Board of Directors Conference Call: June 13, 2011

Minutes
Conference Call of the Board of Directors of the
American Philological Association
June 13, 2011

The Board of Directors of the American Philological Association met by conference call on June 13, 2011.  Those present were Profs. Kathleen M. Coleman, President, Ronnie Ancona, and Roger S. Bagnall, Dr. Adam D. Blistein, Profs. Dee L. Clayman, Joseph Farrell, Bruce W. Frier, Jonathan M. Hall, Judith P. Hallett, Jeffrey Henderson, John Marincola, James M. May, Kathryn Morgan, Carole E. Newlands, S. Georgia Nugent, James J. O’Donnell, and Ann Vasaly.  Prof. Peter Bing was absent. 

Prof. Coleman called the meeting to order at 12:05 p.m.

Action:  The Board approved the agenda it had received in advance of the meeting.

Action:  The Board approved the minutes of its meetings on January 6, 2011, and January 9, 2011.

President’s Report

In a mail ballot in February the Board had authorized Prof. Coleman to take certain actions in connection with a plagiarism case.  She described to the Board letters she had written in regard to this matter and responses she had received to date. 

Action:  The Board authorized Prof. Coleman to report on this correspondence to other members who had become involved with this case but who had not lodged the initial complaint.

Prof. Coleman also described a request she had received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that the APA oversee a project to digitize Latin texts as well as interviews she had conducted with recipients of APA awards last January.  Her goal was to post transcripts of those interviews on the APA web site.

Report of the Search Committee for Amphora

Prof. Hallett, Chair of the Search Committee, described the backgrounds of the candidates being recommended by the Committee.

Action:  The Board accepted the Search Committee’s recommendations to appoint Dr. Ellen Bauerle as Editor, and Dr. Wells Hansen as Assistant Editor of Amphora for two year terms beginning in January 2012.

Request from Council of Independent Colleges

Prof. Ancona reported that the Committee on Education had reviewed a request from the Council on Independent Colleges (CIC) that the APA endorse a workshop on information fluency that it proposed to hold in 2012.  As long as the APA was involved in the development of the workshop, the Committee felt that endorsement would be appropriate.

Action:  The Board agreed to endorse the CIC’s workshop on information fluency in classics with the provision that the APA could not provide any financial support for this program.

Proposed Changes to Professional Matters Division Documents

In advance of the call Prof. May had circulated to the Board proposed changes to the Statement of Professional Ethics recommended by the Subcommittee on Professional Ethics and to the Placement Guidelines recommended by the Joint Committee on Placement.  The changes to the Ethics Statement would give more explicit guidelines for editorial policies and the refereeing process.  The changes to the Placement Guidelines concerned job searches for senior positions, the length of time between the appearance of an advertisement and the application deadline, pressure on candidates to accept an offer of a position very quickly, and letters of rejection.

Action:  By a majority vote the Board approved the changes recommended for the Statement of Professional Ethics.  As required by the Statement, the changes would not take effect unless the members also approved them in a referendum to take place as part of the election this coming Summer.

Action:  The Board made two amendments to the language proposed by the Placement Committee and then unanimously adopted the proposed changes to the Placement Guidelines.

Development

Dr. Blistein reported that to date donations to the Association’s annual giving fund were about $7,000 behind the total for the previous year.  However, the current Spring appeal designed by Prof. Coleman had already attracted twice as much money as the one conducted the previous Spring.  He expected that the Association would receive $2,000 or $3,000 more from this appeal and from May and June dues payments before the end of the fiscal year.

A few days earlier Dr. Blistein had reported to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) receipt of over $2.05 million in pledges to the Gateway campaign.  This amount allowed the Association to claim the final installment of matching funds offered in the NEH’s challenge grant.  The APA still needed to raise an additional $540,000 by July 31, 2012, to meet all the terms of the grant.  Over the last year funds established by “Friends” of several distinguished scholars in the field had attracted substantial gifts; an appeal to honor Campaign Co-Chair Michael Putnam was about to be launched.  Prof. Coleman expected to be able to make a campaign appeal during the CANE Institute.  Otherwise, the Campaign Committee would focus its energies on securing large gifts.  The sums raised to date were sufficient to keep the American Office of L’Année philologique in operation; as a result, the Committee could seek gifts for pedagogy and outreach purposes.  Dr. Blistein thought it might be possible to interest a donor in creating a fund to make periodic improvements to its web site (or successor electronic media). 

Prof. Henderson described a fund-raising event for the campaign that would take place at Boston University in October.  He and Prof. Coleman had assisted Prof. Mary Lefkowitz in assembling a large event committee that had provided names of people in the Boston area to receive both a preliminary announcement to be sent out shortly and a formal invitation to be sent in early September.  In addition, Prof. Lefkowitz had secured mailing lists from two local organizations.

Financial Matters

Prof. Nugent reported on the Finance Committee’s meeting of May 31, 2011.  The Committee had met first with the Association’s auditor, who had issued an unqualified report for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2010.  The Committee hopes that the annual audits can be produced earlier so that less time will elapse between the close of the fiscal year and the auditors’ meetings with the Committee and the Board.  The Association’s financial condition continued to be good, but the audit showed the extent to which the Association depended on its investments at a time when annual meeting and membership income either remained the same or declined slightly.  The Committee also met with the Association’s investment advisor who provided space for the meeting at BNYMellon offices in New York.  The advisor’s work continued to be satisfactory.

Dr. Blistein had prepared a projection of income and expenses for the fiscal year that would end on June 30, 2011, and a budget for the 2012 fiscal year.  The former document anticipated that the Association would just about break even for 2011, but the 2012 budget projected a deficit of about $135,000, a deficit caused for the most part by the continuation of the capital campaign for an additional year.  The Committee had made some minor changes to the draft of the budget it had reviewed on May 31 and recommended to the Board approval of a version anticipating a deficit of just under $137,500.  The deficit would need to be made up by taking an extraordinary disbursement from the General Fund, i.e., one that exceeded the Association’s guideline of withdrawing only 5% of the trailing three-year average of the fund’s value. 

The Committee considered the one-year extension of significant fund-raising expenses to be an unfortunate necessity and was in fact more concerned about the Association’s ability to sustain its regular programs after 2012.  When the Committee had examined costs not related to the campaign, it concluded that after several years of cutting expenses where possible, no means for further savings were available.  The Committee therefore recommended that the Board conduct a long-range planning retreat in Spring 2012.  The purpose of the retreat would be to make recommendations as to the kinds of programs APA members will really need in the decade ahead and which ones the Association can afford to provide.

Action:  The Board agreed to devote part of its September meeting to the organization of a long-range planning retreat.  Prof. Coleman urged Directors to think about the kinds of information they would like to receive in advance of this discussion and to request that information from Dr. Blistein.

Action:  The Board unanimously approved the budget for 2012 submitted by the Finance Committee.

Executive Director’s Report

Dr. Blistein reported that members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Archives had come to the APA office over two weekends during the Winter.  The members had gone through over 70 storage boxes of files accumulated by Secretary-Treasurers and Executive Directors since 1986 and had retained enough material to fill about 20 boxes that would be added to the existing archives in the Columbia Rare Book Library. 

Dr. Blistein had been involved in several conversations about improving the APA’s web site.  Information Architect Sam Huskey had met with staff members at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World; they agreed that the site needed to offer more tools for the profession.  In addition, Prof. Kenneth Kitchell had started a conversation about the need for easy access to such information.  Prof. Ancona and Dr. Blistein would discuss this matter with others at the upcoming ACL Institute.  The Board would also need to continue its discussion of how the Association could fulfill the Gateway Campaign promise of developing a digital portal. 

The next meeting of the Board would take place in Philadelphia on September 16 and 17.  The Association would once again co-sponsor a lecture by a Board member and a subsequent reception with the Classical Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania.  The Department had asked Prof. Clayman to give the lecture.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

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