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The Board of Directors of the Society of Classical Studies met by conference call on June 17, 2013. Those participating were Profs. Denis Feeney, President, and Ronnie Ancona, Dr. Adam D. Blistein, Profs. Joseph Farrell, Sara Forsdyke, Bruce W. Frier, Michael Gagarin, Mary-Kay Gamel, Kathryn J. Gutzwiller, Jonathan M. Hall, Jeffrey Henderson, Ralph J. Hexter, Sarah Iles Johnston, John F. Miller, Kathryn A. Morgan, Matthew Roller, and Ralph M. Rosen. Prof. David H. Porter was absent. Prof. Feeney called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m.

Action: The Directors approved the agenda for the meeting that they had received in advance.

Action: The Directors approved drafts of minutes they had received for their meetings of January 3, 2013, and January 6, 2013, and their conference call of April 30, 2013. They also approved a summary of votes that the Board and Executive Committee had taken by mail since January 2013.

Report of the President

Cabinet. Prof. Feeney reported on discussions held during meetings earlier in the year of the Cabinet and its IT Subcommittee. The Cabinet discussed the place of the Newsletter in an environment in which the Association depended on the web site and e-mails to communicate with members. It endorsed Dr. Blistein’s plan to publish two short editions of the Newsletter each year that could serve as a summary and historical record of Association activities.

The Cabinet and its Subcommittee had devoted considerable time to a redesign of the Association’s web site. Their goal was to develop a mission statement for the site and hierarchical lists of the information it should display. Information Architect Sam Huskey would use this information to make some changes in the site’s appearance when he moved it to a new host and content management system in the fall. Then the Association would need to hire a “user experience” (UX) expert who could make sure that the site would be functional and attractive on tablets and other mobile devices as well as computers. Prof. Feeney was recruiting members who would submit regular blog postings on topics in classical antiquity. Profs. Henderson and Robert Kaster had agreed to review these submissions before they were posted. In addition, Prof. Ward Briggs had agreed to develop and supervise a group of members posting materials to the APA’s Facebook page.

Pearson Fellowship. At the rate of spending from its endowments being proposed by the Finance Committee, the Association would be able to provide a stipend of $24,400 (down from $25,000) to the Pearson Fellow, and no funds would be left over to offset the travel expenses of finalists for the Fellowship. Even before this reduction, the Fellowship had been attracting fewer applicants because recent increases in the costs of attending universities in the U.K. had made it necessary for Fellows to find a significant amount of additional funding. Prof. Feeney had therefore approached a colleague at Cambridge to ask whether the Classics faculty there could supplement the Fellowship for students attending that institution, and he had quickly received a favorable response. That faculty was willing to provide tuition funding to any Pearson Fellow accepted to Cambridge during the next five years (leaving funds from the fellowship proper available for room, board, travel, etc.) Fellows would not be required to apply to Cambridge, and the APA would be free to seek similar support from other universities in the U.K.

Action: The Board accepted the generous offer of the Cambridge Classics Faculty to provide tuition support to any Pearson Fellow attending the university over the next five years and asked Prof. Feeney to seek a similar arrangement with Oxford because the majority of Pearson Fellows attended either Oxford or Cambridge. In the event a Pearson Fellow wished to attend a different university, the APA should attempt to obtain tuition support for him or her on a one-time basis.


Dr. Blistein began his report by conveying Prof. Porter’s apology for the scheduling conflict that prevented his participation on the call. The Development Committee had had several conference calls during the Spring during which it worked on the Spring annual giving appeal and the contents of an acknowledgment book for the Gateway Campaign. The Committee wants the book not only to acknowledge donors but to describe what the Association had accomplished and what the Campaign is already funding. The Committee had determined that the APA can print and send this booklet to all members and donors for about $8,000 in printing costs and $6,000 in first-class (or $3,000 in 3rd class) postage expenses. It had considered printing fewer booklets but sending to members who had not made contributions a summary of its important pages, but the total cost of this alternative was almost the same, and simply sending the booklet to all members would create less work in the APA Office to because it would not need to modify mailing lists. The Committee was also sending special acknowledgments to donors of $1,000 or more to the Campaign.

The Committee reiterated its recommendation that the Office obtain part-time fund-raising assistance for foundation research, encouraging bequests, etc. and discussed where such help could be found within budgetary limits. The Finance Committee had reached the same conclusion at its meeting in May.

Dr. Blistein reviewed annual giving receipts, which were very encouraging. He anticipated that contributions for the fiscal year would exceed $45,000. This figure was well above the $27,000 received the previous year, the last year of the Campaign, and was approaching the amounts received in the 2005 and 2006 fiscal years (around $57,000).

Financial Matters

Finance Committee. Prof. Frier reported on the Committee’s meeting of May 6. Because of the accelerated schedule for preparing the Association’s financial statements, it was not necessary to meet with the APA’s auditor at the meeting as had been the Committee’s previous custom, and it had been helpful to have Profs. Feeney and Gutzwiller attend. The Committee began its meeting with a lengthy discussion with the Association’s financial advisor, Ms. Patricia Schneider of BNYMellon. Ms. Schneider had begun her presentation with a description of ways in which her firm could assist the APA to develop a deferred giving program. She then described the firm’s responses to changing financial markets. Because low interest rates were likely to persist for a number of years, it would be prudent for the APA to reduce the amount it withdrew from its endowments and to consider an increase in the percentage of equity holdings in each endowment. Because Association investments were in no imminent danger of losing significant value, the Association could reduce its disbursement rate gradually. During the 2013 fiscal year most investments had increased in value, and the Association’s portfolio had kept pace with that growth.

Prof. Frier felt that the Association’s overall financial outlook was better than it had been during the previous three years of his term. The Association expected to generate a small surplus in the 2013 fiscal year while holding disbursements from endowments to 5% of each fund’s average value over the last three years. The figure for the General Fund was even lower: 3.4%. The budget being proposed for 2014 was balanced despite assuming withdrawals of only 4.7% of the average values from invested funds. In the recent past the Association had increased dues rates every three years, and that schedule called for new rates for 2014, but the Committee was deferring such a recommendation for at least a year. It would, however, review current dues categories and might recommend changes as well as increases in the future. Prof. Gutzwiller noted that she intended to propose some new categories of membership.

The Committee felt that AIA members should pay the nonmember fee to use the Placement Service during the next year. It had set aside funds in the budget for professional help for improvements to the Association’s online presence and for fund-raising work.

Preliminary Financial Statement for 2013 Fiscal Year. Dr. Blistein reviewed with the Board a statement he had provided comparing financial activity in the 2013 fiscal year to its budget. The statement anticipated a very small surplus (under $7,000) for the year even though the General Fund had provided $43,000 less than allowed by the budget. Decreases in printing and postage costs because of deferred publication of issues of both the Newsletter and Amphora were in part responsible for this result. Also, the Association had received a larger amount from annual meeting hotel rebates than expected, and costs to replace the meeting planning firm that had worked on the 2007 through 2012 meetings were lower than expected. In addition, the cost for Information Architect Samuel Huskey to produce a new abstract submission system and to improve the placement service system had been lower than expected.

Budget for 2014 Fiscal Year. The Directors had received a budget approved by the Finance Committee that projected a surplus of just under $18,000 for the 2014 fiscal year. As Prof. Frier had stated, it had been possible to achieve this result and also reduce the amounts to be withdrawn from the Association’s invested funds from 5.0% to 4.7% of each fund’s average value over the last three years. Dr. Blistein reviewed with the Board items in the budget that were new or that varied from the previous year as well as the procedures followed for establishing salaries for the APA Office staff and the staff of the American Office of L’Année philologique. The budget proposed only one rate increase: an additional $5 for institutional membership in the Association.

Action: The Board approved the budget for 2014 recommended by the Finance Committee.

Report of the Executive Director

Placement. Dr. Blistein noted that the 2012-13 placement year was about to end. Placement Director Irene Plonski had conducted the Service’s usual survey of candidates via Survey Monkey and received responses from about a third of the registrants. This low response rate was disappointing because the Placement Committee had added questions to the survey about institutions’ use of Skype for interviews and the number of interviews held in Seattle that were not scheduled by Placement Service. The responses that the APA had received showed little evidence of outside interviews and only modest evidence of Skype, but the small sample could be responsible for these results.

The Association needed to make plans for the coming year when AIA would be operating its own job service. Although AIA had already launched its new service, it was unclear how active it would be at the annual meeting. Dr. Blistein had worked with Prof. Miller and with Placement Committee Chair David Potter on a survey of institutions that had purchased comprehensive service during the current and previous years, i.e., those who had used an online service, in time to decide whether to continue to have the office schedule interviews at the annual meeting. Because the survey asked questions about how well the office managed the Service, it was important to have it issued by another organization. Prof. Potter had identified an office with appropriate experience at the University of Michigan to handle the survey, but it would not be able to perform the work until the fall.

Dr. Blistein had discussed this matter with Profs. Feeney, Gutzwiller, Miller, and Potter, and they had agreed that the APA Office should continue to schedule interviews, in part because institutions were largely familiar with the system, and in part so that the APA could maintain what control it could over the process. In addition, they had decided to send survey to comprehensive service institutions from the last five years (not just two) to get an idea of institutions’ satisfaction with the online system.

Annual Meeting. Both members at large and the Program Committee appeared to be happier with this year’s online system designed by Prof. Huskey. The Committee would meet later in the week and see whether it could complete all its work during a two-day meeting to review both panels and individual abstracts. It had once again been very helpful to have at-large Directors assist in the initial review of individual abstracts.

Next Board Meeting

Dr. Blistein reminded Directors that they would meet next in Philadelphia on the evening of September 20 and during the day on September 21. The Penn Classical Studies Department had asked Prof. Morgan to give a talk earlier in the day on September 20.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.