Publication Date

September 1, 1999

  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 Program Committee works within the following oversight structure: the Council is ultimately responsible for articulating the policy goals to be achieved by the annual meeting program. The Research Division oversees the composition and deliberations of the Program Committee itself. The Vice President of the Research Division, in working with the Program Committee cochairs, facilitates the interaction of these two forms of oversight.
  3. Upon recommendation by the Research Division, Council appoints chair, cochair, and additional members of the Program Committee, according to the following steps and timeline:
    1. Research Division works with the executive director on potential candidates for chair, rotating among specializations (i) U.S., (ii) European, and (iii) fields other than U.S. /European history. Based on the qualifications identified for each candidate, the Research Division provides a ranked order for the executive director to contact. (This work is done at the spring Research Division meeting, slightly more than two and one-half years before that annual meeting.)
    2. The executive director checks availability of ranked list of names, including provision of campus support, and reports back to Research Division. (Completed by end of summer, two and one-half years out.)
    3. Research Division recommends name(s) to Council for their approval (through listserv during fall, slightly more than two years out).
    4. Chair works with Research Division to select cochair; chair and cochair should be selected from different institutions and represent distinctively different fields. Research Division recommends for Council approval. (Research Division approves in fall, slightly more than two and one-half years out; Council decides during fall by listserv or no later than January meeting, two years out.)
    5. Council meets with chair and/ or cochair and gives policy directions regarding goals to be met by the annual meeting. (January, two years out.)
    6. Chair and cochair bring proposed "slots" and range of names to the Research Division (see section 4, below). The division reviews, advising and augmenting these lists. Slots include current chair and cochair, future chair and cochair, and up to nine additional slots. By the time of final consideration, all candidates must be members of the Association and continue as members during their term of service. (No later than spring meeting of Research Division, slightly more than one and one-half years out.)
    7. Chair and cochair contact candidates, forward results of these conversations to Research Division. The division makes final adjustments and approves to forward to council. (Research Division meeting in spring, slightly more than one and one-half years out.)
    8. Council approves the Research Division recommendation, unless grave concerns emerge (see number 4, below). (May /June meeting of Council, one and one-half years out.)
    9. Letters of appointment, signed by the vice president of the Research Division, are prepared by staff and sent out to Program Committee members. (Summer, one and one-half years out.)
  4. 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, 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 new and original work. 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 Research Division formally recommends appointments to the Council and that no recommendation is final until Council approval has been given. However, it is anticipated that only in cases of extreme concern will Council disapprove names on this list, given the careful prior vetting made by the division.
  5. The Program Committee thus constituted will number up to 13 members, including the chair, the cochair, the chair-elect, the cochair-elect, and up to 9 other members. The committee shall operate within these guidelines and the "Organization, Jurisdiction, and Operation of Association Divisions and Committees" document adopted by the Council.
  6. Within the policy guidelines articulated by the Council, the Program Committee has autonomy in the selection of sessions and participants, subject to the following limitations:
    1. All participants, except for foreign scholars and those from other disciplines, must be current members of the Association.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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. The three divisions of the Association—Professional, Research, and Teaching—the Committee on Minority Historians, the Committee on Women Historians, and the Task Force on Graduate Education shall each have the opportunity to present relevant and timely matters of concern to the profession in panel sessions. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. The executive director shall keep the Program Committee informed of resources that may be available from Association revenues or from outside grants to assist foreign scholars invited to present papers.
  11. 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.

Approved by , May 30, 1999.

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