Board of Directors Minutes: January 5, 2014

The Board of Directors of the American Philological Association met at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL, on January 5, 2014.  Those present were Prof. Kathryn J. Gutzwiller, President, Dr. Adam D. Blistein, Profs. Joy Connolly, Mary C. English, Joseph Farrell, Denis Feeney, Bruce W. Frier, Mary-Kay Gamel, Michael Gagarin, Ralph J. Hexter, Sarah Iles Johnston, John Marincola, Laura McClure, John F. Miller, David H. Porter, Matthew Roller, and Ralph M. Rosen.  Prof. Sara Forsdyke, was absent. 

Prof. Gutzwiller called the meeting to order at 11:10 a.m.  Directors had received an agenda for the meeting in advance. 

Action:  The Board approved the agenda for its meeting.

Action:  In accordance with By-Law #14, Profs. Farrell and McClure were chosen by lot to serve on the Executive Committee in 2014.

President’s Report

Prof. Gutzwiller thanked Prof. Feeney for his work as President during the previous year, particularly his oversight of efforts to improve our digital presence, the Presidential Panel he had organized, and the Presidential Address he had given the previous day.  She intended to form a committee with Prof. Gamel to identify and recruit members for the new Friends of the Classics Category.  The APA could reach potential members for the new Associate Precollegiate category fairly easily through the American Classical League and regional associations.  Identifying potential Friends, particularly those not in academia, would require more effort.

She reported that Anne Carson had agreed to put on a reading of her play Antigonick at the New Orleans meeting.  Prof. Gamel would help her to recruit additional readers. 

Dr. Blistein had notified the Board of his intention to retire in June 2016.  On the previous day the Finance Committee had talked about steps the Association needed to take before it conducted a search for his successor.  Prof. Gutzwiller had agreed to form a Succession Planning Committee that would make recommendations to the Board about the skills needed by the next Executive Director, possible structural changes in the APA Office, and the search process itself.  The Committee would make its report during 2014 so that the search itself could take place during the second half of 2015. 

Prof. Gutzwiller asked the Board to discuss questions raised at the Business Meeting that had just taken place.  Members there had asked whether the Board had formally changed the By-Laws to reflect the new name of the Association, and requested that in the case of the recent referendum on the new name, the Board should make an exception to its usual policy of not publishing numerical results of elections.

Action:  In light of the results of the referendum of members conducted during the Association’s elections in the Summer of 2013, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to confirm its decision to change the name of the Association from the American Philological Association to the Society for Classical Studies.  The Board also voted authorization for Dr. Blistein to make the appropriate changes in the Association’s By-Laws and Regulations once he had submitted filings required by relevant governing bodies to effect the change of the Association’s name.

Action:  The Board authorized Dr. Blistein to publish the numerical results of the referendum on the name change in light of the fact that no individual candidate could be embarrassed by their publication.

Report of the Finance Committee

Prof. Frier noted that Prof. Niall Slater had concluded his term of service on the Committee at its meeting on the previous day.  Prof. Barbara Shailor, his successor, had attended the meeting as had Prof. Gutzwiller.  The Association had operated at a modest surplus in the 2013 fiscal year and expected to do so again in 2014.  To date, the value of investments was up by about 10% during the fiscal year. 

He noted the importance of the Board’s annual conference call with auditors which would take place soon.  This call was a regular reminder that the Association needed to take steps to mitigate the concentration of financial responsibility in the Executive Director.  The Financial Trustees, by reviewing bank and investment statements monthly, took on most of this responsibility, but the Board needed to exercise its oversight as well.  On the other hand, Dr. Blistein’s expertise in this area generated a great deal of useful information for the Board, and the Finance Committee wanted to be involved in the selection of his successor so that it could make sure that the Office could still perform this function well.  The Committee would also take this opportunity to review its own responsibilities and make any necessary adjustments in its work.

Report of the Development Committee

Prof. Porter stated that the Committee was working hard to sustain the success of the Gateway Campaign which had attracted donations from a third of the membership.  Its specific goals were to receive $60,000 in annual giving donations from 15% of the membership by generating enthusiasm for donations among junior members, encouraging previous donors to add $20 to their earlier gifts, and offering incentives to first-time donors. 

The Committee had helped to staff the Association’s display table in the exhibit hall in Chicago, but their efforts had been offset somewhat by a poor location.  If the current year’s experiments with pins and a reception for donors were repeated, they needed better publicity. 

The next annual giving appeal was scheduled to go into the mail in early April.  In the interim, the Committee had been working on various projects to thank generous donors to the Campaign and regular donors to annual giving during the Campaign.  The new “Ambassadors” group would perform a similar function during the next few months.  This group had met with the Committee during its meeting on January 3 and had made a number of useful suggestions about annual giving appeals and about modifications to the annual meeting program that might make it more useful for junior members. 

Meeting of the Committee on the Web Site and Newsletter

Prof. Feeney reported that Committee had discussed the effort that would be necessary to work with a user experience expert to upgrade the web site and integrate the new name and logo into it.  It also discussed the importance of having ongoing technical support for Information Architect Samuel Huskey after the user experience work was completed.  Finally, because its membership overlapped almost exactly with the Cabinet, the Committee considered the continuation of that group now that its two-year trial period had almost expired as well as the possibility of forming a Communications Committee to provide ongoing advice to Prof. Huskey.

Action:  The Board accepted the recommendation of the Committee on the Web Site and Newsletter to dissolve that Committee but to continue the Cabinet indefinitely as a group consisting of the President, President-Elect, vice presidents, Executive Director, and Information Architect.

Reports of Vice Presidents

Publications and Research.  Prof. Gagarin reported that the Editorship of Transactions had transferred from Katharina Volk to Craig Gibson without difficulty.  The journal maintained an acceptance rate of about 33%. 

The number of applications for this year’s TLL Fellowship competition had decreased, but the number of good candidates was unchanged.  TLL Committee Chair Anthony Corbeill and Dr. Blistein had submitted a proposal for renewal of the National Endowment for the Humanities grant for the fellowship in August.  At the recommendation of NEH staff, the Association had requested a second fellowship in this proposal and would learn the Endowment’s decision during the spring.

The Advisory Board for the American Office of L’Année philologique had met and had discussed both the operations of the American Office and the overall management of the bibliography by the Société Internationale de Bibliographie Classique.  The Committee on Translations of Classical Authors was continuing to prepare a list of available translations.  Prof. Huskey had submitted a final report on the planning grant for the Digital Latin Library to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and was preparing a proposal for an implementation grant. 

Prof. Gagarin and Dr. Blistein had met with a representative of Oxford University Press now that the Association had suspended all of its book series.  The Press was willing to continue to administer the Association backlist of books on the basis of the existing agreement between the two organizations while APA considered future initiatives in digital publishing.

Professional Matters.  Prof Miller stated that the Subcommittee on Professional Ethics had met but had no issues it needed to bring to the Board.  The Classics Advisory Service had submitted a largely upbeat report; in the few instances where it had taken action, there had been good results.  The Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups had held another successful panel consisting of responses to two recent books.  The Committee intended to vary this format the following year with a panel discussing the impact of an important book published 40 years ago. 

The Placement Committee had reviewed the results of the recent survey of institutions that purchased Comprehensive Service during the past five years.  Those responses showed general satisfaction with the recent automation of the Service but no common opinion on the role of videoconferencing in job interviews.

All the committees in the Division had carried on a discussion of the data the Association should be collecting.  All agreed there should be a special effort to gather information on smaller classics programs.  Prof. Miller will summarize these discussions and work with the department at the University of Michigan that had successfully managed the recent placement survey to design new questionnaires. 

Other issues under consideration in the Division were

· resuming the survey of journal editors

· revising the language on unadvertised positions in the Statement on Professional Ethics

· organizing a panel on issues being faced by faculty not on the tenure track.

The Board recommended that the Division consider issuing guidelines for job interviews that used videoconferencing.  This could be as simple as pointing out that any such interviews fell under the Association’s guidelines, but Directors also thought it would be useful to develop some practical advice for candidates who might be asked to participate in this kind of interview. 

Program.  Prof. Farrell stated that the meeting in Chicago had been successful and well attended in spite of the obstacles registrants faced in traveling.  The session using a new debate format had been well received, and Prof. Farrell would encourage others to continue to use this and other new formats after the conclusion of his term in New Orleans.  During the coming year he would seek to increase collaboration with the AIA Program Committee.

Education.  Prof. English described annual meeting panels organized for 2014 and planned for 2015 by the Education and Ancient History Committees.  The Minority Scholarships Committee had chosen its two award winners for the summer or 2014 and asked that the Association make an effort to collect and publish photographs of winners of other fellowships to accompany their reports on the APA web site.  The National Committee for Latin and Greek was reevaluating its relationship with the Joint National Committee on Languages.  The Education Committee intends to support the efforts of secondary school teachers to convince the National Teacher Certification Board to resume the certification of Latin teachers. 

Prof. English had organized subcommittees of the Joint Committee on the Classics in American Education to review applications for the Pedagogy and Stewart Awards and would work on encouraging applications to those programs.  She intended to oversee the updating of links on the web site to teacher certification requirements in individual states and the promotion of the new associate membership for precollegiate teachers.  She offered to identify precollegiate teachers who could serve on the Local Arrangements Committee for the New Orleans meeting.

Outreach.  Prof. Gamel described the panels organized by the committees in the Division for the Chicago meeting and in preparation for New Orleans.  The Committee on the Classical Tradition and Reception had discussed activity it might undertake between annual meetings in support of work in its field.  The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance had staged a successful reading of Plautus’ Rudens in Chicago and was considering assisting a local group to stage a performance at the New Orleans meeting.  The Committee was also developing guidelines for the evaluation of work on performance as scholarship.  A new issue of Amphora would appear in February in time for distribution at regional classics meetings during the Spring.

Future Meetings

Dr. Blistein stated that he would soon schedule the Board’s conference call with the auditors to take place in late January or early February.  In addition, he would circulate to Directors requests for their availability for a conference call in June and a meeting in September. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

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