b. obtain appropriate information for the Council on candidates' scholarship, teaching, and university and public service;
c. notify the candidates of the Council's decision, supply the successful candidate with a set of Program Committee Guidelines, and determine the level of support for the committee.
3. Within three months of his or her appointment, the program chair shall present to the Executive Committee of the Council a recommendation for cochair. This appointment will be timed to facilitate the participation of that individual as a working observer-member of the Program Committee for one year prior to assuming the position of cochair.
4. At the next Council meeting following appointment, the chair of the Program Committee shall present for review and approval recommendations for nine additional members. The program chair, when selecting committee members, shall choose the best qualified members consistent with the diversity of AHA membership, taking care that an appropriate representation of members in secondary schools, two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and graduate institutions, and public history be included. The chair should keep in mind that the great majority of the committee's work consists in evaluating and assembling sessions reflecting recent research and revision of currently accepted history. The committee also assists the three divisions, Professional, Research, and Teaching, in organizing sessions relating to the work of the divisions and of particular and timely concern to members. When approaching potential members about service on the Program Committee, it should be made clear that the Council makes the appointments to the committee.
5. The Program Committee thus constituted will number thirteen members, including the chair, the cochair, the chair-elect, the cochair elect, and nine other members. The committee shall operate within the Guidelines of Divisional and Association Committees adopted by the Council.
6. The Program Committee has autonomy in the selection of programs and participants, subject to the following limitations:
a. All participants, except for foreign scholars and those from other disciplines, must be current members of the Association.
b. Unless the Program Committee deems that the overall quality of the program requires it, individuals should not participate two years in succession in any capacity.
c. Except under extraordinary circumstances, participants in any annual meeting program should be limited to one appearance. Presentation of a paper or comment on a session shall constitute an appearance, and no one should appear in more than one of these capacities.
d. The Program Committee will actively seek to avoid gender-segregated sessions. It shall encourage proposers of individual sessions to ensure that whenever possible sessions include members of both sexes.
e. The Program Committee shall likewise encourage proposers of sessions to include participants representing the full diversity of the AHA membership, such as ethnic and racial minorities and junior historians.
7. Commentators in all sessions should address the implication of papers being given not only for research but also for teaching.
8. The three divisions of the Association—Professional, Research, and Teaching—the Committee on Minority Historians, and the Committee on Women Historians shall each have the opportunity to present relevant and timely matters of concern to the profession in a panel session. These committees must meet all applicable deadlines for program preparation. Individuals participating in these sessions in ex-officio capacities or by invitation shall be exempt from 6b and 6c.
9. The Program Committee, at the earliest practicable date, will inform the Affiliated Societies of its program plans and will solicit program suggestions. Final authority over the program will remain vested in the Program Committee, but it will give special consideration to joint sessions proposed by the Affiliated Societies.
10. The Program Committee will apply to sessions proposed by Affiliated Societies for formal inclusion in the program (joint sessions) the same criteria for acceptance as are applied to all other proposals. Affiliated Societies will, as in the past, be encouraged and assisted to hold sessions of their own in conjunction with the annual meeting; these sessions will be listed separately in the printed program. The societies in question will be responsible for all organizational and financial details of such ancillary sessions, and for keeping the AHA central office informed of their plans.
11. The executive director shall keep the Program Committee informed of resources which may be available from Association revenues or from outside grants to assist foreign scholars invited to present papers.
12. Except under exceptional circumstances, members of the Program Committee should not be permitted to participate in the program because of possible conflict of interest and the scarcity of space available on the program to other AHA members.
—Last review and approval by Council, June 7–8, 1997