Board of Directors Minutes: January 2, 2014

The Board of Directors of the American Philological Association met at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL, on January 2, 2014.  Those present were Profs. Denis Feeney, President, and Ronnie Ancona, Dr. Adam D. Blistein, Profs. Joseph Farrell, Bruce W. Frier, Mary-Kay Gamel, Michael Gagarin, Kathryn J. Gutzwiller, Jonathan M. Hall, Jeffrey Henderson, Ralph J. Hexter, Sarah Iles Johnston, John F. Miller, Kathryn A. Morgan, and David H. Porter.  Profs. Sara Forsdyke, Matthew Roller, and Ralph M. Rosen were absent.  In addition, the following Directors who would take office on January 5, 2014, were present by invitation:  Profs. Mary C. English, John Marincola, and Laura McClure. 

Prof. Feeney called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.  He thanked the Directors who were concluding their terms of service at the annual meeting:  Profs. Henderson, Ancona, Hall, and Morgan, and welcomed the incoming members who were present.  In advance of the meeting the Directors had received an agenda for the meeting and minutes of their meeting on September 20-21, 2013.

Action:  The Directors approved the agenda for their meeting on January 2, 2014.

Action:  Subject to several corrections submitted by Prof. Ancona, the minutes of the Board's meeting of September 20-21, 2013, were approved.

Report of the President

Prof. Feeney reported that he and AIA's President had signed a revised joint management agreement to govern the conduct of the annual meeting.  He expressed satisfaction with the language of the agreement. 

After the suspension of the Association's series of classical texts, an author who had signed an agreement to publish a volume in that series had asked to be released from the agreement now that the book was ready for publication.  After negotiation with Oxford University Press which was willing to publish the book and to pay its customary royalties to the Association on sales of the work, the Executive Committee had agreed to the release requested by the author.

With the assistance of former President Kathleen Coleman, the Association had submitted proposals to a number of foundations requesting support for a summer seminar on material culture for classics graduate students.  Grants received to date were sufficient to fund one seminar, and the Association was about to submit another proposal that, if funded, would support a second.  If two seminars could be funded, another foundation had promised to support a third. 

Prof. Feeney had formed a committee to select a new logo for the Association's new name and to develop a plan to communicate the new name to various audiences.  The new name would require changes in the web site as well, and Prof. Feeney stated that Information Architect Samuel Huskey had already done a great deal of work on the site's underlying programming and hosting that would make it easier to redesign the site and maintain it in the future.  Directors discussed Prof. Huskey's efforts and the technical support he would need to receive in the future to make further improvements in the site.

Action:  The Board unanimously voted a letter of thanks to Prof. Huskey for his work on the web site, especially during the last year.  Prof. Gutzwiller, incoming President, stated that she would prepare and send this letter.

Report of Outgoing Vice President for Education

Prof. Ancona described the two panels that the Division had organized for the Chicago meeting and noted that papers from the panel on teaching literary theory that the Education Committee had organized the previous year would appear in Classical World.  The Association had just started to publicize its two new categories of associate membership, and Prof. Ancona had already met people who were interested in joining the Association at that level. 

Financial Matters

Audited Financial Statements for 2013.  The Association’s auditors had completed their work on the 2013 financial statements in late November.  Dr. Blistein had posted the report on the Association’s web site in December.  He had shared that file’s URL with Directors in December and had included the report in materials for the current meeting.  The Finance Committee had met with the auditor by telephone in mid-December, and the Board would do the same in late January or early February.

The statement showed that all categories of assets had increased during the 2013 fiscal year, and Dr. Blistein reviewed the differences among 3 types of assets.  He noted that the report is structured to show how much is spent on programs versus how much on administrative costs and to show the Association’s dependence on investment income to carry out the full range of its programs.  To show this dependence, the statement offered two figures:  a change in assets that excluded the impact of investment income, gains, and losses; and then, a final figure that included investment activity.  The former figure was almost always a deficit, but in 2013 it was much smaller than it had been in 2012 because of the end of the Gateway Campaign and the elimination of its attendant fund-raising costs.

The Finance Committee had discussed with the auditor the steps the Association took to mitigate potential weaknesses in the control of funds resulting from the fact that Dr. Blistein handles all financial transactions.  It also discussed the possibility that the Association might face a different issue once Dr. Blistein’s successor became Executive Director:  finding expertise in financial management if this person did not have those skills and interests.

Designation of Funds for Publications

In September the Board had discussed the gradual accumulation of funds that were temporarily restricted for publications.  These consisted initially of several bequests and of proceeds from the APA’s first NEH challenge grant, a campaign conducted in the early 1980’s, that had been designated for the production of monographs and textbooks.  These designations stemmed in part from stipulations by donors and in part from Board actions.  While the Association was paying Scholars Press to produce books, it had regularly expended a significant amount of the resulting income.  However, once it had moved its book series to Oxford University Press, which covered all production costs, and especially once it had suspended its book series, the Association no longer had expenses to offset income and capital appreciation.  The Board had therefore asked Dr. Blistein to consult with the Association’s attorney and determine whether it could use these funds for other types of scholarly publications.  The attorney had reviewed a draft motion prepared by Dr. Blistein and saw no obstacle to the Board adopting that motion.

Action:  The Board voted unanimously to authorize the use of funds designated for its publications program to offset any costs it incurs to produce, maintain, improve, or disseminate any of the following projects or media: 

· its scholarly journal, currently called Transactions of the American Philological Association;

· future projects to publish scholarly work including any successors in printed or digital form to its currently suspended series of monographs or textbooks; and

· its presence on the Internet including its current web site.

Internal Financial Statement for 2013 Fiscal Year.  Dr. Blistein had distributed his own report about financial activity during the 2013 fiscal year which presented certain items in a format different from the one used in the audited statement.  He noted that the document had changed in very few respects since Board had seen it in September.  It showed a surplus of over $40,000 for the year, largely as a result of hotel rebates and reduced printing costs.  (No Newsletter or Amphora had been produced during the fiscal year.)  The statement contained a separate table on investment performance which showed a smaller appreciation in the funds than stated in September because the audited statement had recognized about $64,000 in investment fees that had accumulated over the previous nine years.  This amount was less than 1% of the value of all of the Association’s holdings.  BNYMellon regularly refunded a portion of investment fees it charged, but it had become clear that these refunds did not include all charges.  Dr. Blistein would resolve this discrepancy with the Association’s investment advisor during the year.

Revised Budget for 2014 Fiscal Year.  Dr. Blistein had circulated a statement that anticipated a modest surplus for the current fiscal year even after printing two issues of the Newsletter and one of Amphora.  The current bad weather might result in less registration revenue than budgeted, but it was possible that some of these losses would be covered by convention cancellation insurance that APA and AIA regularly purchased.

Association Investments.  Dr. Blistein explained that each of the four Association endowments contained 20-24 separate mutual funds.  For the most part the endowments all owned the same funds.  He had distributed a report summarizing these funds into four asset categories:  cash, equities, fixed income, and alternative investments.  He noted that the amount held in cash as of the end of December was unusually high because many funds paid dividends during the month.  He said that the Association’s investment advisor typically uses those funds to make purchases in early January.  Alternative investments used to include commodities funds and might do so in the future, but the advisor had temporarily eliminated these investments from the portfolio.  Each endowment had grown by almost 10% net of withdrawals over the previous six months. 

Reappointment of Editors of Amphora

Action:  The Board approved a motion to renew the appointments of Ellen Bauerle and Wells Hansen as Editor and Assistant Editor, respectively, of Amphora through January 2016.

By-Laws and Regulations

Dr. Blistein had distributed to Directors a revision of the Association’s By-Laws and Regulations that incorporated recent Board actions. 

Action:  The Directors approved the revised language of the By-Laws and Regulations proposed by Dr. Blistein and, at the suggestion of Prof. Gagarin, added language to Section 44 that reflected the suspension of both the monographs and textbooks series.

Annual Meetings

2014 Annual Meeting.  Dr. Blistein reported that to date the meeting had attracted 2,310 paid advance registration, about 150 more registrants than the previous year's total.  Bad weather would reduce the number of on-site registrants and prompt some advance registrants to request refunds that might be covered by convention cancellation insurance.  He noted that Director of Meetings Heather Gasda was handling meeting logistics well in spite of a badly sprained ankle.  He thanked Prof. Hall for recruiting volunteers who were keeping registration going smoothly and for producing an outstanding guide to Chicago.

Future Annual Meetings.  During the Fall APA and AIA had signed agreements to hold the 2018 meeting in Boston.  Meeting sites were therefore set through 2019.  The new management agreement called for the societies to discuss meeting sites for 2020 and beyond during 2015.

Report of the Executive Director

Placement Service.  Dr. Blistein stated that the Service was operating well in spite of AIA's decision to create its own career services.  Prof. Huskey and his colleague, Alex Ward, had made improvements to the online Placement site that made registration easier.  There were thirty more candidates registered with the Service than there had been at this time last year.  Last year a total of 50 institutions had conducted interviews through the joint service.  This year 54 were interviewing through APA and 5 through AIA.  APA and AIA staffs had exchanged names of institutions whose interviews they were scheduling so that they would be able to direct candidates to a different office if necessary.  Placement Director Renie Plonski was currently rescheduling a number of interviews because both candidates and representatives of institutions had been delayed by bad weather.  Dr. Blistein noted that this was an advantage he had not previously considered in discussions whether staff should be scheduling interviews or leaving them to the institutions and candidates. 

The Directors discussed the use of videoconferencing for placement interviews.  It appeared that institutions were using such technology more frequently but, at least so far, this use was in addition to interviews at the meeting, not in place of it.

Annual Giving and Gateway Campaign.  Dr. Blistein reported that to date the Association had about the same number of annual giving donors as it had at this time last year.  The Development Committee was working to increase this number.  During the Fall the APA had received some additional donations to the Gateway Campaign - especially for Friends funds. 

Membership.  The number of individual members had increased by about 20 over the figure at this time last year, but the number of institutional members was down by about 15.  The number of departmental members had decreased by about 10; it would be useful to solicit these memberships more than once a year. 

Ten members had been recruited for the Membership Committee, and Dr. Blistein would work with Prof. Gutzwiller to select a chair and have the Committee begin its work.  Members of the Development Committee had agreed to help the Membership Committee to staff the Association’s display table in the exhibit hall. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:50 p.m.

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