Divisions Work on Past Problems and Future Initiatives
AHA Staff, May 1994
The AHA's Teaching Division convened in Washington on March 19. The meeting's agenda covered a wide range of issues and activities, but of special note were developments in regard to prizes for history teaching. The AHA offered no prize in this area until 1986, when the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award was established, followed in 1992 by the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award. At its spring meeting, the division reviewed nominations for the 1994 Asher award and discussed efforts to identify a secondary school teacher for this year's cycle of the Roelker award. Despite the prestige and high profile of those two prizes, the division felt that there should be more opportunities to recognize and reward good teaching and finalized proposals for two new prizes, for which new endowed funds will be established shortly. One of the new prizes will be for the best article on teaching history; plans call for the first award to be presented at the 1996 annual meeting and biennially thereafter. The other prize will be given annually beginning in 1995 for distinguished contributions to K–12 history teaching. At that point, the Asher award probably will be reconfigured to focus on postsecondary teaching. Announcements of the gifts for the endowment and the terms of the awards will be made at a later date.
Other Teaching Division business included:
- Status reports on the development of new pamphlets, the revision of dated ones, and the design and distribution of a flier aimed at minority high school students entitled "Why Become a Historian?"
- Plans by the Society for History Education to revise the "History Teacher Forum" column in Perspectives
- General annual meeting concerns, such as the possibility of a new format for the teaching section of the program and questions about badges for K–12 teachers
- Status reports on session proposals solicited by the division for both the 1995 and the 1996 annual meetings
- Updates on the History Teaching Alliance, the National History Education Network, National History Day, the Bill of Rights Education Collaborative, the U.S. History Framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the National History Standards Project, and the Social Studies Standards Project of the National Council for the Social Studies
- Results of a survey this past winter of K–12 teachers regarding the AHA's joint membership package with the Organization of History Teachers and the Society for History Education
- A new initiative on teaching graduate students to teach
- A possible collaborative effort with the Organization of American Historians and the Society of American Archivists on graduate education in research methodology
- An invitation from the American Association for Higher Education to take part in its new program on the peer review of teaching
- Initiatives on teaching global and comparative history, including the possibility of a joint conference with the World History Association and the leading area studies organizations
- Cosponsorship of a regional teaching conference at the University of North Texas
The Teaching Division meets twice each year. Its next meeting is scheduled for mid-October.
The AHA's Research Division convened for its spring meeting in Washington on March 26. While the other two divisions normally meet for only one day each, the Research Division must meet for two days in order to have time for both routine business and the selection of recipients for the AHA's grant programs. The division reviewed over a hundred proposals for Beveridge, Kraus, and Littleton-Griswold grants and awarded $15,423 in small research grants to twenty-seven individuals (see page 12 of this issue for a list of recipients). The division also discussed changes in the application procedures and policy matters related to the use of income from the endowments that support these and other grant programs and the Association's prizes. Also on the Research Division's agenda were:
- The status of an evaluation of journal cosponsorship at Indiana University and its implications for the American Historical Review
- The upcoming search for a successor to David Ransel as editor of the AHR
- New appointments to the AHR Board of Editors
- Suggestions for Program Committee chair for the 1997 annual meeting
- Revision of the annual meeting program committee guidelines to encourage more attention to the interests of the AHA president
- Report from Page Putnam Miller, director of the National Coordinating Committee, regarding funding for the National Archives and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, problems related to the appointment of a new Archivist of the United States, the status of the PROFS notes case, and new developments regarding a new executive order on classification and declassification
- A proposed study of the Library of Congress under the sponsorship of the American Council of Learned Societies
- Report on the "Access to Archives" conference cosponsored by the AHA at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy and bringing together archivists from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union with their counterparts from the West to discuss the development of access policies
- Proposal to join with the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies to form a task force to address what role the scholarly community in the United States can play in resolving preservation and access problems in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union
- Impact of the possible privatization of the archives of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty
- Microfilm copying problems at and concerns regarding the transfer of the German Documents Center
- Request from the director of the International Council on Archives for assistance in two preservation and access projects in Russia
The Research Division's next meeting will be in early November.