The Board of Directors of the American Philological Association met at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Seattle, WA, on January 3, 2013. Those present were Profs. Jeffrey Henderson, President, Ronnie Ancona, Roger S. Bagnall, and Peter Bing, Dr. Adam D. Blistein, Profs. Kathleen M. Coleman, Joseph Farrell, Denis Feeney, Sara Forsdyke, Bruce W. Frier, Michael Gagarin, Mary-Kay Gamel, Jonathan M. Hall, Kathryn A. Morgan, Matthew Roller, and Ann Vasaly. Profs. James M. May and S. Georgia Nugent were absent. Also present by invitation were two Directors who would take office on January 6, 2013: Profs. Kathryn J. Gutzwiller and John F. Miller.
Prof. Henderson called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. He welcomed the incoming Directors to the meeting and thanked those who were concluding their terms at the annual meeting: Profs. Coleman, Nugent, Bagnall, Bing, May and Vasaly. In advance of the meeting Directors had received an agenda as well as minutes of their meeting of September 28-29, 2012.
Action: The Directors approved the agenda for the meeting on January 3, 2013.
Action: The Directors approved the minutes of their meeting on September 28-29, 2012.
Report of the President
Prof. Henderson described three conference calls held by the Cabinet between the Board’s strategic planning meeting in March 2012 and the annual meeting. This group had monitored the Association’s progress in achieving the goals of the planning process, and several topics it had discussed would be agenda items for the Board and various committees in Seattle. These included the possibility of changing the name of the Association, improving the APA’s ability to collect and share data about the field, and increasing the usefulness of its web site and its presence in social media. Achieving the last-mentioned goal would, in part, fulfill the promise of the Gateway Campaign and would depend on the APA’s ability to purchase computer hardware, software, and services as necessary; support the work of Information Architect Samuel Huskey; and recruit members to produce materials for the web site, blogs, and other social media. Directors discussed the role of the Development Committee and the new Membership Committee in supporting this effort as well as a variety of ways in which members could be encouraged to volunteer their services.
In advance of the meeting the Directors had received an audited financial statement for the 2012 fiscal year, an internal statement for 2012 that compared budget figures to actual income and expenses, an update on the budget for the 2013 fiscal year, and a table showing the status of the Association’s investments as of December 28, 2012. In addition, Dr. Blistein had prepared a memorandum describing how each of these documents was prepared.
Audited Financial Statement for 2012 Fiscal Year. Prof. Frier, Incoming Chair of the Finance Committee, reported that the Committee had met earlier in the day and had begun its meeting with a discussion via conference call with the Association’s auditor, Mr. Ronald Scaramuzza of Briggs, Bunting, and Dougherty. He noted that after the annual meeting the Board would have a similar call with Mr. Scaramuza and stated that the Association had been able to develop a satisfactory system to send bank statements to Financial Trustees. Prof. Frier then reviewed with the Board several aspects of the auditors’ report.
The auditors had issued an unqualified report. Net assets had decreased during the fiscal year in large part because June 30, 2012, was a low point in financial markets, and the Association’s investments had shown losses that would not have been present if the fiscal year had ended three months earlier or later. In any case, the investment loss incurred during 2012 was considerably smaller than the investment gain during the previous year. Total unrestricted assets as of the end of the fiscal year were $1,562,640, which represented 15 months of operating expenses for the Association (down from 17 months).
Prof. Frier asked Directors to note the composition of its Temporarily Restricted Net Assets, grant funds or investment income from permanently restricted assets that had to be used for purposes designated by donors. A substantial portion of these assets was currently reserved for publications both because of donor restrictions and actions by prior Boards. After consultation with an attorney, Dr. Blistein would bring to the Board a proposal to change the designation on some of these funds.
Prof. Frier also pointed out that supporting services (membership management, fund raising, and general administration) represented 21% of the APA’s expenses. Auditors considered this to be a reasonable number, and, in any case, it would decline in 2013 since the Director of Development had concluded her service to the Association at the end of the 2012 fiscal year.
Association Investments. In December the Finance Committee had met via conference call with Patricia Schneider of BNYMellon, the Association’s investment advisor. The Committee had discussed with her the possibility of reducing the percentage it used to calculate withdrawals from invested funds and of increasing the percentage of equities in its portfolios.
Updated Budget for 2013 Fiscal Year. Prof. Frier stated that despite slightly lower attendance at the annual meeting than expected, it appeared that the APA, as expected, would operate at a very small deficit of around $12,000 for the year. The Directors discussed the possibility that in the future the Association might meet a little less frequently on the west coast where attendance was typically lower.
Change in Name of Association
Prof. Henderson reviewed for the Board the series of announcements he had made of the Board’s recommendation that the Association change its name and the responses that these announcements had elicited from members. This recommendation had arisen from the strategic planning process and reflected the Board’s desire to make it easier for scholars in other academic disciplines and the general public to understand the areas that APA members studied.
About 200 members had responded to a special e-mail account after an initial announcement. Supporters of a change outnumbered opponents by about three to one. However, there was no strong support for either of the possible new names put forward by the Board (American Classical Association and Classical Association of North America) and some objection to them from other classics societies with similar names. Prof. Huskey had developed a special discussion forum for comments on Prof. Henderson’s report on the first round of comments, but few members had taken advantage of that vehicle.
Action: After extensive discussion the Board voted 12 in favor with 3 abstentions to add a referendum question to the regular election in summer 2013 asking the members to approve changing the Association’s name from American Philological Association to Society for Classical Studies. If the change were approved, the new name would be accompanied by the phrase “Founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association”.
Action: Dr. Blistein was asked to secure a trademark for the Association’s logo.
Distinguished Service Award. Action: The Directors unanimously approved a nomination for a Distinguished Service Award to be made at the 2014 annual meeting in Chicago.
Goodwin Award of Merit. The Board had received a report from Prof. Roller, Chair of an ad hoc Committee on Awards recommending a number of changes in both the Goodwin Award Committee and the procedures followed by that Committee as well as the institution of an early career award. Directors expressed support for the Committee’s recommendation that the APA give three book awards each year instead of one but asked for modifications in its proposals for the early career award and the Committee structure.
By-Laws and Regulations
Dr. Blistein had distributed to Directors a copy of the Regulations containing existing language and proposed changes to reflect the merger of the Publications and Research Divisions that would be effective on January 6 as well as other changes in Association procedures. Several Directors suggested modifications to this document, and then the Board approved the following changes to the Regulations:
Action: The Board added a new Regulation 13 to describe the Cabinet.
Action: The Board deleted Regulation 14 concerning the Capital Campaign Committee.
Action: The Board approved changes to Regulations 42, 43, 52, and 57 to reflect the merger of the Publications and Research Divisions. The Board deleted Regulations 54 and 55 concerning the Research Division.
Action: The Board deleted Regulation 44 concerning the Monographs Series and added language to Regulation 45 to reflect the suspension of the Textbooks Series.
2013 Meeting. Dr. Blistein reported that the Office had once again experienced problems with the vendor that had processed abstract and proposal submissions online. Overcoming these problems to post the abstracts online and to generate the Program and abstract book had required considerable effort from Prof. Huskey and from staff member Heather Gasda.
Dr. Blistein stated that he anticipated that slightly more than 2,000 paid registrants would attend the meeting. This figure was about 300 fewer than he had hoped for. [The final figure was close to 2,150.] The cost and length of time to travel to Seattle had clearly limited attendance. He noted that sessions would take place in the adjacent convention center while committee meetings, some job interviews, affiliated group meetings, and receptions would be located in the Sheraton Hotel. Institutions reserving their own suites were conducting interviews in the nearby Hyatt Hotel.
This was the first meeting since 2006 that the Association had held without the help of Experient, “a “third-party planner”. The process had gone more smoothly and would probably generate more revenue from hotel rebates than he had expected. However, the change, as expected, put more work on APA staff. The Local Arrangements Committee chaired by Profs. Ruby Blondell and Alain Gowing had been very helpful, and there had been some recent interest in the meeting from local publications because one of the precollegiate award winners (Nora MacDonald, also a member of the Local Arrangements Committee) was from Seattle.
Future Meetings. Prof. Huskey expected to have a custom-made abstract submission system in place for 2014 meeting, and Prof. Farrell was considering the possibility of combining the traditional two meetings of the Program Committee into a single meeting in June. If this occurred, the deadline for submission of panel proposals would be later than usual. APA officers and staff would meet with their AIA counterparts on February 5 to update the Joint Management Agreement for the annual meeting.
In recent months APA and AIA had agreed to change the venue for the 2016 meeting from San Diego to San Francisco because of a delay in adding meeting space to the San Diego Marriott hotel. This change made it necessary to sign a contract for San Diego in 2019, something Dr. Blistein had hoped to avoid because of uncertainty about members’ ability to travel to annual meetings over the long term. However, it had been possible to book the San Francisco meeting at rates already negotiated for San Diego; so, it had been difficult to pass up this opportunity. The associations still had no contracts in place for the 2018 meeting but had agreed internally that it would take place on the East Coast.
Executive Director’s Report
Report to Members. Dr. Blistein noted that he again had not been able to produce a report to members in advance of the meeting; he might propose an alternate schedule for its publication. On the other hand, it might be possible to generate it more easily if it were a compilation of more regular, e.g., monthly or quarterly, communications.
Placement. Dr. Blistein reported that as of the time of the annual meeting 547 candidates had registered for the online service, as compared to 531 during the entire preceding academic year. The number of institutions interviewing at the meeting (50) was the same as in the previous year. With a year’s experience, some improvements to the online system, and a new feature allowing candidates to register at a higher nonmember rate, the process of scheduling appointments had gone much more smoothly. On December 21, 2012, schedules were complete for 46 institutions, 1 institution was still submitting the names of candidates for interviews, and 3 schedules were incomplete either because a candidate had not registered for the service or had not completed his or her calendar. As of December 28, 2011, a week later, only 34 schedules had been complete (out of 50).
For the current academic year Prof. Huskey had implemented a new feature in the online system that notified registered candidates via e-mail about new job listings that had been posted and approved earlier in the day. During the fall he made several improvements to this function in response to comments from candidates. Also the system had experience no security breaches like the two experienced the previous year.
Development. Dr. Blistein said that response to the fall annual giving appeal had been light so far (a total of 31 gifts for $7,159), but he noted that a backlog of mail (the Office had received no delivery since December 21.) likely contained additional gifts. Once all receipts were tabulated, gifts to the Gateway endowment would be about $50,000 above the $2.6 million required to claim all NEH matching funds. The APA had surpassed its goal even though a few pledges to the Campaign (for a total of less than $5,000) would not be fulfilled. Most of the new pledges made during the Fall had been contributions to “Friends” funds.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:40 p.m.