Minutes of the Council Meeting, January 5, 1997
The Council met in Room 540 of the New York Hilton and Towers in New York City, on Sunday, January 5, 1997. Present were: Joyce Appleby, president; 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, Cheryl Martin, Colin Palmer, Barbara Ramusack, and David Trask; Sandria B. Freitag, executive director; Michael Grossberg, editor, AHR; Noralee Frankel, assistant director on women, minorities, and teaching; Randy Norell, controller; Robert Townsend, manager, information systems and communications; and Ermelinda Carvajal, administrative/convention assistant. Ms. Appleby called the meeting to order at 9 a.m.
1. NHEN and AHA work on state history standards: Loretta Lobes, director of the History Teaching Alliance/National History Education Network, joined the meeting to discuss with Mr. Stearns, Mr. Greenberg, and Ms. Frankel development of state history standards. Ms. Lobes identified three advocacy areas: (1.) review of state standards documents--the content of national and state history and social studies education addressed at the state level; outcomes vary from state to state. (2.) accreditation review of schools--the National Study for School Evaluation is developing materials to accredit approximately 28,000 schools. (3.) accreditation review of teachers--the National Council for Social Studies has asked the National Council for Teacher Certification to assist it in creating a methodology to review the accreditation of history and social studies teachers. She noted that the Council of Chief State Officers supports the effort, although professional associations have not been involved in the process.
Ms. Lobes reported that the state of Virginia has collaboratives linking teachers at different education levels. She noted NHEN is involved in similar partnerships, and is also developing its own collaboratives. Ms. Lobes further noted that the Society for History Teachers' History Teacher has joined NHEN's efforts. She also reported that a history of technology grant will be sought to fund a planned collaborative.
Ms. Frankel reported on the Teaching Division's response to the drafts of state standards, noting the shift to development of history standards from the national to the state level. She briefly reported on the process of division review. NHEN forwards copies of state standards to Mr. Stearns and the AHA office. Mr. Stearns reviews the documents and forwards his comments to Ms. Frankel. She prepares a response that is first vetted by Mr. Stearns and then by the Teaching Division. Once a consensus is reached, a letter is prepared and sent to the state. She also reported on a Washington metro area school in Fairfax County, Virginia that has a committee appointed by the School Board, on which she served, designed to integrate Virginia state standards into the county curriculum. Ms. Frankel pointed out that local committees often operate in politically sensitive environments. She also detailed the focus of assessment in Virginia schools: fifth graders will be assessed in Virginia history, eighth graders in American history, and eleventh graders in world history.
Mr. Stearns stated the importance of utilizing NHEN and Perspectives to keep historians informed about the development of state history standards. He also advocated preparation of a list of states currently developing standards so historians can track progress and provide input when appropriate. Mr. Stearns also noted that the National Council for History Education and National Council for Social Studies are working with NHEN.
Mr. Greenberg reported on the development of standards in Illinois, noting that academics and historians had not been involved in the process. Teachers in that state have supported complaints against the newly developed standards, and the final outcome is not yet clear. Mr. Greenberg stated this exclusion of individuals who are directly involved in teaching the subject has not happened in other disciplines, such as math, where academics have been a part of the process. Council agreed with this assessment, noting that historians' expertise has not been acknowledged or incorporated. Several members stated that the AHA should work to persuade the public at large that historians should be involved. Members agreed that the AHA should write to governors and chief state school officers and offer the Association's assistance and expertise. The letter should urge states to develop effective standards, and indicate the AHA's willingness to collaborate with state governments. Mr. Stearns agreed to draft the letter to be prepared and mailed by AHA staff.
Mr. Stearns also suggested that Mr. Trask solicit an article for the newsletter's "Teaching" column on teachers' experiences in developing state standards. Ms. Ramusack agreed, noting standards should be reviewed through an evaluation process. Mr. Katz reported that several states now have laws mandating outcome assessment for post-secondary education.
2. Update on the National Endowment for the Humanities: Ms. Freitag reported that a congressional subcommittee had not been chosen and thus it was premature to consider legislative strategies or possible outcomes. Staff will forward additional information as it becomes available in late February or early March.
3. Update on new copyright issues: The National Humanities Alliance, on behalf of its eighty-five member organizations, prepared a letter expressing concern about draft treaties considered at the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference. Among other topics, the draft treaties proposed to regulate the use of databases and other electronic items in the world market. NHA's letter expressed concern that the United States was negotiating issues that have not been resolved in society at large. Members agreed that the issue should be framed to build consensus, and should be conceptualized with historians' interests in mind. Further discussion will be postponed until Council members are asked to take specific action.
Within the U.S., many of the same policy leaders involved in creating a supportive atmosphere for electronic dissemination of scholarship are also working to build agreements that are likely to have broader and more effective support than documents being drafted by the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) which was established and is monitored by the U.S. Commerce Department and has made relatively little progress during two and one-half years work. The former group, however, includes many individuals working to support scholarly communication, such as associations, libraries, museums, and academic publishers. This group is drafting a general statement of principles to guide stances on proposed legislation. This statement will be supplemented later with additional statements in the "voice" of various participants: creators, users, publishers, and information managers (libraries, archives, and museums).
4. Federal support for work of American scholars overseas (CAORC; Title VI; support in this country for work on other regions: Members made note of a national policy conference at UCLA that will bring together individuals to discuss issues of reauthorization for Title VI of the Higher Education Act. As money for research trips has decreased, access to archival materials overseas has declined. Research support is especially critical in area studies, with funds generally divided between the disciplines and area studies centers. Mr. Katz stated that Title VI broadens this discussion, and suggested that area studies and humanities are equally threatened. Within the Fulbright arena, for example, research grants are in competition with faculty grants. He noted there is also a focus away from the graduate student, and toward the undergraduate student. Other than a few strong area studies centers, it is often extremely difficult to locate funding for research travel abroad. The Consortium of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) is the primary support for Americans doing research abroad. It seeks to create a substantive infrastructure for American research overseas, and to distribute USIA funds.
5. History News Service: Ms. Appleby stated that the History News Service prepares op-ed pieces placing contemporary issues in historical perspective. The service also uses H-Net to disseminate information. She noted that over 200 individuals are involved. The service will maintain its own identity separate from the AHA so that it can offer varying and different opinions. She noted that the goal for 1997 is to place forty-five op-ed pieces. Several individuals have also suggested that HNS should participate in broadcast programs. For example, Gerald Zalbi, SUNY at Albany, is working with a local radio station on a one-half hour program. It will be pre-recorded and distributed to various radio stations and will include five-minute segments on history news. The program will place the news in historical perspective.
Ms. Appleby stated that the History News Service welcomes AHA members as participants. It is interested in achieving global membership through announcements on H-NET and in Perspectives. Ms. Phillips suggested that HNS work with NHEN on development of state standards. Ms. Appleby noted that the service would like to collaborate with the AHA by offering intellectual expertise and resources although it is not seeking funding. Ms. Freitag noted that the AHA pays for a subscription to PROFNET that enables HNS to keep in touch with reporters with the service utilizing three of five user slots.
6. National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History: Page Putnam Miller, NCC director, joined the meeting. She described successful methods that NCC has utilized to accomplish change. She reported that lawsuits have been effective, and reported on a suit pending against the IRS concerning declassification of records. The lawsuit began as a petition from Tax Analysts, the AHA, and the OAH, asking the IRS to comply with the Federal Records Act and the regulations established by the National Archives. IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson has not yet answered the petition. Ms. Miller reported joining the lawsuit would not require financial resources Upon motion by Ms. Ramusack and second by Ms. Bynum, Council unanimously agreed to join the petition against the IRS.
Council asked Ms. Miller to prepare a list of lawsuits in which the Association is participating. Members noted that it is important to track each case individually since each will progress differently.
Ms. Miller also reported on a petition to the Supreme Court about the records of the National Security Council and the President that the AHA has also supported. The petition asks that NSC records be made available to the public. There will be a hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court in early February. Ms. Miller also reported on a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen against John Carlin, Archivist of the U.S., regarding the general records schedule and electronic records. Lastly, Ms. Miller recommended that the AHA add its name to an amicus brief that requests the court to unseal grand jury records.
Ms. Miller next commented on the regulations and guidelines of the National Park Services' Professional Standards and Qualifications and the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU). She noted that the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association plan to oppose the guidelines set forth by CONFU. The AHA has stated that it will not support the current guidelines, and is working instead on general statements. (See page 3, Section 3.)
Ms. Miller also noted two additional advocacy methods: support of official advisory committees to the federal agencies, such as the State Department's National Advisory Committee, and ongoing conversations with agency heads, such as the U.S. Archivist. Ms. Miller reported on the Presidential libraries project, noting that the NCC, the AHA, and the OAH are working together to establish small working groups on Presidential libraries and to encourage dialogue among the groups.
7. Pacific Coast Branch: James N. Gregory, University of Washington, joined the meeting to provide the annual report from the Pacific Coast Branch of the AHA. The PCB's eighty-ninth Annual Meeting was held August 8-11, 1996 at San Francisco State University. Seventy-two sessions were scheduled with more than 200 participants. Newly elected officers are Joan Jensen, University of New Mexico, President; John Niven, Claremont Graduate School, Vice President; and W. David Baird, Pepperdine University, Secretary-Treasurer. The University of California Press continues to publish the Pacific Historical Review, with Norris Hundley, Jr. serving as Managing Editor. The Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award was awarded to Michael Black for his article "Tragic Remedies: A Century of Failed Fishery Policy on California's Sacramento River." The Pacific Coast Branch Award for the best book was given to Robert Tracy McKenzie, University of Washington, for his monograph, One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee. The W. Turrentine Jackson Prize, an annual prize for an outstanding essay by a graduate student, was awarded to Ann Gilbert Coleman. Ms. Coleman's essay is forthcoming in the PHR. The W. Turrentine Jackson Award for the most outstanding dissertation was not awarded in 1996. Mr. Gregory stated that the ninetieth Annual Meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon from August 8 to 11, 1997. Programs for the meeting will be mailed in the spring. Ms. Freitag reported that the AHA and PCB are beginning to explore ways to inform members of the benefits of joining the AHA, which guarantees membership for West Coast members in the PCB. Council agreed that the PCB should provide a written report for its next annual report to Council.
8. 1999 Program Committee: John Voll, Georgetown University and 1999 Program Committee chair, joined the meeting to discuss appointments to the 1997 committee. Mr. Voll noted that the Research Division would identify at its spring meeting the chair and co-chair of the 2000 Program Committee who will serve on the 1999 committee. Once these slots are filled, it will be easier for Mr. Voll to identify the remaining nine members of the 1999 committee. To clarify the process for Council members and Mr. Voll, Ms. Freitag described the process involved in identifying the committee chair and co-chair. She noted that Mr. Voll will present clusters of names and identify fields and specializations to the Research Division, which will provide suggestions and recommendations, and Mr. Voll will finalize the committee list in time for approval by the Research Division for recommendation to Council.
The Program Committee consists of nine members plus the chair and co-chair for the current and next Annual Meetings (for a total of thirteen). Mr. Voll noted the importance of the secondary school and public history representatives. Ms. Frankel recommended appointing a Washington, D.C.-area secondary school teacher. Mr. Voll stated that he was recommending appointment of individuals who have served previously to provide additional confidence and continuity to the committee's work. Ms. Phillips stated that it was imperative to consider individuals who had not previously served, and urged consultation with previous chairs for recommendations. Ms. Ramusack and other Council members concurred.
Mr. Voll discussed openings for U.S. and Latin Americanist historians, noting the importance of members serving "double duty" in field representation. Ms. Phillips commented on the need to include an Europeanist for balance and diversity. Mr. Grossberg explained the recruitment process for the AHR's Board of Editors, especially how staff identified individuals from smaller, more specialized fields. Mr. Palmer urged the chair to identify an individual of distinction in Diaspora studies. Ms. Bynum asked that Council members forward suggestions of specialists in area fields to Mr. Voll.
9. Progress report on Expanded Executive Committee: Ms. Bynum described the experiment currently in progress to work with an expanded Executive Committee. The AHA's constitution stipulates the committee is composed of the president, the president-elect, and not more than three other voting member of the Council elected annually by the Council. At the spring 1996 Council meeting, members had agreed to appoint, in addition to the president and president-elect, the three vice presidents. The immediate past president will serve ex-officio with the executive director. This rearrangement was designed to facilitate better communication among the presidents and the divisions. The Executive Committee was charged with developing the agenda for the January meetings, with the president conducting preliminary conversations with the vice presidents. The president and executive director then developed a draft agenda which was discussed during a conference of the expanded Executive Committee. The expanded committee will be evaluated after one year to determine whether the AHA's constitution should be modified.
10. Staff/Council Communication: a) Quarterly reports from President and Executive Director and integrating Council members at large: Ms. Freitag described the difficulty in keeping all twelve Council members "in the loop," and she noted a helpful suggestion to circulate quarterly reports. As an experiment, intermittent mailings have been sent to the expanded Executive Committee, but this has meant that the six at-large members were not as fully informed. Mr. Greenberg discussed the difference between providing information and governance of the organization, and suggested that all informational material should be forwarded to all Council members. Following additional discussion, members asked that quarterly reports should be mailed to all Council members.
Members noted that the Finance Committee had approved circulation of quarterly financial reports. Ms. Bynum spoke about the need for funds to support presidential work, and noted the importance of institutional support during the presidential year. Members discussed developing a set of guidelines for individuals nominated for the AHA presidency. These guidelines could assist the nominee in obtaining the appropriate level of support from his/her institution. Ms. Bynum agreed to draft guidelines to be forwarded to the Nominating Committee.
11. Oversight Issues: A. Nominating Committee: Ms. Phillips stated that guidelines for the operation of the Nominating Committee were clear, but wondered about identifying specific slots in the bylaws. Members noted that the committee must have flexibility in formulating the elective slate. Staff reported that the committee will consider a redesign of the candidate biography information at its February meeting with recommendations brought to Council at the spring meeting. Ms. Appleby expressed concern about including too many procedural details on the ballot, which may inadvertently supply even more grounds to objecting to nominees. The Nominating Committee will provide an interim report on suggested revisions to the candidate biography booklet. Upon Ms. Appleby's suggestion, Council agreed to review the Nominating Committee's redraft of the ballot materials and asked that these materials then be circulated to the three divisions, the CMH, and the CWH.
B. Perspectives: Ms. Appleby recommended establishing a committee to review the newsletter under the chairmanship of Vice President Stearns. Issues to the reviewed, for example, include appointment of contributing editors and by whom, possible reconfiguration of areas/fields of contributing editors. Members noted that the possible creation of a Publications Advisory Board will discussed as well at the spring meeting. Council members were asked to forward any suggestions and recommendations of newsletter issues by letter or e-mail to Mr. Stearns.
12. Ongoing Business: A. Headquarters report: Members discussed several issues relating to functioning of the headquarters office. Ms. Freitag suggested that the AHA staff may need to experiment with mailings from Northern Virginia postal facilities to avoid the problems with the Washington, D.C. mail. She also reported that attendance at the 1997 Annual Meeting had reached 4,500, the largest figure in more than two decades.
(1) Possible charge to institutions for Job Register: Mr. Greenberg noted that he supported assessing a fee to institutions that utilize the Job Register, but would urge caution in implementation. He suggested conducting "market research" of the institutions utilizing the facility. Mr. Townsend reported that staff has already made these inquiries, and noted that other organizations charge for use of the job registers but that they also have more expensive set-ups. He noted that the AHA staff does not have more time to devote to the register, since the individuals who serve as managers are editor and assistant editor of the newsletter and are working on fall issues up to the Annual Meeting. Although institutions may express dislike for the Job Register, they use it because its services are free to the institution and the interviewees. Mr. Townsend stated that most of the objections concern the physical set-up of the facility. Mr. Katz recommended no changes in the Job Register or the policy that interviewers and interviewees must register for the meeting. Ms. Phillips concurred, but suggested that staff inform departments about the costs related to the Job Register. Ms. Bynum encouraged Council members to visit the Job Register and to talk with applicants.
(2) Possible increase in graduate student dues: Ms. Phillips urged Council not to increase graduate student dues, but to inform students about subsidized costs of this membership category. Ms. Freitag questioned whether this information should be publicized, since members paying in higher dues categories might question pricing. Ms. Bynum noted that the subsidy pays for others who could not otherwise afford to join. Ms. Appleby stated that she would consult with Ms. Freitag to develop a president's column on this subject for Perspectives. Mr. Miller pointed out that individual membership benefits could be highlighted. Ms. Frankel noted that the column could talk about the subsidy without giving actual figures.
(3) Status of the Membership Committee: Members discussed continuation of the Membership Committee. Ms. Appleby recommended abolishing the committee and reassigning its advisory functions to the Finance Committee since the latter is more active and more directly concerned in this area. Members recommended allowing current committee members' terms to expire and making no new appointments. Council members discussed considering at the spring meeting whether it should establish a membership development committee to encourage members to become more active. Mr. Katz suggested that the Professional or Research Divisions should examine and recommend whether a committee was needed. Following additional discussion, Council voted to abolish the Membership Committee, by a vote of eleven ayes and one abstention.
B. Professional Division report: The Professional Division brought two recommendations for modification to the Statement on Standards for Professional Conduct "Addendum on Policies and Procedures:" (1) that a complainant has ninety days in which to submit documentation after being notified that a complaint has been accepted. If this period expires without the submission of supporting documents, the complainant must refile the complaint for consideration; and (2) that the complaint(s) and the respondent(s) should each have the opportunity, and thirty days, in which to submit a second response. Following comments by Ms. Phillips, Council members unanimously approved the modifications to the Addendum. See Attachment 1 for a revised version of the Addendum.
C. Teaching Division report: Mr. Stearns and Ms. Frankel remarked on increasing interest in history teaching at all educational levels. Mr. Stearns reported on the sessions sponsored during the Annual Meeting. Council unanimously approved the Teaching Division's recommendation that the AHA serve as contact and test developer for a NAEP assessment project in world history. The test is not scheduled for development for another two years, but AHA staff will explore possible partnerships for the competitive bidding, talking especially to the chief state school officers' organization.
D. American Historical Review report: Mr. Grossberg asked Council for feedback regarding the type of report that will be most useful to members. He reported that information from an AHR readership survey will be compiled for the spring meeting. This survey information has been supplemented by his visits to departments to discuss the role of scholarly journals. Mr. Grossberg reported that AHR staff had sent solicitation letters to publishers for books on Latin American history.
Mr. Grossberg asked Council about the status of the proposed graduate student essay prize to be funded by the Wolf bequest. He noted that he received authorization to proceed with the prize from the Research Division, and that the division had proposed the prize to Council for endorsement. Mr. Grossberg recommended authorization of the prize, even if it would be unfunded in the short term. Ms. Bynum suggested that the Wolf bequest could fund an article in European history, and that Council could look elsewhere for additional funding for prizes in other areas. Council members asked Mr. Grossberg to provide a cost proposal at the spring meeting.
Mr. Grossberg reported on the need to update the Review technologically. He noted that the AHR has developed a new approach to include computers as a permanent part of its infrastructure. However, costs for this include maintenance, upgrades, etc. Mr. Grossberg noted funds would be needed in the 1997-98 fiscal year. The actual costs identified were placed later on the agenda with other budget items, to be discussed together. (See section 15, page 11.)
Members also discussed the two proposals for Mellon funding. Mr. Katz urged that discussions proceed cautiously with the foundation, and agreed to further explore with Mellon the programmatic possibilities. Ms. Ramusack suggested that further discussion be held at the spring June meeting.
13. NHPRC issue from Business Meeting: As required by the AHA constitution, the resolution adopted by the January 4 Business Meeting was brought to Council for consideration. A resolution on funding at the National Historical Publications and Records Commission was discussed. Members noted that the NHPRC commission voted at its late fall meeting to adopt a strategic plan that omits historical documentary edition projects in the first level of funding priorities. Mr. Katz urged the AHA to be proactive and approve the resolution. Ms. Freitag noted that she, along with the executive directors of the OAH, SAA, and NCC, had visited John Carlin, U.S. Archivist, and discussed the issue of priority-setting. Upon motion by Mr. Trask, members voted unanimously to accept the resolution adopted by the Business Meeting. After consulting with Ms. Freitag and Ms. Appleby, Mr. Katz will send a letter conveying the resolution to the NHPRC. See Attachment 2 for the text of the resolution.
14. Division and committee appointments: Ms. Appleby stated that new Council members will be appointed to committees and divisions after one year of service. She noted the following appointments: Ms. Martin will serve on the Research Division; Ms. Phillips on the Finance Committee, and Mr. Palmer on the Committee on Affiliated Societies.
15. Votes on expenditures: A. Members discussed the following appropriations requests: $7,000 for the part-time/adjunct conference and $17,500 for AHR computer upgrades. Members approved $3,000 from the 1997-98 operating budget for the part-time/adjunct conference and $17,500 from the 1997-98 capital budget for AHR computer upgrades.
B. Development Advisory Committee: (1) Members agreed to set a goal for the fall 1997 advisory committee dinner, with a mix of a "nostalgic" history presentation/entertainment in the evening and substantive discussions the following day; (2) Each Advisory Committee member will be asked to identify three people to give $1,000 each year for three years to cover costs of professional staffing; (3) Council members to contribute a modest contribution (less than $1,000), with exception of graduate students, and to identify three people to give $1,000 each year for three years.
17. Dates for spring meeting: Members agreed to schedule the spring meeting the first or second weekend in June. All members were asked to e-mail Ms. Freitag with their availability for these two weekends. June 7-8 was designated as the first choice, with June 14-15 as back-up.
18. Adjournment: There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.